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Maangchi: Korean Grocery Store Blog

Korean Cooking Maangchi Grocery Blog

Emily Kim aka Maangchi Demystifies

The Korean Grocery Store

Yesterday, I was debating on whether I should posts a blog on necessary mobile applications while traveling Korea.  The alternative was posting a business startup checklist I created.  While I was being indecisive I did what I always do, I researched on the internet what has already been covered.  After finding different articles and blog posts I wondered if I could add anything new to the conversation?

The result of this indecisiveness, I didn’t post a blog.  However, I did want to keep to the schedule of posting 3x a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, even if this post is a little late.

I thought I would share another blog posts that provide great resources and correlates with my previous blog Life In Korea.  The website is called “Maangchi,”  Emily Kim cooks authentic Korean recipes that she learned from her mother while growing up in Korea. The blog she posted, “How To Shop At A Korean Grocery Store” is a four-part YouTube video that assists shoppers with navigating a Korean Grocery store.

Download the Korean Convenience app and find Korean chips, cookies, and snack with English and Hangul brand names, allergen and ingredient information.

Available for free on iOS and Android

Part One

Part one of the series: Rice and Produce, where she offers helpful tips on the correct rice to purchase whether you’re making bibimbap or cooking a stew.  The second video Soy Sauces, Pastes, and Spices is my personal favorite.  Since I have a shellfish allergy I definitely needed to watch this video to help with the confusion of Gochujang a Korean spicy dipping sauce.

Third Video

The third video in the series Noodles, Powders, Grains, Beans & Seaweed offers helpful tips on purchasing products at the grocery store.  Some of the tips I learned, checking the color of powders and sauces (containers should have one uniform color, with no discoloration), and how to read the back of food packages to check the level of spiciness and when the product expires.

The fourth and final video; The Frozen Section, Dried & Fermented Seafood, Rice Cakes, Tofu & Kitchenware covers a wide range of topics.  I found the section on cooking with Tofu and the recipes she tagged in the video extremely helpful.  I plan on cooking the recipe for rice cake soup for the upcoming Seollal holiday.

Final Thoughts

I want to highlight a contributor to Korean cuisine for any of the readers who are not already a part of her 2 million-plus subscribers on YouTube.  The website has provided great resources for anyone, like me, who felt completely overwhelmed with the thought of walking into a Korean grocery store.

Lastly, I could have focused on her informative step-by-step recipes or cookbook, yet I want to mention another reason to check out her website; the Global Grocery Shopping Directory her community has compiled.  Now, there’s no reason not to try cooking your favorite dish you enjoy at your local Korean BBQ (my favorite in L.A. is Hae Jang Chon) restaurant.

I hope you enjoyed this blog where I highlighted a website that I have found to be a great resource for understanding Korean cuisine.

If you want to read about my life abroad in South Korea and more about Korean food check out:

Would love to hear your thoughts, should I continue posting highlights I have found helpful with Korean cuisine, beauty, language, and culture?

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Path To Obtaining A Startup Visa In South Korea

Business Startup Visa

Seoul Global Center Experience & Resources

New Moon with a Lunar Eclipse, new agenda for the remainder of the year.  My journey first started because I wanted to meet new friends.  Now I know what you’re thinking, there are several options for meeting new friends while living abroad.  Anyone can search on Google using the keywords, “Foreigner Meetup Groups In Seoul” and any number of meetup groups will populate near Itaewon (이태원) and Hongdae (흥 대).  

However, I have that annoying problem of being initially shy and quiet.  Usually, instead of mixing and mingling, I sip on a carbonated drink and munch on overly-salted french fries.  I wanted a place where I could meet foreigners, have a conversation starter and solve my problem with washing clothes by opening a laundromat.  The laundromat near my new dorm I discovered costs $5,000 won ($4.7 U.S. approx.) to wash and another $5,000 won to dry.  Opening a laundromat was a simple idea that didn’t involve having a face-to-face interaction with customers on a daily basis and I could make a decent living.     

Seoul Global Center

I discovered the Seoul Global Center while I was researching free orientations on expat life in Seoul.  The center offers drivers license, mobile purchasing service of new and used phones, business professional consultations (Accounting, Tax, Foreign Direct Investment, and IP), banking & financial counseling services, and a free business start-up school.  The business class provided another possibility of living in South Korea without attending school and that was obtaining a Startup Visa.  

The free business start-up school provides the ability to earn points in order to obtain a D-8-4 Start-up Visa.  For more information on the Visa process, you can check out the Korean Intellectual Property Assistance point system.  The initial application process was fairly easy.  I completed a one-page application and then submitted the application via email.  Once I was accepted into the program I was asked to provide a front and back copy of my Alien Registration Card

Business Start-up

The first class I took was the 1st Business Start-up School course, a free two-week program, titled Oasis 4.  The class gathered at The Seoul Global Center every night from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on the fifth floor.  The class covers such topics as writing Corporation Formation, Writing An Effective Business Plan, Labor Laws, Marketing, and Business Taxes in South Korea.  Prior to the first day of class, I was sent via email the course curriculum, subway directions, and emergency contact information.  

I was both excited about the class and worried about the amount of time I would need to dedicate to completing the class.  My new weekly schedule consisted of attending Korean Language program class from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m, grabbing dinner at Hankuk University faculty cafeteria, and then riding the subway for thirty minutes to Seoul Global Center to attend business startup class.  

The first night at business class I was excited to meet fellow entrepreneurs.  We were given a resource guide that provided contact information for our instructors and blank pages to write notes.  While we waited for the class to begin free coffee and light snacks were served.       

