If you’re going to live in South Korea, you might as well reap the fruits of this beautiful country. And yes, I mean that quite literally.
There are several delicious fruits to buy in South Korea that will make perfect additions to your daily meal plan.
And while the cost of living in Korea is high, if you know the correct season to buy these fruits, you can get them at very affordable prices.
Some of these fruit varieties like the Chamoe and Korean pear are native to this country and are used extensively in many traditional Korean dishes.
So with these yummy fruits, you can try your hands at new Korean recipes too!
|Best Fruits To Buy In South Korea||Average Price (Per Kg)||Best Months To Buy|
|Mandarin||₩6,000-9,000||December – January|
|Korean Melon||₩5,000-8,000||June – July|
|Persimmons||₩2,000-4,000||Late October/Early November|
|Shine Muscat Grapes||₩26640||December|
LOOK WHAT ARRIVED 🙂— Kathi⁷ 🙋🏻♀️ (@springdayluver) August 19, 2021
참외 = korean melon and I LOVE IT!!!
Fruits, veggies & cheese are VERY expensive in Korea but sometimes you gotta treat yourself 💸💸💸💸 pic.twitter.com/YY6Uc1uzT7
Fruits To Buy In South Korea
I have listed out some of the best fruits to buy in South Korea and what are the best seasons to buy them. Read on to know!
Yuzu – Yuja
Best Season To Buy – June to August
Average Price – ₩6,000-9,000 per Kg
Yuzu, a delightful citrus fruit, holds a special place in Korean cuisine and culture. In Korea, Yuzu typically grows during the late autumn and early winter months, making it a seasonal delight. This aromatic fruit is celebrated not only for its unique flavor but also for its rich nutritional content.
Yuzu is a nutritional powerhouse, brimming with vitamins, particularly vitamin C, which is essential for bolstering the immune system and maintaining healthy skin. Beyond vitamin C, Yuzu is a source of vitamins A, B, and E, along with essential minerals like potassium.
Korean culinary traditions have found creative ways to incorporate Yuzu into a variety of dishes. The most common use of Yuzu is in making Yuzu tea or Yuzu marmalade, where its zest and juice are combined with honey and sugar to create a fragrant and tangy spread.
Yuzu tea is not only cherished for its refreshing taste but is also renowned for its potential health benefits, particularly in alleviating cold symptoms and aiding digestion.
In addition to teas and preserves, Yuzu is also used to add a zesty and aromatic touch to various dishes, from salads and marinades to desserts. The tangy, citrusy flavor of Yuzu complements both sweet and savory dishes, making it a versatile ingredient in Korean cuisine.
In conclusion, Yuzu is a seasonal treasure in Korea, primarily found in late autumn and early winter. Its remarkable vitamin content, particularly vitamin C, makes it a valuable addition to a balanced diet.
Whether enjoyed as a soothing cup of Yuzu tea on a chilly day or used as a flavor enhancer in culinary creations, Yuzu adds a burst of refreshing citrusy goodness to Korean cuisine, exemplifying the country’s appreciation for unique and flavorful ingredients.
Kumquat – Geum Gyul
Best Season To Buy – Spring
Average Price – ₩3,000-5,000 per Kg
Kumquats, known as “gyul” in Korean, are small, oval-shaped citrus fruits that thrive in Korea’s temperate climate. These delightful fruits are typically in season during late autumn and early winter, making them a seasonal treat that brightens up the colder months. Kumquats are not only enjoyed for their sweet-tart flavor but also for their nutritional value.
Kumquats are a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals. They are particularly high in vitamin C, which is crucial for boosting the immune system and promoting healthy skin. Additionally, Kumquats contain vitamin A, vitamin E, and several B vitamins, making them a well-rounded addition to one’s diet.
In Korean cuisine, Kumquats are enjoyed in various ways. One of the most popular preparations is Kumquat tea, where the fruits are sliced and simmered with sugar and honey to create a sweet and tangy concoction. This aromatic tea is often consumed to soothe sore throats and cold symptoms during the winter season.
Kumquats can also be enjoyed as a fresh snack, and their small size makes them conveniently portable. Some people even enjoy eating them whole, including the peel, which provides a unique combination of sweet and slightly bitter flavors. Additionally, Kumquats can be used to infuse flavor into marinades, dressings, and sauces for both sweet and savory dishes, adding a burst of citrusy brightness.
In summary, Kumquats are a delightful seasonal fruit in Korea, with a peak season in late autumn and early winter. Their high vitamin C content, sweet-tart taste, and versatility in culinary applications make them a cherished ingredient in Korean cuisine and a beloved snack during the cooler months, embodying the country’s appreciation for fresh, seasonal produce.
