Alien's Day Out

SSG Food Market

| 16 Comments

I recently heard about this new SSG Food Market near Chungdahm area and I finally made the trek to see what the fuss was all about. :) Located in one of Seoul’s wealthiest neighborhoods, this is one of those high-end markets where the shoppers are most likely Gangnam’s classy ajumas and young mothers. It’s a bit similar to Whole Foods Market in the US, only more upscale. Get ready for a deluge of supermarket photos!

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This ain’t your neighborhood shijang. The produce area is designed to have a countryside feel to it, except that it’s meticulously clean and all the produce is polished spotless. It really is quite a beautiful sight to see~~

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Personally, I couldn’t afford to buy fresh fruits or veggies here on a regular basis, but they have an impressive selection of imported products, like snacks, breakfast cereals, drinks, beauty products… it’s worth a visit just to see if they have your favorite snack from back home. There is also a large cheese room and a butcher area, but we don’t need to go there, rah? :)

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Doesn’t it look like a supermarket from back in the US? :) There weren’t that many customers when I went (I actually think the staff there outnumber the customers), but I don’t think they’ve been open for that long so maybe things will pickup later. It’s certainly a different kind of shopping experience for Korea. Overall, it’s a pretty impressive store.

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While they have the standard imported goods that you can get at almost any Korean department store or foreign food shop in Itaewon, they also have a few unique products that might make it worth the trip:

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Imported Silk soy milk, both chocolate and vanilla flavors in the BIG cartons! At 9,000won per carton, they are super expensive though…. Small cartons are also available.

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Gluten free baking mixes for muffins, cakes, pancakes, pizza, and also all purpose flour mix.

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If you’re gluten-intolerant, this store just may be your heaven.

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Organic, vegan and gluten free chocolate and vanilla pudding mixes!

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SSG has its own line of spices and herbs.

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Are you tired of all the supermarket pictures yet?

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Chiiiiips….

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Pickles and salad dressings in the fridge section.

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Nuts, dried fruits, and grains~

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You can also buy pre-made dishes and banchans, paid by weight. Sorry for the grainy photo… was using my iphone~!

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On the first floor (above the market), there is a fancy shmancy bakery/cafe called The Menagerie. I doubt anything is vegan, but it makes for good eye candy.

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Bunny cupcakes!!! Too cute. Must recreate.

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Anyway, I definitely think SSG Food Market is worth a visit. Even if you don’t buy anything, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have fun just going up and down the isles examining all the pretty shiny packages and well-designed food labels, and geekily reading ingredients lists.

Directions to SSG Food Market:
Address: 서울시 강남구 청담동 4-1

It’s a little hard to get to because it’s not close to any subway station… I’m guessing it’s at least a 20-minute walk from Chungdam station, so your best bet is to take a bus or taxi. Please refer to this link for a map and opening hours. The market is in the basement floor of a grey highrise building with ‘Chaum’ written above the main entrance. There is also signage for the SSG Food Market above that.

Feel free to leave a comment!

16 Comments

  1. Wow it looks like heaven. I actually have a lot of fun going grocery shopping. But boy some of that stuff is expensive, organ products here are around 4-5 bucks. I could so imagine myself going here for an hour and just buying one apple haha.

  2. The nut/dried fruit/grain/etc. aisle is my favourite. Heaven!

    I love going up and down aisles in food places too, and browsing their selections… even if places like these aren’t very affordable on a regular basis. It sort of reminds me of the Whole Foods Store in London’s South Kensington area, where I go about once or twice a year (normally because I want to get some amazing Valrhona chocolate).

  3. Silk soy milk!?!?! This is HUGE! If someone has finally brought it in, maybe we can expect to see more availability more soon elsewhere, potentially at more reasonable prices. I hope.

  4. Ahhh it reminds me of Wegmans! Goodness!!! Homesick!

  5. this place is AMAZING!!!!

  6. That place looks huge! Looks like my kind of place for supermarket browsing :P take me there next time when i visit!!! :D

  7. That is a heck of high end supermarket I can imagine myself spending hours in there hahaha…. :P . I see they have Julie’s Cheese biscuit on your pic that’s from Malaysia =)

  8. Wow, Korea sure has changed since I was there. It looks like it is WAY easier to be vegan there now. I love seeing all your photos, they make me miss Korea a lot.

