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What food items are allowed into South Korea?

What food items are allowed into South Korea?


South Korea is a country with a strong food culture, but there are restrictions on bringing in certain food items due to concerns about disease and contamination. This article will provide information on what food items are allowed into South Korea.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are generally allowed into South Korea, but there are some restrictions. Produce must be free of soil, insects, and disease, and it must be packaged and labeled appropriately. Certain fruits and vegetables, such as potatoes, garlic, and citrus fruits, may require an import permit.

Meat Products

Meat products are tightly regulated in South Korea due to concerns about diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza. Most meat products from countries affected by these diseases are prohibited. However, some cooked or canned meat products may be allowed with proper documentation.

Dairy Products

Dairy products are also subject to strict regulations in South Korea. Cheese, butter, milk powder, and other dairy products are generally allowed with proper documentation. However, fresh milk and cream are not allowed.

Canned Goods

Canned goods are generally allowed into South Korea, but they must be properly labeled with ingredients and expiration dates. Canned meat products may have additional restrictions.


Seafood is a major part of Korean cuisine, but there are restrictions on certain types of seafood due to concerns about contamination. Fresh seafood is allowed with proper documentation, but certain species may require additional permits. Canned and frozen seafood is generally allowed.


Beverages such as tea, coffee, and wine are generally allowed into South Korea with proper labeling and documentation. Alcoholic beverages may be subject to additional taxes and duties.

Snacks and Confectionery

Snacks and confectionery items such as chocolate, candy, and chips are generally allowed into South Korea. However, some items may be subject to import restrictions or additional taxes.

Baby Food and Formula

Baby food and formula are allowed into South Korea with proper labeling and documentation. However, certain brands may not be available in Korea, so it is recommended to bring enough for the duration of the stay.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are generally allowed into South Korea with proper labeling and packaging. However, certain types of nuts may require additional permits.

Spices and Herbs

Spices and herbs are generally allowed into South Korea with proper labeling and packaging. However, some may be subject to import restrictions or additional taxes.

Prohibited Items

There are several food items that are strictly prohibited from entering South Korea. These include fresh eggs, live animals, and products containing certain types of animal fat.


In conclusion, travelers to South Korea should be aware of the restrictions on bringing in certain food items. Proper labeling and documentation are key to avoiding any issues at customs. By following these guidelines, visitors can enjoy the rich cuisine of South Korea without any problems.

Can I bring food to South Korea?

Is it allowed to bring food into Korea? You are permitted to bring prepared food for personal use, as long as its value does not exceed USD 400.

What can I not bring to Korea?

Illegal substances like opium, cannabis, and cocaine, as well as items made from animals such as elephants, leopards, and alligators, including but not limited to medicines, handbags, wallets, stoles, and taxidermy, are prohibited. Additionally, forms of payment like cashier’s checks, overdraft checks, and postal money orders are not accepted.

Can I bring ibuprofen to Korea?

Advil is not illegal and does not need to be declared when traveling. Only certain drugs such as narcotic drugs, Viagra, Cialis, and diet pills need to be declared. Advil does not fall under any of these categories.

What is the food law in South Korea?

Under the Food Sanitation Act in South Korea, regulations are in place for food contact materials and products. Chapter 3 of the Act specifically forbids the use of any harmful or toxic chemicals in food containers, utensils, or packaging that could pose a risk to human health.

Can I bring dairy products into Korea?

People who come to Korea cannot bring animal or plant products such as meat, dairy, eggs, fresh fruits, and seeds into the country. In-flight meals that contain these items cannot be taken off the airplane when you arrive.

Can I bring food on a plane international flight?

You are allowed to bring solid food items in either your carry-on or checked bags, but not liquids or gels. If you have liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz, they should be placed in your checked bags if possible, as they are not allowed in your carry-on bags.

It’s important to note that South Korea is particularly strict when it comes to food regulations. Any items that are not allowed into the country will be confiscated and destroyed. Therefore, it’s crucial to research and understand the regulations before packing any food items.

Additionally, travelers should be aware of the potential health risks associated with consuming certain foods in South Korea. For example, raw seafood dishes like sannakji (live octopus) can pose a choking hazard if not prepared properly. It’s always a good idea to exercise caution and do some research on local food customs before trying new dishes.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that South Korea has a fantastic food culture with a wide variety of delicious options. From street food stalls to fancy restaurants, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Trying new foods is a great way to experience the culture and cuisine of this fascinating country. By following the rules and regulations for bringing in food items, visitors can fully immerse themselves in the culinary delights of South Korea.

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