Throughout the class, presenters provided great reference materials such as a summary of insurance rates and a severance pay automatic calculation spreadsheet.  After the class was complete, I took a free advanced online marketing class.  The class is offered by two previous startup attendees who now run a successful Marketing business in South Korea.  

If you want to check out more about their company you can check out their website at World Markets Korea, they have great resources, including a recent blog post on SEO practices for South Korea.  In my opinion, I believe the most valuable resource, however, was the opportunity to network with fellow entrepreneurs.  Many of whom I still keep in contact with through Facebook and our Kakao chat group.

Helpful Websites

I have included some helpful websites for readers who are looking for more information about starting a business with a Start-up Visa in South Korea.  You can check previously patented inventions at Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service and obtain pricing information for Intellectual Property translation services.  

Additionally, if you want to find information on Intellectual Property filing paperwork and how much it costs to file a patent in South Korea check out Korean Intellectual Property Office.  To read more about South Korea competitive e-commerce retail platforms check out  Lastly, if you want to obtain information about locations, previous lease and business concepts with real estate properties you can check out Supreme Court of Korea’s website.     

Final Thoughts    

I decided I would share what I’m currently working on since I have returned to Los Angeles, CA, last year.  It has been a journey of highs and lows, some of the lows include, the learning curve that I was not prepared to encounter with opening a business overseas.  I have learned to tackle the issues I face just as I have with starting this blog, one task at a time and trying to remain positive with using the famous quote, “Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining” as my mantra.  

Stay tuned for future posts on my adventure with starting a business.  Future posts will include my experience with obtaining financial advising, location-specific advantages with rental properties, and eventually my preparations to move back to South Korea.    

If you want to read about additional small business opportunities in South Korea check out my blog post on:

  1. Entrepreneur Korea Interview
  2. A Platform For Entrepreneurs: Seoul Startups
  3. Starting A Business In Korea
  4. Non-Teaching Jobs: South Korea
  5. Black Business Owner In South Korea
  6. Korean Convenience Store Lessons
  7. Startup Visa Intellectual Property Rights Presentations   

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How I Saved Money To Travel

How I Saved Money To Travel

Preparing For Travel to Seoul, South Korea

I am not from a family that has ever taken yearly vacations.  It’s something that I have only read about in magazines and books.  In fact, the first time I ever got on a plane, flying longer than two hours, was a year after my mother passed away.  My sisters and I decided to go to Jamaica for a week instead of staying home surrounded by memories.

We looked at it, as a way to get away from our normal day-to-day routine.  However, that was decided on a whim, after my sisters and I took a family portrait.  We were feeling the loss of our mother, the emotions that come and go, as time passes after you’ve lost someone you really loved.  We saw a travel agency poster that displayed a beach with crystal clear water and a beach chair.  That was all we needed, it was just what we needed at that moment.

So, when I decided I wanted to travel to South Korea I started doing a lot of research.  I knew that I didn’t want to teach English as a lot of other expats.  I will discuss more on the reasons for that in another post, but what could I do?  I asked family and friends for any advice.  Everyone I knew traveled for vacations, military assignments or taught English.  I needed new friends who wanted to live a nomadic lifestyle.  I would join a new Facebook group later, but for now, I needed another plan.

The only other option I could come up with was what I wanted to do while I attended University.  I wanted to study abroad for a semester.  While attending school full-time, I, like a lot of other students had to work part-time to pay my bills so I never got the chance to study abroad.

However, I had already graduated and obtained my Bachelor’s Degree.  The thought of obtaining my Master’s Degree in Creative Writing sounded appealing, but the application process didn’t.  I discovered through the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles, a lot of Universities in South Korea offer a foreign language program with housing.

Here are 5 strategies I used to save money to travel abroad.

Splitting Bills

I reduced the monthly cost of paying the cable, water, gas, etc., by living with family.  Additionally, I incorporated the same method when I went out with friends.  Although I didn’t go out often, when I did go out, I went out with the understanding of splitting all costs.  If there are good friends they will understand your goals, if they don’t well…

Pay Off Credit Card Bills

I paid more than the minimum amount required.  This allowed me to pay off my credit card debt faster.  An added bonuses while I lived abroad I had one less bill to pay every month.

Limit Shopping

I am not saying that I didn’t shop, I believe in retail therapy.  Only, that I didn’t have the latest purse or brand name shoes and that retail therapy can turn into window shopping.

Monthly Food Budget

While I attended school in South Korea I rarely went to restaurants during the weekday.  Mostly, I would eat at the school’s cafeteria which had really affordable options if you like Korean food.  Since I really like Korean food I could save money every day and I had more money to spend on the weekends.  Additionally, because I ate at the cafeteria I didn’t have to buy many of the kitchen appliances necessary to cook.

Lastly, even though I lived alone, I invested in an electric kettle and I bought a large box of instant coffee and a family size Yoplait yogurt.  *Tip – Costco cards that are purchased in the United States also work in South Korea.*  

Dorm Room

There are several different options you can choose when looking for housing.  Whether it’s a hostel, goshiwon, officetel or apartment, all of these have their pros and cons.  It’s really your preference on what you choose.

I choose to stay in a dorm room for three reasons.  The first reasons were because of the proximity to the school.  I was able to save money on transportation costs because I could walk to class.  Secondly, I initially didn’t know my way around South Korea without the use of several different mobile apps.  Because it’s was a University campus there were a lot of fast-food restaurants, a grocery store and plenty of retail shops within walking distance.  Lastly, I didn’t have to worry about furniture, a private bathroom or a washing machine because it was all included in my dorm room fees.

These are some of the ways I saved money to travel to Seoul, South Korea and while I lived abroad.

What are some money-saving tips or apps you have used to travel? I would love to read your comments down below.

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