Convenience stores have a special appeal, especially in Korea. As you step inside one of those clean, bright stores 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.
Variety as well as quality of dosirak, or boxed meals, is growing along with the number of single person households. Dosirak in Korea is usually comprised of steamed rice, one main dish, and few side dishes as banchan.
Simple meal options at convenience stores had been limited to cup noodles and triangle-shaped rice balls (삼각김밥), but the number and kinds of dosirak are growing at a rapid pace. Here are some of the trendiest dosiraks available at Korean convenience stores.
1. Budae Jjigae Dosirak
(4,000 KRW = $3.54)
Budae Jjigae is a spicy stew made with a bunch of ingredients such as ham, sausage, and kimchi, in addition to ramen noodles. Because of this variety in ingredients, Budae Jjigae has been perceived as a sharable, large-portion dish. But this Budae Jigae Dosirak breaks such prejudice and offers a single-person portion of the Jjigae.
2. Fulfilling Jeon Dosirak
(4,500 KRW = $3.99)
As turkeys are roasted to be shared on Thanksgiving Day, Jeon, too, is a thanksgiving food in Korea fried to be eaten on Korean Thanksgiving, Chuseok. On the national holiday, families gather and share a dinner table filled with different Jeons, Galbi Jjim, and Namool (vegetable banchans). To those who can’t join the thanksgiving dinner, Fulfilling Jeon Dosirak offers a fulfilling dinner instead.
3. Eel Dosirak
(4,900 KRW = $4.35 / 10,000 KRW = $8.87)
This dosirak is probably on the highest end of dosirak. Eel is widely loved in Korea as the most nutrient dense fish. This luxurious seafood is re-born as a dosirak, available in two kinds. One made with sea eel is sold for 10,000 KRW – it’s the most expansive dosirak in the history of Korean convenience store!
4. Fried Chicken Dosirak
(3,800 KRW = $3.37)
If you’re a Korean drama fan, you probably have heard of Chi-maek, which refers to the combination of fried chicken and beer. But have you heard of Chi-bap as well? Chi-bap, which is a compound word of fried chicken and bap, or rice, refers to the rising trend of eating fried chicken and steamed rice together. The Fried Chicken Dosirak comprises steamed rice, fried chicken, sweet and spicy chicken, and three banchans, offering the perfect Chi-bap experience.
5. 9 Banchans Dosirak
(3,900 KRW = $3.46)
Different from most other dosiraks that consist of one main dish and few side dishes, this dosirak puts emphasis on the variety of side dishes. Bulgogi, spicy pork, egg roll, grilled ham, zucchini namool, mushroom stir-fry, sausage, potato stir-fry, and kimchi are contained in a dosirak with steamed rice.
By Heewon Kim