[Updated 6 Feb 2020]
If there's one place that any traveller would go to in Seoul, it's got to be Myeongdong. The vibrant district has everything you need for the best shopping spree, from affordable cosmetics and skincare products to trendy clothes, fashion accessories, street food and more!
P.S. Travelling to Seoul on a budget? Here's a 5D4N Muslim-friendly Seoul itinerary (under RM1800) including flights and accommodation!
The district is also home to some awesome halal eateries and you might be familiar with one of them called Kampungku. Specialising in both Korean and Malay cuisine, Kampungku Mart is a favourite with Muslim travellers and it's constantly known for having one of the best halal Korean fried chicken ever ? Trust us on this - check out our visit to Kampungku in our 5D4N Muslim-friendly Seoul itinerary.
Besides savouring delicious Korean food, did you know that you can shop for halal snacks and groceries at Kampungku too? Opened in December 2018, the mart is located right beside the restaurant and we got the chance to visit it on our recent visit to Seoul (more in our upcoming articles!) Though the mart isn't that huge, we were amazed by the awesome variety of halal-certified and Muslim-friendly products on sale.
Getting to Kampungku Mart
One thing to note is that both the Kampungku restaurant and mart are not located along the main shopping streets of Myeongdong but it's still really accessible. From Myeongdong Station (Line 4), take exit 2 or 3 then walk along Toegye-ro 20-gil for about 5 minutes. You should be able to spot the N Seoul Tower as you're walking towards Kampungku.
P.S. Going shopping in Myeongdong? Make sure you check out these 11 insider tips for the best shopping experience in Myeongdong!
Before reaching Kampungku, you'll spot signboards for both the restaurant and mart, and that's when you know you're on the right track ?
What to buy at Kampungku Mart
Now you're probably wondering what you should buy at Kampungku Mart. If you've always stepped into Korean souvenir shops or departmental stores like Lotte but just not quite sure which snacks are halal, you don't have to feel that way at Kampungku as all the items are either halal-certified or Muslim-friendly. Here's a list of items you can look out for:
1. Almond snacks
Korean flavoured almond snacks are one of the most iconic souvenirs to buy back from Korea and there have been a lot of concerns as to whether the product is halal or not. While the popular honey butter chips and almond snacks by Tom's Farm are not halal-certified (check out our article on this!), Nutsholic has rolled out several products which are halal-certified by the Korea Muslim Federation (KMF) with amazing flavours like honey butter, hot spicy and strawberry ? These are sold in individual packs of 30g (KRW1000) or you can buy box of 8 for KRW7500. Now, you can snack away on these addictive almonds without any worries!
P.S. Looking for more Muslim-friendly snacks to bring home? Here's a list of 13 Muslim-friendly Korean souvenirs and where to find them in Seoul!
2. Korean seaweed
Korean seaweed is one of those snacks that you can munch on non-stop as they are thin, crispy and slightly salty ? There are many types and flavours of Korean seaweed that you can't find and unfortunately, some of them might have traces of non-halal meat. But fret not! You can find halal-certified (by KMF) seaweed at Kampungku. Take your pick from the original, bamboo salt, kimchi or wasabi flavours! They cost around KRW6000-7,500 for 14 packs of seaweed and KRW13,500 for 28 packs. Pretty affordable if you ask us ?
3. Binggrae banana and other milk products
You can't go to Korea and not drink some of Binggrae's yummy banana milk! It's comforting in any weather and tastes so good ? Even if you're not a fan of banana, you can check out other flavours like vanilla, strawberry and coffee. These are sold in packs of four for KRW4800.
4. Halal chicken
What's a halal mart without halal meat right? If you feel like whipping up your own meal while on vacation in Seoul, you can do so by getting some halal chicken from Kampungku. The halal chicken that they sell is from Mahalo, the first Korean chicken producer that's halal-certified (by Japan Islamic Trust). We only spotted this item in the freezer section but it's good enough if you're looking to cook a decent meal. It's priced at KRW4500 for 1kg.
#HHWT Tip: Finding a good halal place to dine at? Check out these 9 amazing halal Korean eateries!
5. Halal sauces
Now that you've got your halal chicken, it's time to get some halal sauces too. Korean sauces are usually known for having a little bit of alcohol content but thankfully, you can find these sauces from local manufacturer Jaincheng which are halal-certified (by KMF).
One of the items is gochujang (red pepper paste) which is used in almost every Korean dish like bibimbap, bulgogi, stews and more. With its fragrant and slightly spicy flavour, you can use it when cooking anything!
