5 Korean Essentials

For anyone moving to Korea, here are five things you'll need!

1. Slippers
Not just for home, but you'll also need a pair for work. As a teacher I've always had to take my shoes off when I arrive at work each morning, and change into a pair of slippers for the day. It doesn't matter if they're a traditional slip-on, or a fluffy pair with teddy-bear heads, as long as they are dedicated 'indoor shoes'.

2. Bathroom shoes
While we're on the subject of slippers, you'll need a pair of plastic slip-ons for your bathroom. Why? Because most places don't have a separate shower, only a shower head that splashes water all over the bathroom floor, making it wet and slippery afterwards.

3. Kitchen scissors
Why don't we use these more in the UK?! Scissors are so much easier than knives! Particularly useful for cutting up whole kimchi, they can also be used for meat, noodles and long leafy veg.

4. Smartphone
OK, maybe this one is obvious. Smartphones are not just a Korean thing, smartphones are all over the world. However, in Korea, you HAVE to have one. The better your smartphone, the more your Korean friends will admire and respect you for your impressive phone-owning skills. They will be surprised when you send them amusing emoticons on Kakaotalk, or take photos of yourself on the subway.

5. Korean Chopsticks
If you think chopsticks are just chopsticks, think again. Korea has its own unique flat metal chopsticks. At first, they are MUCH trickier to get to grips with than the thicker plastic or wooden chopsticks you may have used before, for example with Chinese or Japanese food. However, once you've mastered them you'll find that their small size makes them much more convenient to use and store, and being made of metal makes them easier to clean and therefore more hygienic.


  1. Glad to know that chopstick is also one of the most thing in Korea, although using chopstick as common food utensil is part of their tradition and dining etiquette. And if you are going to move or live in Korea, you should start practicing on how to properly use a Korean chopstick.


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