Where to Buy Korean Food in Germany

So you find yourself in the middle of somewhere in Germany, and you want to make some Korean food. Welcome to my club, first of all! The good news is that it can be done. There are certain limitations such as sourcing specific ingredients, particularly non-staple ones, and freshness due to low turnover, but luckily, many of the essentials in Korean cuisine are not too hard to find. Just be prepared to pay for it!

Love this size and price differential. A typical US and German difference. The US bottle was purchased at Costco for $5.50 and the German bottle is 3x smaller and costs €6.55.

Here are the staples in my cupboard and refrigerator and where to find them:

  • Soy Sauce (Soja Sauce) – you can find this at any grocerty store. Even a discounter like Netto sells Kikkoman, and Alnatura makes an organic product available at DM.
  • Sesame oil (Sesam Oel) – you can find sesame oil in larger normal grocery stores and definitely in any Asia shop. Not all stock Korean brands, but I have found that the Thai brands are OK.
  • Gochujang – many Asia shops will sell this, even in our small city here. Otherwise, you will have to either go to a Korean grocery store or order online.
  • Doenjang – same as above.
  • Gochugalu – Korean grocery store or online. You can of course make your own if you plant and dry your own chili peppers and then chop in your food processor, something my family did when I was a kid.
  • Garlic (Knoblauch) – widely available.
  • Ginger (Ingwer) – just as in the US, this was an exotic product back in the 70s and 80s. Thankfully, you can find ginger in grocery stores and market stalls anywhere. The price tends to be cheaper at Asia shops though so be sure to compare.
  • Spring onions/scallions (Fruehlingszwiebeln)- widely available.
  • Gim – For us, this crisp laver is like a jar of peanut butter is in some households I guess. My kids inhale it, and it’s our main vegetable. You can get this at Asia shops, even here in Aalen. It is pricey though compared to the US or Korea.

I find that with kids, I use a lot less gochujang, so to me that is on the fence as an essential agreement. Having said that, my oldest now prefers to have gochujang in her bibimbap rather than soy sauce/sesame oil.

You will have to work a bit harder for some more specific ingredients. For example, my kids love dduk (rice cake ovals), kongnamul (soybean sprouts) and gosari (fiddlehead ferns). Maybe some day, but really in the distant future, I will make my own dduk and forage in the forests and mountains for gosari. (Let me spell out that at this writing, I am the mother of three children under age six. I have my limits!) Until then, we stock up enough whenever we go to Duesseldorf, Frankfurt or when somebody from the US or Korean comes for a visit. Then we freeze our dduk, and the dried gosari has a long shelf life.

Though I still have to make my own kimchi, there are some fresh ingredients that are really delicious here such as spinach, Chinese cabbage and oxtail. I’m going to post all about making oxtail stew next time my butcher has some freshly slaughtered so stay tuned for more! There will also be future posts on shopping in the bigger cities with more significant Korean populations as well as what and where to buy products online.

13 thoughts on “Where to Buy Korean Food in Germany

  1. If you lived here in Oberursel (just outside of Frankfurt), you’d get most of it very easily. Oberursel, with a population of 45 000 residents, has five Korean restaurants (!), a Korean supermarket and the Korean student body at the international school is 20%.
    We are right in the middle of Koreatown and we love it!!
    My favorite Korean dish is Kimsambok (Kimchi, samgyopsal, bokum).

    Korean food is the best!


    • Thanks for stopping by, Maria. You are definitely in an enviable place in my book! My husband and I always say that we could easily get our Korean food fix in the Frankfurt area like we used to in America.


  2. Glad to see the Korean ingredient scene has changed since the 60s. The worst story I recall was crumbled brown bread, cheap Chinese soy sauce and paprika for gochujang.


    • I think I see relics of this past in my father-in-law’s Korean cooking. It has taken him a while to get used to using fresh ginger instead of ginger powder. I still remember in the 70s/80s when this was an exotic ingredient in the States!


  3. If you look at towns where there is a significant U.S. Military installation you usually find a Korean grocery. Ramstein-Meisenbach, west of Kaiserslautern has a nice shop called The Seoul Market.


    • That’s a good tip. I remain disappointed though that Stuttgart doesn’t have more to offer. I think I’ll have to come up with a map for Korean grocery stores and restaurants in Germany like maangchi has on her site.


  4. Hi, I live in Syke and getting Korean products has been a pain. The nearest that I know is one in Hamburg according to maangchi but I never been there since the travel is long. I use but they have limited sort and it has limited choice too, the good things is that they accept payment using Paypal and the shipping in Germany when it is more than 50€ is for free. There is one more site that I know, it provides in 3 languages but it doesn’t support Paypal so I didn’t try yet. I should at least make my own Kimchi but me being the only one in home eating it buying the ingredients and making ends up being more expensive than buying. I wish that groceries like Famila, Rewe or Lidle would sell at least gochujang, tofu (the good one, not the fake premade tofu that they sell here in Famila) and Ramen (Korean ones that taste better). So far I am trying to survive with Sriracha till kmall gets new products.


    • Hi Aly — thanks for offering your input. I think Shinhan and Kmall are great options to have, but their inventory fluctuates and the freshness is not always reliable. I’m not a fan of Sriracha ever since I looked at the ingredients! I discovered Sambal from the Indonesian crew members on the last cruise I went on with my parents. Yum, but I have to make sure I don’t go overboard. I wish you were closer so I could give you a jar of kimchi whenever I make some. Good luck and keep sharing. 🙂


  5. I’m so glad I found your blog. I lived in Korea for three years and will be moving to Germany this summer (Heilbronn). I don’t know what I’m going to do without kimchi and samjang in my life! I know I could make kimchi… but I’d rather just buy it! 🙂


    • Happy to help as much as I can. You have the Korean grocery store in Stuttgart and as I recall, their kimchi is quite OK. Wherever you buy kimchi in Germany though is pricey, so that’s why I continue to make my own even though I much rather buy it like you. Good luck in Heilbronn! And share any discoveries here with us.


  6. Hello! I just found your blog and want to thank you for your posting about Korean food in Germany. I think I’m your equivalent in France, except the Korean food selection in France seems to be much more limited. Luckily, my husband travels to Germany often for work and we can follow him sometimes. Isn’t that funny to consider Germany my lifeline to Korean food?


    • Hi Sandra, thanks for your comment and for checking out the blog. I think it really depends on where one is in said country. I found Paris to be OK in terms of Korean food, but I have not been to another French city in years.
      There was a moment about 6 years ago when my family almost moved to Copenhagen. We checked out a grocery store and restaurant and realised that Germany was the main source of Korean food. So, yes, it did strike me then as well that Germany was the lifeline of Korean food for us Continental European expats!
      Keep us posted on what Korean food is doing in France!


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