Need gift ideas for the Kpop and Kdrama fans in your life?
Here are a few conventional gifts that fit all occasions and grow with value over time.
Gift Ideas for Kpop Fans
Koryo Books in Koreatown NYC is a great place to get Korean stationery, language study books, comics, and Kdrama DVDs. The store even has a massive collection of Kpop music from bands such as STAYC, ATEEZ, STRAY KIDS, RED VELVET, BTS, and more.
In addition to the Kpop albums, the store should stock items such as Kpop photocards, photocard binders, Kpop photobooks, themed band member merchandise, and clothing most Kpop fans would enjoy as gifts.
It can be quite pricy, but if you live in the area, it may be worth a trip.
Visit Koryo Books online website.
A Streaming Service for Kdrama and Kpop Fans
Kocowa is a great streaming platform to watch exclusive kdrama series and boasts the largest library of Kpop TV with over 9,100 hours of musical entertainment.
(I had a chance to review the platform a few months ago and found myself impressed by their library of content.)
On Kocowa, Kpop fans can enjoy weekly live performances from debuts and comebacks on shows like Music Bank K-Chart, Music Bank World Tour, Inkigayo, and Show! Music Core.
Reality and Variety Shows that often feature intimate moments with Kpop stars and other celebrities such as Running Man, Home Alone, The Manager, and Idols Sports Athletic Challenge can be viewed with musical guests like BTS, BlackPink, and even Aespa!
Behind the Scenes Shows like Rookie King (BTS) allow Kpop fans to see idol auditions, travels, and more intimate moments rarely seen on other Korean-content streaming platforms.
Currently, Kocowa is offering 1/2 off an annual subscription with the promo code KPOPXMAS. If you are unsure what to get the Kpop fan in your life or somebody who enjoys South Korean Pop Culture, this might make an excellent gift!
Visit Kocowa’s website.
Keep Tabs on Upcoming Kdrama and Kpop TV Shows
The r/Kdrama subreddit usually has episode discussions for ongoing airing shows in addition to commentary on what international fans thought of an episode and any possible theories being thrown around across the fandom despite any language barriers that would normally arise.
Best Korean Snacks to Try for Kdrama Fans
Kdrama often has an array of tasty Korean snacks, Korean street foods, and traditional treats shown onscreen that are sometimes hard to find in real life. Don’t worry though, you have options even if you live outside of South Korea.
Where to Buy Korean Snacks
Check your local area for Korean or Asian specialty stores and markets to see if you can find the most popular snacks shown in Korean dramas. If not, you could always check out H Mart in Koreatown, NYC if you live in the area.
Thankfully, H Mart also has an online shop that ships to the “48 contiguous states excluding Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam.” Prices are a bit expensive compared to going in person, but they are much cheaper than other retailers like Amazon.
What Snacks Are Popular in South Korea?
Tteokbokki are long, white rice cake noodles popularly eaten in a spicy chili sauce often covered in cheese (Cheese Topokki). The rice cakes are chewy, and the savory sauce is great on a chilly evening while watching your favorite drama.
They shared Ramyeon together?!?
Ramyeon (also spelled ramyun) are Korean instant noodles slightly similar to the Japanese ramen we are all familiar with, but the Korean noodles are usually spicier. Shin Ramyun is the most popular Ramyeon variety of instant noodles in South Korea.
If you watch Kdrama, you’ll know how serious it is to share Ramyeon with your crush. Bonus points if they make said noodles for you themselves.
Try Shin Ramyun Korean Noodles
Did you know that some characters in Korean dramas will actually take offense if another person doesn’t like this dish? Or rather, even if they don’t “stir the noodles” properly?
Jajangmyeon (or jjajangmyeon) is a Korean noodle dish known for its savory and mildly sweet chunjang (black bean) sauce. Although best eaten fresh, Jajangmyeon can also be enjoyed in instant noodle-flavored packaging.
Honey Butter Chips
Does anybody remember a mobile game called Mystic Messenger? It was a Korean visual novel-style otome game that somewhat popularized Honey Buddha Chips – or Honey Butter Chips in 2016.
(To this day I am still haunted by Zen’s completely aloof attitude toward the MC and Seven’s traumatic backstory that in all actuality, was kind of creepy for a mobile game.)
The chips were very popular in Asian grocery stores and there were so many different brands vying for dominance that I ended up trying all of them. Needless to say, potato chips flavored with honey and butter (that tasted like cheap salted margarine to me) are definitely an acquired taste.
(I tried the chips again last year and realized my preference for the Japanese Calbee’s Honey Butter Potato Chips over the original Korean Haitai Honey Butter Chips due to the subdued butter flavor.)
Does anybody else remember that scene in D.P. where Han Ho Yul was being awful to fellow officer Kim Gyu simply because he stole his Choco Pie? And as an apology, he had to gift him a large sum of Choco Pies to Ho Yul to eat?
While I personally have yet to try the marshmallow-filled chocolate cakes, it is definitely on my list of Korean snacks I need to try next time I visit an Asian market.
Try Orion Choco Pie
Obligatory Mention – Dalgona Sugar Candy Maker
I’ve got to be honest – Squid Game (and Parasite) are two of the most overhyped and lackluster works in Korean cinema that are (in my opinion) artificially being propped up by the media as the gold standard.
However – the Kdrama and film did introduce Korean culture to a new set of people, so if you know somebody who enjoyed Squid Game and wants to put on a green tracksuit and try traditional Korean Dalgona (sugar candy) – here you go.
Purchase DALGONA Maker Kit 1
[Nothing against the actors, but Behind Every Star just finished airing and I found two of the actors who I absolutely detested in their Squid Game’s roles, extremely endearing in Behind Every Star. It’s a great Kdrama on Netflix about film production and talent agents if you are looking for a new show to check out.]
Kdrama Product Placement Gifts
(Be advised though, an Irish court ruled that Subway’s bread contains too much sugar to meet the legal definition of actual bread.)
They should at the very least laugh and be able to enjoy a nice cup of product-placement coffee while watching their favorite drama onscreen.
A Webtoon Subscription
Webtoons are increasingly becoming to Kdrama what manga are to anime. If you don’t know what that means, basically graphic novels are essentially being adapted into live-action or even animated series.
Visit Line Webtoons Website.
Netflix boasts a great catalog of live-action adaptations like Save Me based on the popular Daum comic Out of the World (세상 밖으로) by Jo Geum-san. (Formerly) Strangers from Hell adapted from Yong-Ki Kim’s Hell is Other People and Our Beloved Summer based on the romance webtoon Our Beloved Summer by Han Kyoung Chal and Lee Naeun.
Lookism is the latest webtoon adaptation for an animated series on Netflix.
Netcomics is another place to read manhwa, webtoons, and manga series that boasts a very strong catalog of romance and BL (Boy’s Love) digital comics. I did a short review of the first few chapters of The Warehouse a few years ago.
Visit Netcomics Website.
Personalized Gift Ideas for Kdrama Lovers
You can find T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, notebooks, stickers, pins, and more made by fans for fellow fans. Even I made a Kdrama fan shirt or two in hopes of growing the collective fandom’s influence.
Hopefully, you found these suggestions helpful in finding a gift for the Kdrama and Kpop fans in your life!
Did I miss anything?
What is your favorite Kpop band or Webtoon?
Which Korean snacks have you tried so far?
We are also creating Kdrama and Anime fashion-inspired merchandise for fellow fans, Visit our Redbubble store if you have a chance – you get cool gear, and it helps support the blog!
☆ In Asian Spaces