There is a wide range of different Korean tea specialties that make a great souvenir to take home. One of the most popular is daechu-cha, or jujube tea, made of small Korean dates with a juicy flavor. Very different in taste, but also extremely popular, is buckwheat tea. This ingredient is also used a lot in traditional Korean dishes, such as noodles or bread. If you enjoy sweet and sour citrus flavors, yuja-cha is for you. With the consistency of marmalade or jelly, this tea is simply stirred into hot water and enjoyed during cold weather. You can buy a good selection of tea from any food market or supermarket around Seoul.
Most artists and calligraphers, as well as officials like to use the traditional dojang seal stamps in Korea. The seals are traditionally made of wood, gold or even jade. Today, you can find various artists around Seoul who specialize in the making of personalized dojang seal stamps. If you appreciate this ancient Asian tradition, you can get your own seal engraved with your Korean or Chinese name around Myeongdong, Insadong, and Bukchon in Seoul.
One of the more extravagant souvenirs you could get while in Korea are traditional dresses, also referred to as Hanbok in Korean. A woman’s hanbok consists of a blouse, jeogori, and a wrapped skirt, chima. The male version also features a jeogori as well as baji, loose-fitting pants. This traditional clothing dates back to the Joseon Dynasty. However, many Koreans wear hanbok for special occasions such as weddings and holidays still today. In Seoul, you can easily spot local and foreign tourists wearing hanbok while sightseeing. A popular place to purchase your own hanbok is Dongdaemun Shopping Complex. If you don’t want to buy your own, you can also rent a hanbok for a day.
Famous around the world, Korean ginseng has extremely powerful health benefits. While it’s certainly on the more expensive side, it is the perfect gift for those looking to boost their immune system. People from all over the world come to Korea to purchase local ginseng. Today it is also consumed as energy drinks, liquor or tea. Visit the Seoul Herbal Medicine Market to purchase ginseng.
Koreans are obsessed with seaweed. They don’t only consume it in soups, but also munch on it in a dried form as a snack. In fact, dried seaweed contains a lot of helpful antioxidants to boost health. In Korea, you also have the choice between a wide range of different flavored seaweed snack, from olive oil and onion to wasabi and spicy chipotle.
Traditional Korean drink, Soju should be high up on your souvenir list. Traditionally made from rice, wheat, or barley, it is usually consumed neat. In recent years, soju producers have come out with a variety of flavored options, such as grape, grapefruit, citrus and peach. Koreans follow a strict drinking etiquette that includes holding the glass with both hands when receiving a glass from an elder as well as bowing the head.