Living in Seoul: The Dismal Selection of Cereal in Korea and My Rather Upsetting Experience

If you’re from the US, or somewhere accustomed to a variety of cereal you may be in for a huge culture shock. It seems Koreans aren’t too accustomed to eating cereal for breakfast as the selection at my local Emart is pretty dismal. I actually believe it serves more as a snack which doesn’t really make a good excuse, but I will put it out there. The selection is so bad that you can pretty easily divide cereal into roughly 3 categories.

Flake Cereals

There is actually a reasonable selection of corn flake-type cereals with a different kind of fruit essence, ranging from almond flakes to blueberry specks. There’s usually going to be some sort of skinny chick on the package suggesting to women that they will lose weight eating this corn flake cereal which is actually a pretty similar idea in the US. There’s also Frosted Flakes which is a lot harder than the US version and it also gets stuck in your teeth. Not very pleasant at all and they’re NOT so greeeaat.

Flakes and Chex
If you eat enough Special K, you’ll look like that!

Chocolate Cereals

Pretty much the cereal marketed to kids. There’s two different varieties of Chocolate Chex cereal and…that’s pretty much it. They did have Oreo cereal, but I will explain why it’s off the shelf.

Chocolate Chex
This one has fake banana flavored tidbits! Notice the Cheerio knockoff on the right. This would probably make a 4th category category if I was feeling generous.

Granola

I don’t really consider granola a cereal, but in an effort to save the endangered number of categories; I have included them as well. There’s a couple of varieties out there.

Prices

So far I’ve only had the Frosted Flakes and the Almost Flakes by Post. As they are the cheapest by far at 4000 won and 5100 won respectively. A box of cereal can often costs roughly 6000 won, which is insane by American standards.

The Epiphany

When I went to take pics for this article, I noticed that a few cereals brands were pulled off of the shelf for some inexplicable reason. These include my beloved Almond Flakes, Oreo, and some other items I don’t quite remember. I didn’t quite know the reason or think much about it until I coincidentally saw this article on my facebook the same day…

I had literally finished my first box of Almond Flakes and stocked up with 3 more last week, so clearly I wasn’t feeling to great.

Almond Flakes for Days
………..Yes, that is the same package as in the article and yes, there are 4 boxes, 1.5 of which I had already finished eating.
Almond Flakes Close Up
To be fair, the almond flakes were delicious and I hope I can find a replacement. Delicious bacteria.

I’ll be looking for a solution, probably by first consulting with the closest toilet. We’ll see how the legal situation pans out in Korea, and I’ll have something more to share at my expense.

My biggest disappointment with Korea’s lack of cereal can only be overshadowed by their milk market which I will share for next time. If you decide to move to Korea, don’t expect much from the cereal market here.

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Author: Ryan Mar

Just a guy simply making the most with life abroad. Love travel, photography, food, and just enjoying life. Currently blogging about beautiful places in Seoul, Korea, along with food, culture, and observations at findingtheseoul.com.

4 thoughts on “Living in Seoul: The Dismal Selection of Cereal in Korea and My Rather Upsetting Experience”

  1. Best buy and least sugar in American style cereal I have found is eMart’s Corn Flakes in a very big bag! I just bought 3 bags yesterday. It should last my husband 4-6 weeks. I also buy the expensive granola to sprinkle in with the plain cereal. I don’t like the nearly exclusive selection either mostly because it is nearly all high sugar cereals. Where are the Cheerios? General Mills could get a pretty good market share if they sold Cheerios! Old fashioned cereal chowhound.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, cheerios would be a welcome addition to the paltry selection of cereal. I just wish they brought back almond flakes as there was no brand that tasted quite like it 😦

      Like

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