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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Foreign Food Mart (Halal Store), Itaewon: Indian/Pakistani Grocery Store

When we moved to Korea in 2002, there were only three grocery stores in Itaewon and due to monopoly they were quite expensive too. I will introduce you to a store that you MUST VISIT if you are a vegan, a Muslim or someone into Indian or South Asian cuisine.

In 2003, Foreign Food Mart (specialized in Halal/Vegetarian) opened its door for the expat community in general and Muslim expats in particular in Itaewon area, Seoul/Korea. Visit their website before going there to have a rough idea of what you can find there. This store was bigger than any other store of its kind selling Indian/Pakistani masalas (assorted curry powders & Herbs) with trusted products of National (Pakistan) Haldiram (India) and Shan Foods (Pakistan) alongside other brands. Halal beef, mutton, chicken both boneless & otherwise are readily available here and the prices have been the best one can get in Korea. Imported fish from different Asian countries are also readily available. You can also find frozen parathas, roti, chapaties, nan, pita bread etc.

This store has built up its reputation, service, deals & trust over the years. All the embassies from Muslim countries solely buy their meat from Foreign Food Mart.

Spices, herbs, vegetables, fruits, cheese, yogurt, fresh curry leaves, coconuts, papayas - in short, all that you can think of is sold here.
Life has become much easier due to this store. Foreign Food Mart is located in Itaewon - which is 5 minutes walk from exit 3 of the Itaewon subway station and by turning right from the fire station signals on your way to the mosque - you will see this store.

Foreign Food Mart (FFM) also has a sister restaurant (Foreign Food Restaurant) a few meters from the grocery store. It has a very decently priced buffet (eat as much as you can) for 15USD from Fridays to Sundays. I liked their Pakoray (vegetable tamporas/ Ttuikim in Korea). Out of 5 points, I'll give them 2.5 points, they need to work a little bit on service and quality both.

Back to Foreign Food Mart's staff, especially Lakshmi (from Nepal) is a great help for first timers, though he is super busy but I never saw him frown...he is always smiles, very cordial and is a fantastic person. These guys never haggled in changing the groceries even after weeks - which is not an easy task even in our own countries. Since it has a huge clientele, their products are freshly supplied.

Foreign Food Mart is not only specialized in Indian/Pakistani food products but they have a very good supply of Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian,  Filipino, French, American, Italian and Middle Eastern food products/groceries too. They also have fruits from all over the place so check it out at least once.

Vegans and vegetarians in Seoul MUST visit Foreign Food Mart and I'm sure their trip will be worthwhile. It is a heaven for Vegans.

For halal groceries, meat, spices....all you have to do is to visit this store in Itaewon.

No matter where you are located in South Korea, they have a delivery service and an online shop as well. Buy your groceries online and they will delive them to any location inside Korea. You do NOT have to come to Seoul.

Visit their elaborate website HERE for delivery.

How to buy from Foreign Food Mart, Itaewon, read HERE.

How to get to Foreign Food Mart, see below:

137-8, Itaewon Dong, Jungen Building
Yongsan Gu, Seoul, South Korea
Mobile : 010-5784-4585
Tel: 82 (02) 793-0082
Fax: 82 (02) 793-0086
Email: foreignfood_mart@yahoo.com,
Web: http://www.foreignfoodkr.com

What is the best buy:

Cheapest International Calling card are sold at Foreign Food Mart, Itaewon.

Best Kernal Basmati Rice (long grain/aged rice).

Lentals and achars/chutneys.

Sharbat concentrates.

Tamarind, Dried/powdered mango, Sarsoon ka tail (oil) as well.

Kafir/Yogurt & Cheese.

Cottage cheese, fresh Basil, corroander, ocra (Bhindi or lady fingers), Karaylay (bitter cucumber) can be found here. ;D.


  1. Sarah,
    You haven't listed all the halal food stores in Seoul, which is what one would expect from reading the title of the blog, 'HALAL Grocery Stores in Seoul'. It further begs the question, for someone like me living in Seoul, are there grocery stores in areas of Seoul other than Itaewon?
    Take care.

  2. @Blogchi: In Seoul or greater Seoul, Itaewon is the sole destination. However some restaurants from Nepal and India have a few masalas in their restaurant on display in Hyehwa, Hannam or Gwacheon etc. but they bring their stuff from FFS, I mentioned in the post.
    May be you will find a grocery store in some nook and corner but I don't know.

    I went to Ansan, Ilsan , Uijeonbu etc.(all in Gyeonggi-do) they are all on subway lines and are outside Seoul's jurisdiction. They are famous for their migrant communities from South and Southeast Asia and you can find many stores there with a really vibrant, thriving community.

    Try Costco at Yangje in Gangnam. It has a lot of stuff from the US such as breads, cheese and sort. Prices are good too.

    Best of luck!

  3. @blogchi: I made a slight change in title. Thanks for pointing out!

  4. are there any Indian grocery store/ restaurants near city hall?
    Thanks in advance

  5. @Rajan: I don't know of a grocery store near city hall but in the basement of Seoul Finance Center at the city - you will find an Indian restaurant Ganga.

    *How to get there?
    Check their website:

    Hope it helps.
    Myeong Dong is at a walking distance from City Hall and it has plenty of Indian restaurants so google that too.

  6. hi friends,
    i am dr amit sharma coming to seoul in november for 6 weeks to pursue a fellowship .i shall be staying in korea university guro hospital .being a pure veggie i would like to know my prospects of lasting six weeks in seoul. how far is this grocerry store from guro hospital.

  7. Dear Dr, Sharma.

    You will do just fine...
    within the Korean context you are "chae-shik" so just learn the basic phrases in Korean or get them translated and before going out for your meals - keep your list handy. Moreover, try to bring in with you some basic stuff you think is "important" and you may NOT find here

    I can help you translate your concerns in Korean.

    BTW, this store and the neighborhood is a little over 30 minutes ride by subway from Guru (time difference varies in rush hours though). Last but not the least, if u have any concerns still, then leave for me a comment, I will get back to u.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. OMG thank you so much for the information! It helped me so much!
    And btw FFM has a facebook page! LOL i just found out!

    PS: FFM is expanded! WOAHHH im so happy! THEY NOW HAVE EVERYTHING

  10. @ Chocolate Lover: I"m glad that the post has been helpful for you and thank you for sharing FFM's facebook page.

    thanks for visiting my blog, have a great 2013!

  11. May I know if the grocery store still there? I'm going to Korea in november this year and hoping to get halal meat there.

  12. @ALISA:Yes,it is still there and has grown twice in size.

  13. Hi, Can you please share the picture of cheese available in their shop. As their website and Facebook is not working.

  14. for Asian people can easily get his favourite product from this type on grocery store. it is nice…

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