I won’t lie; I am rather new to the world of subscription boxes. In fact, I had only heard about these mystery packages until about a year ago. Then, I experienced my first Korean subscription box and since then I’ve always been interested to try more.
When I first stumbled upon such boxes, I didn’t really understand why you would choose to receive such a box rather than just buying the items you want outright. However, my thoughts on such boxes have changed a lot over the past year.
Why? Well, not only did I discover that purchasing these boxes is often cheaper than purchasing the items outright, but I also found a wealth of new tastes within. I’m not afraid to admit that opening subscription boxes is always a fun experience for me.
That brings me to today’s topic – Seoulbox. I first encountered this Korean subscription box service when I put together my article on the best Korean snack boxes. I’ve been intrigued by their boxes since then. Hence, I was excited when Seoulbox reached out to me.
At the time of writing, Seoulbox offers a few different Korean subscription boxes. Their top box is their Korean snack box, the Seoulbox Signature. There is also a vegetarian and halal snack box called the Seoulbox V.
Seoulbox’s final box is the Seoul Life Box. This box is not a snack box, but rather a more general Korean subscription box that contains a range of different goods related to Korea. These could be Korean culture-related products, K-pop merchandise, Jewelry, or any range of other items!
In today’s review, I want to provide my experiences and review all three boxes. I will cover not only what you can expect to find in each box, but also how you can purchase the boxes.
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Why Subscription Boxes?
As I alluded to in the introduction, I have been aware of subscription boxes for a good while. However, I had never experienced them or, frankly, understood them until a year ago. Since then, I’ve actually begun to enjoy them a lot. This is for a few key reasons.
Firstly, they allow you to experience new products or snacks that you didn’t know about before. Seoulbox snack boxes do this especially well – both the Signature and V had a few snacks that I had never encountered before. I’ve lived in Korea for five years!
Secondly, subscription boxes are convenient. When you go shopping yourself, you will need to be thinking about every item, where to buy them, and what the shipping for each product costs. Subscription boxes deliver a range of snacks straight to your door every month (or quarter).
Finally, for the logicians out there (like me!) these boxes may at first appear to be products sold with a high-profit margin. However, after doing some research on previous snack boxes I discovered that these boxes often sell for less than you’d pay for purchasing the items alone. This is largely due to the fact that these vendors can bulk purchase items for large discounts.
Of course, all of these points assume that you are purchasing the box for yourself. While these kinds of gift boxes are great for self-indulgence, they also make for fantastic gifts.
If you know someone that loves an aspect of Korea, such as Korean food or K-pop, or someone that just loves Korean culture in general, a gift box is a great gift idea. Not only is it thoughtful, but it’s also easy to buy and send!
Guidebook from within the Signature box.
Subscription boxes are also easy. Once you have ordered a box (or boxes) you are done – they will show up at your doorstep sometime in the near future. Further, the boxes have explanations discussing all of the contents within. This can be especially helpful when trying foreign foods for the first time! Overall, subscription boxes make experiencing food and items from Korea both convenient and easy.
Seoulbox Box Types
Seoulbox currently has three different box types that I briefly introduced in the introduction. However, I want to go into a bit more detail explaining the background of each box and who might be interested in them.
When you first navigate to the Seoulbox page it looks like there are a ton of different boxes. This is because there are different subscription plans for each box type (monthly, quarterly, annually, etc) and all of these subscriptions are listed as different items. In reality, there are three different boxes on sale on the Seoulbox website.
|Seoulbox Signature||Foods & snacks|
|Seoulbox V||Vegetarian/halal* foods & snacks|
|Seoulbox Life||Assorted Korea-related products|
*Not certified halal as such food is very rare in Korea. This food has been looked over by the Seoulbox team and deemed as halal-friendly.
Seoulbox sells two Korean snack boxes – the Signature and V. These boxes are largely similar, except that the V contains vegetarian items. I received both boxes and around three-quarters of the items were the same. Some items (such as meat-based ramyun) had been swapped out to vegetarian alternatives.
I appreciate the fact that Seoulbox has made this distinction between its boxes. There are few Korean snack boxes that offer vegetarian options and it isn’t as simple as purchasing a box and just avoiding products with meat in them – all of the ingredients lists are in Korean! As such, this is a welcome addition and something that I wish more companies would do.
The third box that Seoulbox offers is the Seoulbox Life. This box is not a snack box and is rather a ‘lifestyle’ box. Rather than finding snacks inside, a range of goods unique to Korea will greet the opener. These boxes are sent out quarterly and are based on a topic or theme unique to each box. This quarter’s box was Jeju Island-themed and contained a range of items based on this theme.
As with all subscription boxes, the items in every box will be different. For that reason, I won’t cover too many of the individual items that were contained within the boxes that I opened. Rather, I will cover more generally what you can expect to find within each box. Of course, I might mention a few of my favourite products!
Seoulbox’s most famous box, the Seoulbox Signature, is the first box that I want to discuss. The box contains a range of Korean candy, Korean snacks, and also potentially a few bonus items such as (in my box) some breath spray. This box was my favourite and the one that I would recommend to anyone wanting to experience a small taste of Korea (unless, of course, you would prefer the vegetarian option below!).
