Living in Seoul: Milk Choices and Prices in Korea are Equally Insane

If you’ve ever visited a large market like Emart or Homeplus, you may have come across the surprisingly crazy milk section. Quite the opposite of the typical cereal selection, there is a plethora of milk companies and sizes that they offer.

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Utterly ridiculous. That is a whole refrigerated shelf dedicated to milk at Lotte Mart in Lotte World. They didn’t have Yonsei milk which made me a little sad 😦

Compared to the States, the selection can be quite ridiculous. If you can imagine 6+ companies all offering at least 3 different variations (e.g. skim, fat free, whole), you’d almost be there. That’s because each company also tends to offer a variety of sizes, some making more sense than others. They have a variety of sizes, varying from small little packages to the largest 2.3L size which isn’t even close to a gallon. What really baffled me was Seoul Milk, which is probably the most famous brand, offers a 1.8L and a 2.3L bottle of milk. As a foreigner, it’s not my right to judge, but it’s just something I can’t understand as the difference between the two is a small 500ml carton.

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WHY?!

Besides the crazy selection, the prices are pretty crazy themselves. Most are priced at over 200 won per 100ml, which roughly translates to 7500 won per a gallon if you’re lucky. The lowest I’ve found it is around 190 won per a 100ml. You’re definitely way better off buying in bulk, or possibly by buying your own cow. It’s funny because I don’t recall prices being this crazy 4 years ago, but something may have happened to demand as there are also a ton more companies than I remember as well.

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Yes, some brands are selling liter-sized cartons for over 3000 won a pop.

Ending on a positive note, the milk in Korea is pretty delicious. My favorite brands so far are Seoul Milk and Yonsei Milk (because of past affiliations with the school). There’s an unexplainable subtle creaminess to it that I can’t find in even the whole milks in the US.  As a US expat who can’t live without milk and cereal, it’s just one of those necessary evils that I have to pay for, much like taxes. I do wish it were cheaper though.

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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.

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