There are a couple of different things that would be good to take home as gifts from S. Korea. To begin with, when Japanese came to visit Korea, they headed for the cookie aisle at the grocery store because the Japanese know the Koreans to have great store bought cookies. Koreans don’t bake cookies at home, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like cookies. Cookies are one of the favorite sweets in Korea, and there are many businesses who have come up with fantastic cookies in Korea. When I went into a place and they were passing around dishes full of store bought cookies, I found them unique and really good. I don’t always like the packaged store bought cookies, but the Koreans really know how to make good packaged store bought cookies.
Something else that is good to take home as food gifts in Korea are their rice cakes. There are several different kinds of rice cakes. My favorite is called mochi. It has sweet bean paste in the middle covered with rice cake, and the rice cake has been dipped in powdered sugar. You can also get them coated with sesame oil on the outside, and they are good too. You can buy these white, green, or even pink. When I was in Japan, they eat the mochi with the powdered sugar, and they explained to me that the different colors are because they have ground up some kind of grass or flowers into the rice flour they are made from, and it doesn’t mess up the taste at all. I have even eaten yellow ones in Korea. Sometimes, you can buy several kinds in one package, either that, or you can buy all white ones. They are extremely delicious!!Another kind of rice cake, doc, may be filled with nuts or dried peas or something like that. They are really good too. If something happened in the family of one of the professors at my university like a wedding, a birth, or a death, often that professor would buy doc enough for all the professors, and they were a really good snack after morning chapel when they gave them out They also use them as wedding cake in Korea.
There are a couple of different places you can guy these doc or mochi. You can buy them in the grocery store like E-Mart, but I have learned in the grocery store, the selection is not always as big as in other places. Often, along the streets, there is a small shop that specializes in doc or mochi. They usually have a good selection and they are really good! I used to pick up a package and share it with my friends at work sometimes just because they are so good. You might be able to find one of these small shops close to a subway station or just on some small random shopping street, or I have also found them in one of those buildings that is full of different kinds of little shops.
Another good place to find mochi or doc that are more fancy is at Hyundai Department store in Mok Dong in Seoul. If you are going by subway, go to the Omokyo subway stop. It is exactly under Hyundai Department store. Go up on the escalator, and then on the moving sidewalks that take you into the department store. As you enter, it will be like a mall with a big hall and shops on both sides. If you just continue, you will come to the area where there is a movie theater on the right and a food court on the left. However, a few shops before you reach that area, there is a hallway to the right. Take the hallway. It will take you into a huge room full of all kinds of fancy foods being sold. You can find fancy doc, fancy mochi, fancy pretzels, fancy ice cream, fancy pies, fancy ginseng products, fancy candy, etc. After you go down that short hallway, you can find all the best food gifts there are in Korea. At the back of that room, there is a grocery store. Before you get to the grocery store on the left corner, there is a nice bakery where they sell nice bread. There are just all kinds of nice things being sold in that room. they are not the cheapest, but they are the nicest.
I hope this has helped you and that you can find something nice to take home with you. You can find the cookies in any grocery store. The doc and mochi are in several different places, and if you go to Huyndai Department store, you may find something else you like too.