As an American who is used to Walmart’s long lines, disheveled looking people, barely stocked aisles, and misbehaving kids – Emart was a welcomed surprise! I was impressed when I first walked in, and I’m still in awe at Emart’s efficiency and organization. I’ve never waited more than a few minutes in line at the register. The employees are hard working and very helpful. The aisles are always stocked and arranged neatly. An employee comes around every so often to “front” the shelves and turn the products, so that the item is at the front of the shelf and its label faces forwards.
The Suji location is somewhat of a small building compared to other locations, but it’s bigger than any Walmart I’ve ever been in to. It’s three stories tall and and has two basement levels for parking. The top floor is also for parking. The building stands alone on a corner of a wide open intersection, so it’s hard to miss. At night, the lights are so bright and the sign is so big, you can see it from far away.
The ground floor includes things like pet food, paper towels, makeup, bedding, bathroom misc (like toilet paper, shower caddies, etc), electronics, big kitchen appliances and things like sandwich baggies and aluminum foil. There is also a small bike shop area, a photo print shop, and a Starbucks.
The next floor down is all groceries. It includes things like milk and cheese, bread, cereal, baby food, condiments, tons of ramen noodles, flour, fruit, seafood, and cuts of meat. Back at the meat counters, there is a section where they saran wrap different meal items.
Here’s a tip: when it’s late at night, Emart discounts those meals because they need to sell them before the place closes at midnight. It’s usually around 50% off. It works out perfect for us because we get off at 9pm, so we can get half-priced chicken!
There is also a food court on this floor that has different restaurants to choose from. Baskin Robbins and Popeye’s Chicken are stand alone restaurants, where you can just order at the counter. But the rest are grouped into a different ordering system.
To place an order, you go to the counter in the back of the seating area, pay, and receive a ticket. The row of restaurants have LED screens at each counter and when you see your number, you walk up and take the tray. Afterwards, you return your tray to that same counter.
There’s a giant menu behind the ordering counter (which looks more like a podium with a cash register) that has a list of food to choose from. It includes food from all of the restaurants, except for Popeye’s and Baskin Robbins. Each meal/set has its own number, and the number corresponds to the different restaurants’ menu items.
But for those of you that can’t read hangul, like me, there’s an easier way to know what you’re ordering. Right next to the ordering counter, there is also a glass case that shows plastic versions of each plate.
So far, we’ve only tried a few things. Our favorite, by far, is the crispy breaded pork!
It’s so helpful to see the dishes, in that glass case, before we order. And then we memorize the number, go to the counter and say the number. With our limited Korean, it’s never been a problem. We always lean towards the meaty meals. Crispy pork FTW!
It’s interesting to note that the cart system is much different than what I’m used to at any of our Virginian grocery stores. The carts at Emart are attached by chain, and you have to insert a coin to be able to take it out. Though, it only costs 100 won, which is roughly 10 cents.
The best part of these carts is that they have wheels that allow it to move in 360 degrees. It is soooo convenient, especially for those moments when you need to push your cart to the side of the aisle to allow someone else to pass through. The wheels even have special grooves on them, so that when you take it on to the escalators it doesn’t roll away and smash into people. We took a video to show it in action!