Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Took the camera with us to Homeplus the other day. 

It's a Korean/British chain of retail stores jointly owned by Samsung & Tesco. It’s the second largest retailer in South Korea (Emart is #1) and is basically like Wal-Mart. (Actually, in the late 1990s Wal-Mart tried and failed to penetrate the Korean market and was turned into Emart - but that’s another story).

Suwon has two of each (Homeplus & Emart); we shop at Homeplus because it’s practically next door. We spend an exceedingly large amount of our time there (we go at least twice a week), and I was recently embarrassed to find myself telling my students that it's my favourite place to shop, which doesn't exactly make me look cool to a group of 18-24 year-olds.

Clark and I are regular patrons of the food court.

Koreans are very fond of gochi "skewered food". Here we have some o-daeng "fish sausage" kebabs, which repulsed me once upon a time but has since grown on me. 

Here's a variety of skewered fish and pork sausages. The giant ones in the front are, in fact, french fry coated hotdogs.

And my personal favourite - chicken skewers (but you have to be careful which one you choose; I steer clear of the hearts, feet, and rectums^^)

The Homeplus near us is 5 floors. Groceries are on the second floor and is where we spend the majority of our time. I was too lazy to go and take any pictures of the other floors, so food pictures is all you get.

This is my father's favourite section - the wall of tofu. Whenever he visits, he begs me to buy copious amounts of tofu that he can eat for weeks on end. Right Dad?

And here we have my mother's favourite - the seafood section. They have quite a vast selection. I sometimes amuse myself by prodding random creatures and watching them wiggle; the shellfish are usually the most amusing (honestly).

My mom particularly likes the wall of dried seafood.

Most Koreans are incredulous when I try and explain that Canadians would only feed this stuff to their cats. To them, dried seafood (squid and anchovies in particular) are perfectly delicious snacks. Dried, buttered squid is especially popular at the movies.

Seafood is so well-liked it's even a chip flavour. Sae-woo-gang "shrimp flavoured chips" is one of Clark's favourite snacks.

Seaweed is also a Korean staple.

One of the best things about Homeplus is all the free food samples. Here's Clark testing the bulgogi "marinated beef".

We always stop for ddeok-bokki and twi-gim "spicy rice cakes and tempura". A minor argument ensued immediately after this photo was taken because Clark neglected to include the sweet potato tempura (which we get every single time because it's my favourite, so I could not understand how/why he forgot).

I mustn't forget to include the ramen aisle (actually, there are two). If there's anything Koreans love more than dried squid, it's instant noodles! Clark and I once saw a tv program about a 50-something-year-old Korean man who has subsisted entirely on ramen since he was in his 20's.

The bakery. Not worth your time unless you're partial to sweet potatoes, walnuts, or red beans. Typical western-style goodies (chocolate or fruit flavoured) are hard to be found.

And lastly, one of the perks of shopping at Homeplus is being helped by people in amusing uniforms. The gloves I understand, even the scarf I get, but I have yet to deduce the utility of the white leg thingys. Are they shoe covers? Leg warmers? Shin guards?