The Signature Box contains 18 products that range from candies and chips to teas. All of the items are non-perishable and should therefore arrive in good condition and ready to eat! There is also a good balance of sweet to savoury foods – I tend to prefer more savoury snacks such as chips. I was not disappointed!
What surprised me the most about the snacks in this snack box was that I wasn’t familiar with many of them. This isn’t to say that they aren’t authentic Korean snacks – they are. Rather, after living in Korea for 5 years I still hadn’t tried a lot of the snacks that were in the box. This meant the box was a lot of fun for me to eat my way through.
When I tried other snack boxes, such as Daebak Box, I found that I was already very familiar with most of the snacks. Of course, this makes sense! I have tried a lot of Korean snacks and candies over the past few years. However, Seoulbox appears to be actively searching for new snacks to include in their boxes and this means that even people familiar with Korean snacks are likely to find something new in each box.
I will admit that I wasn’t a fan of all of the food items inside the Signature Box. This is something that I expect though, as these boxes are all about experiencing new tastes. There were also some items that I loved (the green-pepper flavoured chips and jjajangmyeon chips were amazing!) and these more than made up for the snacks that my tastebuds didn’t appreciate so much.
These boxes may contain nuts or other items that can cause allergic reactions. As such, make sure to confirm that the products in the box are safe for you to eat before trying any!
Seoulbox V (left) vs Signature (right)
The Seoulbox V is very similar to the Signature box with the key difference of all the food items being vegetarian and halal (but not certified). Since these are snack boxes, the majority of the items within will be the same as the Signature box. However, there are a few items that will be swapped out with vegetarian replacements.
The most common item that will be changed is the ramyun. Most boxes will contain some form of ramyun and these quick meals will usually contain some form of meat or seafood. Seoulbox V will replace this ramyun with a vegetarian alternative (which I must add, tastes very good!).
On top of this, there are occasionally other items that will be swapped. For example, in the Signature snack box that I received, there was stir-fried kimchi with spam. However, these swapped items account for only three or four items per box – the rest of the items between the V and Signature are similar.
I mentioned it earlier in the article, but it is worth reiterating. There are few Korean snack boxes out there that currently offer vegetarian options and, as such, the addition of such an option is a big deal.
The final box that Seoulbox offers is the Seoul Life Box. I’d argue that this box is really a ‘Korea life box’ though, as this quarter’s theme was Jeju Island!
These boxes aren’t snack boxes but, are rather, more general boxes. Each box will contain a variety of goods from (potentially) cosmetics and luxury food items to K-pop merchandise. While it’s a surprise as to what exactly will be in each box, you can rest assured that there will be a range of interesting items that are related to Korea.
While these boxes aren’t unheard of (there are a few other similar subscription boxes out there), one thing I appreciate about Seoulbox is the thematic approach. Rather than just putting a random selection of goods in the box, the team at Seoulbox decides on a theme for each quarterly box. You can learn more about the current theme on the official website.
With the most recent box there was an emphasis on elements that Jeju Island is famous for – particularly hallabong (famous orange-like fruit from Jeju Island) and the beach culture of the island.
The items in the box were generally high-quality. Further, similar to the snack box, there were quite a few items that I’ve never seen or experienced even after living in Korea for so many years. I think that Seoulbox excels in the selection of products that they choose to include in each box.
While the Signature snack box makes for a great gift, the Seoul Life Box also gives a similar experience. I would recommend the snack box as a more general gift because it’s hard to go wrong with food. However, if you know someone that is particularly infatuated with a certain aspect of Korean culture and the Seoul Life Box matches that theme, it can also make for a unique and exciting gift!
Pricing & Plans
Both the Seoulbox Signature and V start at $35 and are sent out monthly. The Seoul Life box is $54.95 and is sent out quarterly. Both of these boxes are priced very similarly to other options on the market – if you’re interested in a comparison, please refer to this post.
You can choose to purchase each box as a one-off, or you can choose to purchase a longer subscription. Currently, there are one-off, quarterly (three months), and annual plans for the snack boxes. The Seoulbox Life can only be purchased individually.
|Box||One-off||Quarterly (3x)||Annually (12x)|
If you chose to purchase a quarterly or annual subscription you can expect to save a few dollars per box. While this won’t make a big difference, it can definitely make the offer more enticing.
At this point, I am sure many people are wondering about shipping. This price is not included and shipping is an extra $12.50. For this reason, you are really paying $47.50 for the snack boxes and $67.50 for the Seoulbox Life. This is a flat fee and doesn’t differ based on the quantity purchased or other factors.
This increases the price significantly and makes the offer a bit less attractive. However, the boxes are often quite weighty and from my research, this is standard in the subscription box industry.
If you are looking for a gift for someone that loves Korea, Seoulbox has a range of boxes that are worth checking out. Even if you’re looking for a gift for yourself, these boxes make for a good choice. Opening each box is exciting and provides a fun way to experience snacks and items that you otherwise may have never discovered.
While it really depends on what you’re looking for, I recommend the Signature snack box for most people. There’s something universal about food – we all need it, and many people love it. Korea also has a ton of different (and unique) snacks that you can’t find anywhere else. For this reason, the Korean snack box is the box that I would recommend for most people.
Of course, if you are looking for items that will last a bit longer than snacks (let’s be honest, they’re all gone within a few days!) the Seoul Life box is a nice option to have. The box could contain almost anything related to Korea and you really never know what you’ll find within.