Welcome to ‘K-pop Destinations ,’ the series that helps readers travel across the world.
We’ll show you where hit shows and videos are filmed, where top performers are giving concerts, or where your favorite stars take their vacations.
That way, the next time you take a vacation, you can make sure to incorporate a little K-pop travel into your getaway.
This week we’re taking a trip to a destination that truly has it all – the beach, delicious restaurants, electric nightlife, family-friendly attractions, and of course, a one-stop shop for Korean culture.
Welcome to San Diego! The Southern Californian city is known as a year-round vacation hotspot, while Los Angeles, its neighbor city to the north, is typically more recognized for its Koreatown neighborhood.
But San Diego visitors who can’t make the trip up to LA need not fear.
The city’s Zion Market is home to a delicious supermarket, a food court featuring delicious East Asian food, and several Korean shops.
As you walk in, grab a pastry to munch on from a K-pop star favorite, Paris Baguette .
There’s one of these bakery chains on practically every street in Korea, and you can feel just like a star as you chomp down on a fruit tart or Danish.
Now on to the supermarket.
This is one that wouldn’t be out of place in the heart of Seoul.
It has it all.
Aisles are full of several types of homemade kimchi, Korean produce, frozen dumplings, industrial size tubs of gochujang, and all the seafood and bulgogi you could ever eat.
And then there’s the snacks.
You’ve got all the good Korean and Japanese ones that you usually can’t find in U.S.
supermarkets, like green tea Kit Kat bars , Pepero , dried squid , and Honey Butter chips .
Not in the mood to cook? Not a problem.
Zion Market has delicious prepared kimbap, bibimbap, japchae, and other Korean specialties available at dangerously low prices.
You can either take it to go or eat it at the counter of a place that goes by the name of Old Street Food Market in the back of the store.
If you’re looking for recommendations, the kimchi kimbap and galbi special are both impeccable.
If you fancy a little soju with your Korean cuisine, no worries.
A bottle is only about $3.50 – just above the price of a bottle in Korea and about $10 cheaper than most places in New York.
There are also several Korean and East Asian food vendors in the larger food court surrounding the market area.
There, you can feast on anything from ramen to fried chicken wings to sushi, all at super low prices.
Once you’re done eating, feel free to shop around a bit.
Zion Market is home to a Face Shop, the Korean beauty line known for its refreshing skin care products.
Stock up on products like cleansers, blackhead strips, and sheet masks.
There’s one more super fun spot to check out before you head home.
K-Pop Fancy might not be the biggest K-pop outlet you’ve ever seen, but it’s jam packed with everything from Girls Generation stickers to the latest hit albums to Luhan socks.
It also has a great offering of Korean culture items that aren’t necessarily related to K-pop, so it’s a cool way to see some of the stuff that might be getting K-pop stars and Korean-based K-pop fans energized right now.
There’s plenty to do, see, and eat in Zion Market.
It’s accessible enough for a quick (and delicious) grocery run, but also a very cool way to spend an afternoon immersed in another culture while in a city that is otherwise relatively touristy and American.
Don’t miss this Korean one-stop-shop on your next trip to the sunny city of San Diego.