With the ever-increasing popularity of quick meals and even quicker snacks concept from Don Don Donki, it’s only a matter of time before we’ve got a similar experience with a Korean spin. emart24 is precisely that, as it launched its first-ever outlet at Jurong Point on 23 Dec 2022, which was followed by a second outlet at NEX on 24 Dec 2022.
emart24 is a popular convenience store brand from Korea that is known for its affordable meal, drinks, lifestyle items and even cosmetics. It was first established in 2014 but has grown to over 5,500 stores all over the country. This isn’t emart24’s first foray into the Southeast Asian market as it has 33 outlets in Malaysia with the first one being opened in 2021.
As expected, emart24 was packed— it didn’t help that it was sized like one too! Many of the customers were enjoying the freshly made Korean dishes that were available at the stipulated tables.
You can get dishes such as Fried Chicken with Pickled Radish (S$14.90/S$27.90) where you can choose between the Original or Sweet & Spicy Yang Nyum. There’s also their signature Handmade Corn Dog (S$4.20), which comes in Sausage or Half & Half (Half Cheese, Half Sausage).
Familiar Korean dishes like the Tteokbokki (S$3.90), Fried Eomuok Fingers (S$2.90) and CUPBAP Rice Bowls (S$5.50) were also present at emart24. As of now, the food isn’t halal-certified.
Though there was a fair selection of Korean snacks at emart24, I can’t help but think how lacking it is as compared to Don Don Donki. There also wasn’t much variety with most of the snacks being some form of chips, cream-filled biscuits or just biscuits.
I opted for emart24’s traditional snacks, Ime Icheon Rice Traditional Snacks (S$2) and Jaju Rice Puffs Snack (S$3.50). The former is based on the Korean snack yakgwa which is a deep-fried wheat-based hangwa made with honey. It has a nice crumbly texture and wasn’t overly sweet. The Jaju Rice Puffs Snack is a Korean rice cracker, and it was crispy and had a roasted and really faint sweetness. Both were tasty and I could easily see myself munching a packet a day.
For drinks, I had emart24’s Mint Green Tea Latte (S$2) and Plum Hibiscus (S$1.50), and paid an additional S$0.80 for the Iced Cups. There were also other drinks like the Americano Sweet (S$1.50). You’ve probably seen this drink online or on your Instagram feed and trust me, it’s not worth the hype.
For starters, there isn’t much in the way of making your drink— it’s just the act of pouring liquid into a cup of ice. It was also overly sweet! I had to wait for my drink to become diluted as the ice slowly melted, and even then, I still found it too sweet.
The market for Korean food in Singapore is an obvious dollar sign. Hopefully, with upcoming future outlets, emart24 can look to consider having a larger space to fit in even more variety of snacks and realise the full potential of its fresh Korean food kiosk.
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