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The Best Korean Food and Beauty in Johannesburg

The Best Korean Food and Beauty in Johannesburg

Est. Reading: 3 minutes
Korean cooking and skincare has become popular the world over, and our fair city has its own spots to find all things Korean. 

Innisfree, Kimchi, Banchan, Gochujang, Shin ramyun, BTS; if any of these words ring a bell, or you know exactly what they are, you might be caught up in the Korean wave that's currently sweeping the world.

The success of Korean skincare, K-pop music, and movies and TV shows like Squid Game and Parasite, has brought never been seen attention to the country. Ten step Korean beauty routines and BTS pop hits have the world in a tizzy and everyone is in on the action.

One such person is US-native and Joburg resident, Nicole Siegenthaler. She was first introduced to Korean culture by a Korean-Brit friend 10 years ago in New York.

"She would take us to Korean BBQ, chicken spots, bakeries, and guide us through the menus, ordering for us and encouraging us to try everything," Nicole tells us. "I will never forget those meals -- everything from the shock of my first taste of kimchi, the heat of proper spicy chicken and marveling at the spread of banchan (side dishes). Of course, it was always washed down with soju!"

Gone are the days when the song Gangnam Style were the main representatives of the country. Korea's vast offerings have now swept around the world.

We asked Nicole to fill us in on how we can access all things Korean in Johannesburg. Whether you're looking for ideas for next meal or you want to up your skincare game for that Korean ‘glass skin’, we've got you on where to go in Joburg:


Banchan Korean Eatery

Banchan Korean Eatery in Sandton should be your first stop for authentically Korean food. The name is the Korean word for the small complimentary side dishes that come with a main meal. These can be an event in themselves and you should watch out you don’t fill up on them before the main event. From kimchi fried rice to jeon (savory pancakes) grab your friends and try all these famous Korean dishes. Koreans are big on sharing meals, so the more people the better.

Chilli Mania SA / Kimchee SA


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Calling themselves "Korean barbecue heaven", Chilli Mania SA can be found  at Fourways Farmer’s Market and The Playground in Braamfontein (formerly Neighbourgoods). “Without a doubt many of my best meals in South Africa have been here,” says Nicole.

Market Kokoro

If you’re keen to try make your own Korean dishes, Market Kokoro grocery store is your one stop shop for ingredients. You can find physical stores in Rivonia, Fourways and Pretoria, or conveniently shop online. It has a selection of dry goods, frozen foods, kitchenware, fresh produce, sweets and a deli section.




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This online portal carries some of the leading Korean skincare brands. You can also visit their physical stores in Bruma and Fourways. Most of the orders will come with free samples, and you might discover your next favourite product.

“I get most of my skincare from them and really appreciate that they're continuously adding new brands to their stock,” says Nicole. They stock brands such as Dr Jart, Etude House, Cosrx, Innisfree, you name them, they are there.

Glow Theory

'South Africa’s first K-beauty store' stocks cult faves such as Cosrx, Neogen, Toly Moly and Klairs, to name a few. “Our goal is to stock the widest range of Korean beauty products in South Africa, at the most affordable prices,” says their website. Their physical store can be found at 44 Stanley in Milpark.

Address: 44 Stanley Ave, Braamfontein Werf, Johannesburg

Shipping throughout the country you can also get your fix of the firm favourites and also discover new products from their wide range.

Honorable mention: @btsarmySA


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Perhaps Korea’s biggest export, BTS, has an army branch in SA and you can follow them on Instagram. ‘Army’ is the name of the group’s fans. With almost 6000 followers, you will find daily updates on the group’s activity, concerts and merchandise. They also include SA time zones to view shows and appearances, prices in rand, and availability of products in the country.


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