Best Season To Buy – December, January
Average Price – ₩6,000-9,000 per Kg
Mandarins are one of the best fruits to buy in South Korea as the ones in country are grown in Jeju island.
The soil of this island is rich in volcanic ash and minerals. The temperature is also very temperate, and all of this makes Korean mandarins very very tasty!
You’ll find that the mandarins from Jeju island have a lower acidic pH than others. They are also juicier, plumper, and sweeter than mandarins from around the world.
The best time to buy Korean mandarins is winter. This means the freshest fruits are available during the December and January months.
You can get two types of mandarin oranges varieties in Korea – Cheonhyehyang and Redhyang. Both of which are really yummy and sweet!
Mandarin oranges can stay fresh upto 14 days under refrigeration. So you can buy a whole bunch of it for your home without a worry.
Best Season To Buy – April
Average Price – ₩4,000-6,000 per month
Yes, yes, we know know it’s surprising to see tomatoes on here. But techically, tomato IS a fruit. And what’s more Koreans eat it like a fruit and not a vegetable.
Confused? Well, Korean cuisine doesn’t always include tomatoes in it’s cooked form like other cuisines do.
Here, tomatoes are either juiced like fruits, or eaten raw with a sprinkling of sugar. Now, don’t wrinkle your nose just yet!
These tomato snacks actually taste delicious. Koreans usually add honey or sugar to their tomato juice and it’s surprising yummy, not to mention healthy too.
You can find many varieties of tomatoes in South Korea – red, green, orange, etc.
These fruits are low on carbs and have an amazing amount of antioxidants, especially lycopene that is great for your skin. Now here’s another Korean skincare secret!
Best Season To Buy – March
Average Price – ₩20,000-25,000 per Kg
Strawberries are a bit on the pricey side in South Korea. If you’re going to buy one kilogram of strawberries at any time of the year, it might set you back anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 Korean won.
So if you’re craving some homemade strawberry jam, I suggest going to strawberry farms in the spring season.
These farms have strawberry picking activities where you can have fun and take home the bounty you’ve picked.
Some of the popular strawberry picking farms include Yangsu-ri farm, which is located in a place called Yangpyeong-gun at a 30 minutes distance from Seoul.
If you don’t want to do the travelling, try buying strawberries from local farmers who set up shops along the roads instead of supermarkets.
These will cost less and likely be fresher as they’ve come straight from farms.
Best Season To Buy – February
Average Price – ₩10,000-13,000 per Kg
If you’re from the US or Canada and are living in South Korea, pomegranates might give you a taste of home!
A bulk of the pomegranates in Korea are actually exported from North America. So you might end up paying 10,000 Korean won for a fruit that wouldn’t have cost you that much back home.
But hey, the nostalgia is worth it!
Also, pomegranates are super healthy as they are filled with antioxidants. If you ask Korean women the secret to their beauty, they’ll swear by pomegranate juice!
Related: Why Are Korean Girls So Pretty
Best Season To Buy – Late October/Early November
Average Price – ₩2,000-4,000 per Kg
In the west, fall is associated with pumpkins and spices, in South Korea, you’ll find this season is all about persimmons.
There are two types of persimmon varieties in Korea – red persimmons and orange persimmons.
The red ones are almost shaped like an acorn and are not as astringent on maturing. This means they are softer, pulpier and sweeter than the light orange ones which have a tart flavor.
Persimmons are very common in South Korea, and if you live in the countryside, you can simply pick the fallen ones off the ground.
There are also persimmon picking farms that are a major tourist attraction in the fall, similar to how strawberry farms are in the spring.
You can eat both varieties of persimmons freshly-picked or remove the skin to let them air dry.
Some traditional Korean recipes involve leaving persimmons to mature for 5-7 days before eating them.
Korean Melon (Chamoe)
Best Season To Buy – June/July
Average Price – ₩5,000-8,000 per week
Now here’s one of the most popular Korean fruits of summer! If you’re living in South Korea or vacationing there in the summer, do not forget to try the Chamoe or Korean melon.
Most of these melons are grown in the North Gyeongsang province located in the east end of Korea.
You can find the greenhouse-grown versions of these fruits all year round. But for the sweet, authentic taste, I definitely recommend buying it in the summer months of June and July.
These fruits are rich in minerals like potassium and taste naturally sweet. So they are often used as dessert substitutes by health-conscious people.