Another sauce that you might like to get is their Jajang sauce (black bean sauce). It's used mostly in Jjajangmyeon (black bean noodles) but you can add it to your other meals too.
You can also get halal-certified Korean soy sauce from Jaincheng at Kampungku. It'll come in handy if you're planning to cook a meal during your Seoul trip.
If you're challenging yourself to make Korea's famous tteokbokki, Kampungku also sells halal-certified Jaincheng tteokbokki paste, so you can recreate the country's well-loved stir-fried spicy cake at home.
6. Pre-packed meals
In case it's one of those nights on vacation that you don't feel like heading out but you don't want to trouble yourself by cooking a full meal, then get one of the pre-packed meals at Kampungku such as this sea cucumber with rice porridge. It's halal-certified by KMF too.
7. Skincare and health products
For those of you looking for skincare products, you can find them here too! When you enter Kampungku, one of the items that you'll immediately spot is this aloe vera soothing gel by Plantco. It's the first halal-certified aloe vera soothing gel in Korea and you can stock up on them here for KRW4000 per jar.
Looking for some health products? You can get them here too! One of the unique items we saw was the Korean Red Ginseng Vitamin Jelly. Korean red ginseng is known to strengthen the immune system and fight off stress and diseases. Not only will this make for an interesting gift for your loved ones, but it's also something beneficial for them ? These are selling for KRW3000 per pack.
9. Jeju snacks
Want to fit Jeju in your itinerary but you only got enough time for Seoul? Don't worry! You can get some snacks from Jeju at Kampungku.
Jeju is known for its juicy Mandarin oranges and some popular snacks are the Honey Butter Mandarin Chips and Yogurt Mandarin Chips (from KRW4000).
Or you can also get the signature Jeju Harubang Mandarin Chocolates (KRW4000) which are shaped after the 'dol harubang', Jeju's iconic stone sculptures.
Note: These products from Jeju are not halal-certified but we've checked the ingredients with the staff at Kampungku and they don't contain any alcohol or animal derivatives. As they are not halal-certified, we advise you to buy at your own discretion.
10. Halal kimchi
Finding halal kimchi in Seoul is not easy as one would expect, but Kampungku Mart certainly made it easier for Muslim travellers. The mart sells halal-certified Ah-sahc cut kimchi from OURHOME. It's priced at KRW2,500 for a pack of 200g.
For KRW500, you can also get a cool bag to store your kimchi. Super convenient and properly sealed, it'll ensure your food product remains fresh when you arrive home.
11. Korean souvenirs
Kill two birds with one stone and shop for both snacks AND souvenirs at Kampungku! Yes, they sell souvenirs too. Bring home a piece of Korea with Korean-themed magnets and keychains or give them to your loved ones ☺️
Besides that, you can also get Korean-themed cutlery like chopsticks and spoons which are pretty practical gifts or you can even buy them for your own use back home.
BONUS: Products from home
There's nothing like a taste of home to warm you up or treat that little homesickness you've been having after being away from home for more than a week ? Lucky for you, Kampungku doesn't just sell Korean products but you can also get products you can find back home. Get your fix of Indomie (yay!), chilli sauce, Mi ABC, sambal belacan, santan (coconut milk) plus other miscellaneous snacks like Pringles, wafer rolls, Tim Tams, Yan Yan stick biscuits and more! Did we mention that you can get shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste and various toiletries at Kampungku too?
Atmosphere at Kampungku
Besides having almost everything you need to buy back from your Seoul vacay, one thing we absolutely love is the welcoming atmosphere at Kampungku Mart. We were greeted with warm hospitality by the staff there and it felt almost like home, with Muslim travellers coming in and out of the shop and occasionally chatting with the staff. There were times where we'd even forget that we were still in Korea ? It's definitely heartwarming to experience this side of Korea which you seldom see elsewhere!
So, if you're heading to Seoul soon, make sure you drop by Kampungku to stock up on halal Korean snacks and products. The location is super convenient - near the Myeongdong shopping street and right in the centre of Seoul - and suffice to say, it's an all-in-one halal mart ? SHARE this guide with your travel buddies and happy shopping!
Opening hours: Open daily; 9AM-11PM
Address: 23 Toegye-ro 20-gil, Namsandong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Contact: +82 10-4062-2263
Directions: Take the Seoul Subway line 4 to Myeongdong Station then take exit 2 or 3 and walk along Toegye-ro 20-gil for about 5 minutes.