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Why South Korean convenience stores have been a staple in everyday living! Plus some of our favorite convenience store dramas!

If you have ever been to Korea, you will have noticed a sea of convenience store options on every street. Why are there so many? And are they necessary? Read on to find out the reasons!

Photo: Korean Store.
Photo: Korean Store.

In Europe and for me in England, a convenience store is a place where you can go to buy alcohol, simple supplies, or snacks. I was totally surprised when I came to Korea to discover that they are SO much more (most are open 24-hours)!

With a wide variety of franchises such as 711, CU, GS25, and Mini Stop you will never fall short of places to go, with each store having its own products and style. As for myself, due to the fresh food items such as gimbap and lunchtime foods, CU and GS25 are my favorites!

Also, the abundance of locations that Korean convenience stores have, is what makes them so popular! You can literally find multiple stores on the same street, even of the same franchise, which gives you that access whenever you want, with new stores popping up all the time!

In Korea, the bbali bbali (빨리 빨리) culture has definitely accelerated the development of convenience stores as more busy professionals and students rely on them for their daily needs. Since most people don't have time to go home to pack a lunch, or they eat everything their mothers packed for them, students simply have no time to eat and often times use convenience stores as a place to "hang out". They have become a hybrid version with delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, ATMs, and even some with grocery sections. Convenience stores have become an important part of Korean culture.

Of course, convenience stores have also been featured in many of your favorite K-dramas! I am sure you’ve watched a few dramas with scenes in convenience stores, and many more scenes of your favorite actors eating convenience store snacks. If you can’t remember, let’s jog your memory with convenience store scenes from K-dramas that we’re all too familiar with.

Squid Game Season 1 (2021)

As I am sure most of you have watched Squid Game, I am sure that you will remember this scene. Of course, where better to hold a heated conversation than outside a convenience store?

Photo: Squid Game Season 1
Photo: Squid Game Season 1

Backstreet Rookie (2020)

Of course, this popular K-drama also featured a convenience store in the storyline, which shows the impact that these stores have on the daily lives of Koreans!

Photo: Back Street Rookie - K Drama
Photo: Back Street Rookie - K Drama

The list goes on, with the sheer amount of dramas that have featured in these popular stores.

Since moving to Korea, I have used these stores daily, and I believe that it is something that makes South Korea very unique!

Let us know in the comments below which Korean dramas have featured convenience stores!


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