A new Korean supermarket has opened in the city centre and I headed down to see what I could get my hands on.
Seoul Plaza, owned by the brand Korea Foods, can be found in a handful of major cities dotted throughout the UK. The stores sell fresh, frozen and dried food from Korea and other Asian countries and the new Liverpool-based venue is no different.
Tucked away in the outside corner of St Johns Shopping Centre, the store is located on the ground floor and directly opposite the Clayton Square steps. The outside exterior is made up of the company’s black logo and is a stark contrast to what the supermarket has to offer inside.
Greeted by shelves which are bustling with colour, the items are perfectly stocked and are more than satisfactory to gawk at. Wanting to get a taste of the country’s culture, I tried everything from tempura prawn and hot chicken noodles, kimchi, an apple soda, seaweed and of course had to find out my future with a fortune cookie.
Having never tried the majority of the items – mainly because I’m very conscious of the texture of food, a trait I’ve yet to grow out of – it was a pleasant surprise. After having to embarrassingly request a knife and fork, whilst others ate with chopsticks, I began with a classic – Kimchi.
Made by fermenting cabbage and carrots in a tangy, spicy sauce, the portion shocked me as I expected it to be warm. However, beyond my ignorance, the ECHO’s videographer, Alice Walker, claimed it was “totally unique” and went perfectly with the noodles.
She added: “I've tried a lot of kimchi from both restaurants and different stores across the city, but this one really stood out to me. Trying it with the noodles from the Seoul Plaza was perfect – the chef recommended it to us and I'm so glad I went for it.”
Next up for trying was seaweed. We were offered three different types and truth be told I struggled to differentiate the difference between them all but I wasn’t the only one as the store worker informed me very few people can as they are so similar in taste. The seaweed was presented similarly to lasagna sheets, lightly salted and needed to be washed down with a drink.
The standout for me was the hot chicken noodles. Only needing hot water to be added, the portion would be perfect for a lunch break for those who dare to challenge themselves with the spice. The store has yet to fill out its frozen and chilled foods section but did tease that its hot-food component would be coming soon and when it does, it will be on my to-do list for a visit.
Store manager Calvin Wai Ho Chau said he was delighted to have opened in Liverpool, before adding: “As well as a large range of Korean specialities, we have food from six other countries, including Japan and Taiwan. We are excited to bring these new products to the local community and give them an authentic taste of East Asia.”
Check out the Liverpool ECHO’s TikTok to see a video review of the supermarket.