Convenience stores have a special appeal, especially in Korea. As you step inside one of those clean, bright stores that stay open 24/7, hottest K-pop and the cashier’s apathetic greeting welcome you.
Convenience stores may not offer the best deal, but they make sure that the shelves are up to date all the time. No matter which part of the country you visit, convenience stores will offer the newest food trend of Korea on sight.
It is a recent trend among large scale convenience store chains in Korea, such as GS25, CU, and 7-Eleven, to produce private label products. In this 5 Items Available Only at Korean Convenience Stores series, we will explore some of the trendiest items available only at Korean convenience stores.
Until very recently, the convenience store market in Korea didn’t pay much attention to the beverage section. Same old drinks occupied refrigerators and there was no drink to specialize convenience store from others.
It can be said that some of the imported beverages triggered the update of convenience stores’ beverage aisles. When Chun Cui He, popular Taiwanese packaged milk tea, was first introduced through a Korean convenience store chain, it sold out quickly. This started a wave of new drinks at convenience stores, whose currents are still ongoing.
Here are some of the popular new drinks available only at Korean convenience stores!
1. Minions Flavored Milk (2,000 KRW = $1.76)
People always associate Minions with bananas, but this flavored milk denies the popular perception. Available in three different flavors, these cute bottled milks are now sweeping the peninsula. Two of the expectable flavors are chocolate and coffee (coffee is the most popular flavor for milk in Korea) and the least expected one is… the corn. If you ask me if it is common to see a “Corn Milk” in Korea, I can answer with confidence that it’s so rare that I can’t even imagine the taste of it.
2. Sweet Potato Milk (1,200 KRW = $1.05)
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Following the Corn Milk, here is another curious milk mash-up – Sweet Potato Milk. This flavored milk is available at 7-Eleven stores in Korea. Reactions are mostly positive, except for the common complaint about its high calories.
3. Watermelon Soda and Banana Soda (1,000 KRW = $0.88)
Soda and fruits are good companions, but have you seen a watermelon soda? How about a banana soda? These carbonated drinks infused with real fruit juice have very divisive reviews, but I definitely want to give a try! …Well, let me give the banana one a second thought.
4. Honey Vin Chaud (1,900 KRW = $1.67)
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In Korean convenience stores, drinks are stored in two different shelves – refrigerated shelf and a small heating cabinet. Heating cabinets store jarred drinks that taste better when served warm, like honey tea. Honey Vin Chaud is a new resident to the heating cabinet. The non-alcohol wine drink is released right on time for the colder seasons to help customers stay warm!
5. Cafe Latte Mint (1,200 KRW = $1.05)
Any fan of mint chocolate chip ice cream? You will probably love this coffee drink! Cafe Latte Mint is a mint-flavored coffee that tastes just like melted mint chocolate chip ice cream, with a hint of coffee added.
By Heewon Kim