Korean Pear – Nashi Pear – Bae
Best Season To Buy – October
Average Price – ₩3,000-5,000 per Kg
Like persimmons, the Korean pears are the top autumn fruits in Korea. If you are brushed up on your knowledge of Korean traditions, you’ll know that these fruits are a major part of the Chuseok ceremony.
In this festival, a table full of traditional foods are laid out to honor the ancestors, and Korean pears are an important part of this picture.
Korean pears are also used in several local hangover remedies. So if you’re planning to binge on the Soju at night, it’s best to keep some pears handy for the morning!
Grapes (Shine Muscat and Campbell Early Varieties)
Best Season To Buy –
Average Price – ₩26640 per Kg (Shine Muscat)
Grapes are among the top winter fruits in Korea. There are two types of grapes that are popular here – the Shine Muscat and Campbell Early.
If you like Instagram pictures of food, then you might have seen the large, globular green grapes which are the Shine Muscat variety.
They are super expensive and are grown in the North Gyeongsang Province in Korea. Shine Muscat grapes are known for having a musky flavor to them.
But these are not the only grapes that are available in this country. The Campbell Early is a type of sweet, black grape variety that is very popular.
These are rich in antioxidants, minerals like potassium, and vitamins. What’s intriguing about these grapes is that they contain very few seeds.
Campbell Early grapes also make the ingredients list of many beauty products.
Best Season To Buy – March-May
Average Price – ₩10,000-15,000
Is this an orange? Is this a mandarin? Is there a difference between the two? And the answer to all these questions is yes, yes, and yes.
The Hallabong as it’s known in South Korea is actually a fruit called dekopon, which is a hybrid between a variety of mandarin and oranges.
Its name is derived from the Hallasan mountain in the Jeju island where it is traditionally grown.
You can easily identify a Hallabong orange from regular oranges and mandarins by the bulky, top knot-like portion on this fruit.
It’s very sweet to taste and rich in vitamin C.
Peach – Bogsung-Aui
Best Season To Buy – Late Summer (August)
Average Price – ₩15,000-20,000
Best Season To Buy – September
Average Price – ₩4,000-6,000
Best Season To Buy – May
Average Price – ₩5,000-7,000
Fruits not only add flavor to different Korean recipes, they are also packed with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!
If you’re planning to live in South Korea, it’s best to know what fruits and vegetables are available in what season, so you can get them without burning a hole through your pockets.
With this list of fruits to buy in South Korea, you can get your yummy fruits that are common favorites and special Korean delicacies to add to your recipes.
Plus, you can get them guilt-free as they are super healthy too!
Why Are Fruits So Expensive in Korea?
The cost of fruits in Korea can be relatively high compared to some other countries for several reasons:
Climate and Geography: Korea’s climate is characterized by distinct seasons, with cold winters and hot summers. This climate restricts the ability to grow fruits year-round. In addition, Korea’s mountainous terrain limits the amount of available arable land for agriculture. As a result, many fruits need to be imported during the off-season, which adds to their cost.
Import Tariffs and Taxes: Import tariffs and taxes on foreign fruits can increase their price significantly. These tariffs are often imposed to protect domestic agriculture and promote self-sufficiency in fruit production.
Quality and Standards: Korean consumers have high expectations for the quality and appearance of fruits. As a result, there is often a focus on producing or importing premium-quality fruits, which tend to be more expensive. Fruits that don’t meet these quality standards may be sold at lower prices but are still relatively costly compared to other regions.
Transportation Costs: Importing fruits from other countries, particularly from distant locations, can incur high transportation costs. This includes not only shipping but also storage and handling expenses, which are passed on to consumers.
Supply and Demand: If there is high demand for specific fruits, their prices can rise. For example, certain fruits are considered luxurious or are used in gift-giving during holidays and special occasions, leading to increased demand and higher prices.
Market Dominance: In some cases, a small number of suppliers or distributors may dominate the market for certain fruits, giving them more control over pricing. This can result in higher prices for consumers.
Currency Exchange Rates: Fluctuations in currency exchange rates can affect the cost of imported fruits. A weaker Korean won relative to other currencies can make imports more expensive.
Seasonal Variability: Prices for fruits can vary significantly depending on the time of year. Seasonal fruits that are in abundance during their peak season tend to be more affordable, while off-season fruits are often pricier due to the need for imports.
Rising Production Costs: Like in many countries, the cost of labor, energy, and other production inputs in Korea can increase over time, putting upward pressure on fruit prices.
Overall, a combination of factors, including climate, import costs, quality standards, and market dynamics, contributes to the relatively higher cost of fruits in Korea compared to some other regions. These factors can result in seasonal fluctuations and variations in fruit prices throughout the year.
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