If you want to see Seoulites spend some serious cash on a few pieces of fruit or a handful of locally grown oranges, Shinsegae’s flagship downtown store is the place to go. This department store is one of the “big three” department stores in the city (the other two are Lotte and Hyundai) and it’s an amazing emporium that sells all kinds of merchandise. In the lower floors, Korean women jostle to buy prepared dishes and staples like fresh fish at the end of the day. The selection of Korean fare is mind-boggling; step up and sample Korea’s beloved kimchi, a spicy cabbage traditionally fermented in huge jars dug into the earth. Upstairs, the city’s uber-brand-conscious consumers snap up the latest Ferragamo shoes and Hermes silk scarves. On the rooftop, Shinsegae’s new garden is also a welcome respite from the megacity’s hubbub. The store is directly across from the Bank of Korea on Chungmuro, between the Namdaemun market and the Myeongdong shopping district. Get here by taking subway line 4 to Hoehyun Station. Rival Lotte department store, about 10 minutes by foot down the road, also has an exotic grocery store and a popular food court.

Shinsegae Department Store