From bottom to top, Emart Traders (이마트트레이더스)is the Korean
replica version of a Costcos sans the yearly requirement of a membership.
While the exterior of all Costcos carries the recognizable white and blue warehouse paneling, Emart Traders (ET) has selected a grey and light green warehouse panel – which also makes it stand out. After seeing ET one time, it would be easy to recognize seeing it again. The ET logo appears “tiki”. I could imagine their mascot to be feathery, wide mouthed, volcano God. Or the Jeju dol hareubang (돌 하르방)!
Similar to the exterior, the inside of ET is all warehouse. Racks fill the space from floor to ceiling, and they are stocked with pallets of bulk items. Place cards clearly mark the items in Korean and English with the price.
ET carries practically everything that you might find at a regular Emart. The only difference is that it is sold in bundles and packages. Nothing that I saw appeared in oversize containers in the way that Costcos sells – almost comically sized – bags and jars. Do you need a large tub of cheese puffs? Or a 2 kg bag of Columbian coffee? Where Costcos appeals to businesses or individuals needing bulk, ET seems to still have families as their target audience. Again, with a few exceptions, most items are regular size containers, but just sold in a bundles of 4 or 6.
Costcos has it’s network of distribution selling prediminently American goods across the globe. Nearly every item is in English, and may have special packaging for Korea. Most ET items are still local to Korea and Emart. You’ll find all ramyun, instant coffee and Korean snacks. I was pleased to see cans of silkworms (which are a natural source of protein), bags of sweet potato chips, sweet red beans, and quantities of chicken wings. But no foreign items screamed, “OMG, I can’t find this anywhere else in Korea!”
One of the largest areas of ET is the fresh produce. The selection of fresh pork, beef, chicken, fish, prepared sushi, seafood, fruit, and vegetables is expansive. I could imagine that businesses might come here just to stock up on all produce at once. Some of it is prepared and ready-to-eat, like the roasted chicken, sushi, and chicken wraps.
ET also houses a bakery for breads and cakes. There is a cheesecake soufflé, fresh muffins, cakes, bagels, and rolls. The one item I wanted to try most was the fresh cream cake. For birthdays, I understand a Paris Baguette cake is an expensive formality. But the fresh cream cakes, here, were large and of reasonable price.
Finally, Yes. Emart Traders does include a food court. And, it’s not as chaotic as Costcos. There are whole pizzas with choices of cheese, bulgogi, and combination along with focaccia bread. Each one can be purchased in generous slices. ET does sell “bread bakes” with either beef or chicken. There are ballpark hot dogs, sandwiches, oven spaghetti, pretzels, and salads. And, the biggest surprise was Bennigan’s Ribs for only 9,900W.
I can attest that the beef bread bake was delicious and of equal size to what you find at Costcos. The taste is not exact, but it was scrumptious. Sadly, there is no unlimited supply of onions. I wanted to taste the patbingsoo dessert, but they told me that it was only a summer item. Definitely, the food court and prices warrant at least one visit to ET.
Additionally, the Yongton ET has a Starbucks in-store. Fuel up and shop.
Suwon Emart Traders is situated in Yongtong (영통). To arrive there by subway, ride the yellow Bundang line to Mangpo Station (망포역) Exit 4 and walk straight 3 blocks. Additionally, a few buses pass by. Check Buses 15,61,62-1,92-1,99. The bus stop is next to an apartment complex named ‘Remian Yongtong Mark 2 (래미안영통마크원2단지).