Seoul - Post Report Question and Answers

How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can find most things here that are in the US. Larger stores sell many western brands, but I recommend learning the Korean words for food allergens if that is a concern for you. They are clearly marked on packaging, and there are plenty of options for non-dairy, wheat, etc. Prices are comparable to large cities in the US. Produce can sometimes be expensive, depending on the season. There are also a couple military bases with commissaries where you can shop, about 1-2 hours away by car. - Mar 2022

Similar to DC prices for groceries, household goods, electronics, and clothing are quite a bit more expensive. Eating out is pricey even for the "cheap" options. - Nov 2021

You can find basically anything you want, except maybe ingredients for Mexican food. - Feb 2020

USG bases have a very good commissary. I also shopped in a local grocery story and found the selection and prices to be comparable to the U.S. Fruits and veggies are expensive. The Korean diet has a lot of meat and vegetarians might struggle a bit. Also lots of pesticides so you might want to seek out so-called organic markets. - Feb 2016

While the base is still open, there is commissary and Exchange access for USG employees. The commissary is just like a Safeway or Albertson's in the States, with similar prices. Out in the city, groceries tend to be a bit more than the US, especially meat. There is one CSA that has been around for almost two years -- we love the fresh veggies we get each week from that! - Feb 2016

Groceries are expensive on the local market, so we often did our shopping at the commissary on base. - Jul 2015

Commissary prices are comparable to DC. You can find most everything you can in the States. Speciality and organic items are limited. Usually you can find fresher and better prices on produce on the local economy. - Feb 2015

Veggies in season are super cheap, especially from sidewalk farmer's markets. Fruits and meats are expensive. The commissary on post is fairly well-stocked. - Jan 2014

If you shop at E-Mart, Korea's equivalent of WalMart/Costco, it's about 20% more expensive than comparable American pricing. - Sep 2013

Food is fresh, but expensive on the local economy. The Noryangjin fish market has excellent seafood at great prices. Vegetables are fairly cheap if you buy them from a market or street vendor. Fruit can be expensive. Everything is very affordable at the Commissary. - Jan 2011

For diplomats, cheap food and supplies are at the military commissary, Mostly all American products, some Korean items. Off base, better fresh vegetables. - Dec 2010

Plentiful. Groceries are not cheap here if you can't step outside of your comfort zone. If you have access to the US Commissary on base, then you can find virtually anything you need; however, if you are an expat that lives on the economy there are still affordable options. There is a Costco with both western and Korean items; E-Mart is a hypermarket that has excellent selection of produce, fresh meats and fish, and western items albeit expensive. - Sep 2009

Cheap and affordable on base. Expensive on the economy. - Jul 2008

Excellent and very low priced at the commissary on base. It's not Whole Foods and you won't find your organic olive bar here, but it has the basics and is really cheap. The PX is akin to a large Target or Wal-Mart and has your basic household items. Everything else can be brought in via the APO. - May 2008

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