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Best Souvenirs from Seoul

1. Beauty Products

Seoul is famous for its innovative skincare and beauty products. Look for popular Korean skincare brands like Innisfree, Laneige, and Etude House, offering a wide range of sheet masks, serums, moisturizers, and makeup products.

2. Korean Snacks and treats

Traditional Korean snacks like Yakgwa, Gosomi sweet cookie crackers, and Choco Pie are beloved treats enjoyed by people of all ages. Yakgwa is a deep-fried honey cookie with a chewy texture, Gosomi crackers are crispy and slightly sweet, and Choco Pie is a marshmallow-filled chocolate-covered cake. These snacks are often served during holidays, celebrations, or as everyday indulgences.

Best Souvenirs from Seoul

3. Traditional Tea

Experience Korean tea culture with a selection of traditional teas such as green tea (nokcha), barley tea (boricha), and citron tea (yujacha). You can find beautifully packaged tea sets and tea leaves at local tea shops and markets.

4. Ginseng Products

Ginseng: Korean ginseng, known as “insam,” is highly prized for its medicinal properties and is often referred to as the “king of herbs.” It’s believed to boost energy, improve mental clarity, and strengthen the immune system. Korean red ginseng, in particular, is steamed and dried, which enhances its potency and efficacy.

Best Souvenirs from Seoul

5. Korean Hanbok

Hanbok is the traditional Korean attire characterized by vibrant colors and elegant designs. Consider purchasing a miniature hanbok for decoration or a wearable hanbok for special occasions as a unique souvenir.

Best Souvenirs from Seoul

6. Name Stamps

Korean name stamps, or “dojang,” are personalized seals used as a signature on documents, letters, artwork, and other materials. They are typically made from materials such as wood, stone, or metal and are engraved with the owner’s name in Korean characters. Name stamps are often considered a personal and meaningful gift, especially for special occasions like weddings or graduations.

7. Jakseolcha

Jakseolcha is considered one of the finest varieties of Korean green tea. It’s made from young tea leaves that are harvested early in the spring. The tea is prized for its delicate flavor, floral aroma, and vibrant green color. It’s often enjoyed during traditional tea ceremonies or as a refreshing beverage.

8. Celadon Buddhist Incense Burner

Celadon pottery has been produced in Korea since the 9th century during the Goryeo dynasty. The glaze used in celadon firing results in a distinctive jade-green color. Buddhist incense burners are often adorned with intricate patterns and symbols, reflecting the reverence and spirituality of Buddhism in Korean culture.

9. Cheong-ja

Cheong-ja, or blue-and-white porcelain, has a long history in Korea, dating back to the Joseon dynasty. It’s characterized by its cobalt blue designs painted onto a white porcelain base. The motifs often depict natural scenes such as birds, flowers, or landscapes, as well as auspicious symbols like dragons or phoenixes.

10. Korean Rice Cakes (Tteok)

Tteok is a staple food in Korean cuisine and is made by steaming glutinous rice flour and shaping it into various forms. It can be sweet or savory and is often served on special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, or holidays like Lunar New Year. Tteok symbolizes prosperity, longevity, and good fortune.

11. Soju

Soju is Korea’s most popular alcoholic beverage, often referred to as “Korean vodka.” It typically has a neutral taste with a subtle sweetness and can be consumed straight or used as a base for cocktails. Soju is deeply ingrained in Korean drinking culture and is often enjoyed during social gatherings and celebrations.

Best Souvenirs from Seoul

12. Korean Pop Culture Merchandise

Embrace the phenomenon of Korean pop culture (K-pop) with merchandise featuring your favorite K-pop idols, K-drama characters, or K-beauty brands. Look for posters, albums, apparel, and accessories at specialized stores and markets.

13. Gim

Gim is a type of edible seaweed that’s roasted and seasoned with salt, sesame oil, and sometimes spices. It’s a popular snack in Korea and is also used as a condiment or ingredient in various dishes. Gim is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a healthy and flavorful addition to the diet.

14. Makgeolli

Makgeolli is a traditional Korean rice wine that’s milky and slightly effervescent. It’s made from fermented rice and water, with a slightly sweet and tangy flavor profile. Makgeolli is often enjoyed with savory snacks or spicy dishes and is considered a quintessential part of Korean drinking culture.