  9. Their sings even look like Whole Foods Market signs! That produce section is unbelievable.

  10. Aaaw, those pudding mixes are german :3 I’d love such a store here.

  11. Hi, I was checking up on the all so famous The Menagarie bakery, and I saw your photo of the cute bunny cupcakes! I’d just like to ask you if the top is made of cream or is it something else? Cos I’m trying to recreate the cupcake for a friend’s birthday and i’m just wondering since you’ve seen it in person maybe you’d know roughly. It would be great if you could just drop me a reply! :) thank you!!

    • Sorry, I really don’t know because I haven’t tasted it myself. I don’t think it’s whipped cream.. maybe sugar icing– something more solid/firm..

  12. The place is not super easy to get to on foot from a subway station. But I called the store, got some basic directions, and found it without too many problems.

    They said to go from Line 7/Bundang Line station Gangnam-gu Office, exit 4, which I did. I then used my smart phone to follow the Google map that the store has on its website. Would have been really tough in the past, but the new street names in Seoul sure come in handy in this case! (They’re not quite perfect, though, as you’ll see in a bit, but they’re good enough to get you there.) There aren’t classic signs with the names of streets on them at intersections, etc., but most of the buildings on the way there have addresses on them (in Korean only), so it’s really easy to see if you’re on the right street. The only street that doesn’t have signs is the first street you turn on, which is your first left out of exit 4 (Hakgong-ro 55 gil). Take it one block then go right on Seongneung-ro 132 gil. Take your second left onto (this is where the address system isn’t perfect as I mentioned before) a smaller Seongneung-to 132 gil (same name as the street you were just on for some reason–but don’t let that deter you). Take that till you dead end into a brick wall. Right on that street (Seongneung-to 138 gil) till the end of the wall. Left on Dosandae-ro 66 gil), which goes straight till it dead ends at the back of the building the store is in. As usual, it sounds harder than it actually is. Give it a try! It took me 11 minutes on foot at a leisurely pace, so maybe 10 minutes at normal walking speed.

    About the store itself, there is indeed stuff there that’s hard to find at other places, but the prices make it, in my opinion, only worth going if you really want some of those ingredients for some special occasion. For example, I was really excited to see brussel sprouts. But my enthusiasm faded when I turned over the 500 gram container they were in and saw a W19,000 price tag. Ah, I don’t think so. I was even more psyched to spot a first in Korea–parsnips! But a pack of two precut pieces of one parsnip weighing in at a total of like 200 grams was…W17,000. Are you kidding me? Cauliflower? Cool! 250g at W20,000. Not cool. Still, if you’re really jonesing for stuff like that, you might decide to shell out the cash. The only thing I saw that was cheaper than Itaewon (though still not cheap!) was an 800 gram bag of frozen scallops for W30,000 (they’re like 40-45,000 in Itaewon in the Foreign Food Mart and the National Foods Mart).

    One semi-intriguing thing was a sign for organic, grass-fed beef in the meat section. After browsing, though, I couldn’t identify any. Asked the hovering staff and they said, yes, organic. No, not grass-fed. When I pointed to the huge sign in English screaming “Grass-fed,” they sheepishly said, well… But one guy piped in and said they were really going to get grass-fed stuff next week. So you might check it out. But I’d hate to see the price tag…

    One other complaint I have is a lack of comprehensive English signage. There’s some, but a lot of items, especially in the produce section, are only in Korean. I speak fluent Korean, so it was no problem for me. But I met a couple there from Romania there who’d only been in Seoul a couple months and were having a bit of a hard time. The good thing, though, is that a lot of the staff speak at least basic English, and are pretty enthusiastic about trying it out on you.

    Bottom line: Check it out if you’re in the neighborhood or want to make brussel sprouts, parsnips, or maybe grass-fed beef to surprise your friends. Otherwise, you can get a lot of the stuff in Itaewon at similar or cheaper prices (not at the High Street Market, though, which is just as expensive at SSG!).

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