Calgary is a diverse city, with a number of options for Asian markets and grocery stores. Although many of these stores have a lot of good items in stock, sometimes they just don’t have the specific ingredient or brand you are looking for. When it comes to Korean cooking, your best bet for an authentic taste is to visit a Korean grocery store – and lucky for you, there are several in Calgary.
Korean grocery stores are not only the ideal place to buy ingredients, but are also full of fun Korean goods that you may be surprised to see in Canada. I am always amazed at the selection of snacks, utensils, hardware, homewares, and beauty products that you can find tucked among the shelves!
Here is a quick introduction to three fantastic Korean grocery stores that I love in Calgary: one in the north, one that is centrally-located, and one in the south.
3616 52nd Avenue NW, Calgary, AB T2L 1V9; 403-338-0089
Though small, this market is jam-packed with exciting items – so much so that they have stock rising up to the ceiling! Even as you walk in, you’ll probably spot at least three different interesting sections that you’ll want to explore. The theme of Koreana Market, to me, is “a little bit of everything” – they excel in variety when it comes to the types of products available.
I find the prices here to be very fair, and sale items will be featured at the front of the store and along the ends of some aisles to help you save even more. They also have a decent house & home section and a number of cooking implements (grills, rice cookers, etc.) to choose from.
If you’re planning to visit, keep in mind that they are only open until 7 pm and closed on Sundays. When you do come by, however, you will find the atmosphere comfortable and the staff friendly and accommodating.
Arirang Oriental Foods
1324 10th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T3C 0J2; 403-228-0980
Arirang is at the heart of a cluster of Korean businesses in the west end of downtown, including a bakery and Galaxy Karaoke (to learn more about them, check out my post here). Parking can be a bit tight right in front of the store, but don’t worry – there is plenty of street parking available in the surrounding area.
When I visit Arirang I am always one of several customers perusing the aisles, but I rarely cannot find the item that I am looking for. They carry an impressive number of brands so you can choose exactly the one that suits you best, which is particularly helpful if you are picky or have a certain flavor in mind.
Another highlight is how well arranged this grocery store is. Fresh items, such as produce and meats, are along one wall, with dry goods alongside in aisles, so that you can easily pick up cooking ingredients together. If you are looking for frozen items, snacks, or drinks, you can walk down the opposite side. Through a doorway on the right is a separate domain for large bags of grains, ramen multi-packs, and hardware items. They also have a section featuring ready-made foods that you can simply cook and eat, without having to do the prep work yourself.
4-7400 Macleod Trail SE, Calgary, AB T2H 0L9; 403-541-1419
Bright and welcoming, A Mart is a spacious collection of your favorite Korean goods. You’ll likely want to grab a cart on your way in – there’s lots to tempt you!
Right when you enter you will notice that A Mart has a huge produce section, and it is meticulously kept. The fruit and vegetables here are fresh and inviting, which makes them a perfect choice for your Korean recipes – or perhaps purely to eat and enjoy. Beyond, you will find neat rows of items ranging from sauces to snacks, and they too have a good variety of brands and products.
There are also several dedicated areas that can make a trip to A Mart worthwhile. The meat counter is brimming with selections that you can build a meal around, and is staffed in case you have particular requests. At the left side of the store you can also find a delightful mini-shop featuring Korean cosmetics called K-Beauty Calgary. With a whole wall of masks and a well-organized array of other skincare and beauty products, this corner is not to be missed. The employees are kind and knowledgeable, so if you have any questions don’t be shy to ask!
I hope that this small window into the Korean grocery options in Calgary has convinced you to visit! For me, it is impossible to drop by one of these stores without finding something I love, whether it be a sought ingredient or a surprising treasure, and no matter what I leave with it always reminds me of my time in Korea.
Categories: KOREA-CANADA BLOG 2018