15. Wedding Ducks

In Korean culture, wedding ducks, or “wedding mandarin ducks,” symbolize fidelity, love, and harmony in marriage. Mandarin ducks mate for life and are known for their strong bond with their partners. As such, they are often given as wedding gifts to newlyweds to wish them a happy and lasting marriage. Traditional wedding ducks are often intricately carved from wood or stone and are displayed as decorative pieces in the couple’s home.

16. Stationery

Korean stationery is known for its cute and stylish designs. Look for pens, notebooks, planners, stickers, and other stationery items featuring popular characters like Kakao Friends or traditional Korean motifs.

Best Souvenirs from Seoul

17. Folding Fans

Korean folding fans (bucheon) are both decorative and functional souvenirs. Look for hand-painted fans featuring traditional Korean landscapes, calligraphy, or floral designs as unique gifts or keepsakes.

18. Traditional Masks

Korean masks (tal) are an integral part of traditional Korean culture and performances. Pick up a handcrafted mask depicting characters from Korean folklore and traditional dramas as a distinctive souvenir.

19. Tobacco Smoking Pipe

Traditional Korean smoking pipes, known as “daecheong,” were commonly used before the introduction of cigarettes. They are typically made from bamboo, wood, or metal and feature decorative carvings or engravings. Smoking pipes were once a status symbol and were often adorned with intricate designs reflecting the owner’s social status or taste.

20. Korean Traditional Hand Fans

In addition to folding fans, Korean traditional hand fans (jeogori) are another popular souvenir. These fans are made of bamboo and hanji (traditional Korean paper) and feature delicate designs inspired by Korean culture.

21. Ceramics

Seoul is home to numerous ceramic shops offering a wide range of traditional Korean pottery and ceramics. Look for celadon, buncheong, and white porcelain ceramics, including bowls, vases, tea sets, and decorative items.

22. Traditional Instruments

Explore music shops in Seoul for traditional Korean musical instruments such as the gayageum (zither), daegeum (bamboo flute), and janggu (hourglass-shaped drum). These instruments make unique and culturally significant souvenirs.

23. Traditional Clothing Accessories

Complement your hanbok or everyday attire with traditional Korean accessories such as hairpins (binyeo), jewelry (norigae), and silk scarves (norigae). These accessories add a touch of elegance and tradition to any outfit.

24. Chopsticks and Tableware

Take home a set of Korean chopsticks (jeotgarak) or traditional Korean tableware such as ceramic bowls, plates, and utensils. Look for designs featuring traditional Korean motifs or modern interpretations of Korean culture.

25. Folk Art

Discover Korean folk art at galleries and markets in Seoul, including folk paintings (minhwa), folk masks, and folk crafts such as knotting (maedeup) and paper folding (origami). These artworks reflect Korea’s folk beliefs, customs, and aesthetic traditions.

26. Traditional Herbal Medicine

Explore traditional herbal medicine shops in Seoul for a selection of medicinal herbs, herbal teas, and health supplements used in Korean traditional medicine. These products promote health and well-being based on centuries-old Korean herbal remedies.

27. Hanji Crafts

Hanji is traditional Korean handmade paper made from mulberry bark. Look for hanji crafts such as lanterns, notebooks, bookmarks, and decorative items featuring intricate hanji designs and patterns.

28. Calligraphy Supplies

Embrace the art of Korean calligraphy with calligraphy brushes, ink sticks, ink stones, and rice paper. These traditional calligraphy supplies allow you to practice the elegant and expressive art of Korean writing.

Best Souvenirs from Seoul

29. Korean Language Learning Materials

If you’re interested in learning Korean, consider purchasing Korean language textbooks, workbooks, flashcards, or language learning apps. These resources help you immerse yourself in the Korean language and culture even after you leave Seoul.

30. Traditional Hanbok Dolls

Miniature hanbok dolls dressed in traditional Korean attire make charming souvenirs. These dolls come in various sizes and styles, representing different regions and historical periods of Korea.

31. Korean Traditional Tea Sets

Bring home a Korean tea set featuring a teapot (daecheong), teacups, and a tea tray for an authentic Korean tea-drinking experience. Look for sets made of ceramic, porcelain, or cast iron, often adorned with traditional Korean motifs.

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