Chabad of Korea Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of questions that people often ask us about Jewish life in Korea.
What hotels are near the Chabad House?
There are a number of hotels near the Chabad House.
The most expensive hotel in the area is the five-star Grand Hyatt. This hotel is approximately 300 meters from the Chabad House.
The most popular option for visitors to the Chabad House is The IP Boutique Hotel. This newly renovated hotel is only about a 5 minute walk from the Chabad House and we recommend it to visitors who wish to stay near us for Shabbat. We would like to note that we have a special relationship with this hotel as we will use it for High Holy Day services, and guests can receive a 30% discount when mentioning that they are staying there in conjunction with Chabad. The hotel's room doors are electronically operated but can be opened by hotel staff in order to avoid violating the rules of Shabbat.
Other tourist-class hotels within walking distance include the Hamilton Hotel, Hotel Crown, and the Capital Hotel. Please note that the Hotel Crown has two locations in Seoul. The Itaewon Location is the one near the Chabad House.
How can I get to Itaewon and the Chabad House from the airport?
There are many transportation options to get to Itaewon from the airport. Probably the best is the direct Airport Limousine bus, which takes around 70 minutes and costs 14,000 Korean Won. A regular taxi might cost around 50,000 Korean Won. Black Taxis are more luxurious but quite a bit more expensive. For more precise details on how to reach the Chabad House once you arrive in Itaewon, please consult the map on this website or call us.We do not answer the phone on Shabbat or Yom Tov so try to arrive at other times if you need to contact us by phone.
How can I get Kosher food in Korea?
Many imported Kosher items are available in Korea. Always look for items marked by reliable authorities.No stores in Korea have specific Kosher sections, so check each item carefully.
Whenever you see the OU symbol (a circle with a U inside it) or OK symbol (a circle with a K inside it) on a food product, you are ensured of the strictest level of Kashrut.
One of the best sources for imported Kosher foods is Costco which has 3 locations in Seoul and 3 other locations elsewhere in South Korea. Shopping at Costco requires a membership, which costs 30,000 Korean Won per year. If you are a member of Costco in your home country you may shop at Costco in Korea (or any other country) by showing your membership card.
E-Mart and Lottemart are Korean stores, which have locations throughout the country and often have imported Kosher-certified products. If you find other stores with large selections of Kosher products, please let us know so that we can add it to the list.
Some other Korean-owned stores near Itaewon that have a large selection of imported Kosher products are the Red Door, Hannam Supermarket and Haddon House. The Red Door is located on the left side of the street that leads away from the Hamilton Hotel. The store is about 200 meters down the street and on your left if the Hamilton Hotel is behind you. The store has no sign, but yes, it has a red door and is located next to a large yellow sign which reads "Money Exchange." Hannam Supermarket is in the Volvo building near the Hangangjin subway station. Haddon House is a bit further away. It is in the basement of Hannam Heights Apartments in Hannam Dong on the other side of the hill past the UN Village.
What about Kosher meat and dairy products?
Some of the above mentioned stores may have Kosher dairy products such as cheese, but please note that these are not Chalav Yisroel. No Kosher meats are currently commercially available in Korea; please contact Chabad of Korea for your needs regarding Kosher meat and dairy products.
I'm staying in a hotel for a few days and can't cook or shop. Is it possible to have Kosher meals prepared?
Yes, you can. Please contact Chabad of Korea. We require 24 hours notice and prices are reasonable.
Is soju Kosher? What about other Korean foods?
The honest answer to questions about the Kashrut status of Korea's most common alcoholic beverage is simply that we don't know. Some of our community members have been led to believe that animal products may be used in the preparation of soju. While this is unconfirmed, we must err on the side of caution and consider soju to be NOT Kosher. Additionally, we must note that many traditional Korean foods, even those that appear to be vegetarian dishes, are also not Kosher due to the use of brine shrimp and other animal products in the pickling process. This includes kimchi.
Do you have services and meals on Shabbat?
Absolutely we do, and they are the highlight of the week for many of our regulars! You are invited to join us every Shabbat for delicious home cooked food in a wonderful family atmosphere. While reservations are not mandatory, please let us know if you are coming so we can prepare accordingly.There is no charge for these meals, but, of course, donations are welcome. Every Shabbat, meals are sponsored by members and guests of our community.Contact us for information on how you can sponsor meals
What is the schedule for religious services?
We have regularly scheduled services every Friday night and Saturday morning. The time for Friday night's Erev Shabbat Maariv service depends upon the time that Shabbat begins, but Saturday morning's Shabbat Shachrit service begins at 10:00 am. Contact us if you have special need to arrange a minyan at another time.
Does Korea have any Jewish schools for my children?
Unfortunately, we do not yet have a Jewish school in Korea. IY''H, we will have one in the near future.
Is there a mikvah in Korea?
Although Seoul, is near seas and rivers which can serve the functions of a mikvah, we, unfortunately, do not yet have a man-made mikvah in Korea. Just like with the situation regarding a Jewish school, we sincerely hope to have one in the near future IY''H. The nearest mikvah in Asia is in Beijing, which is a one-hour and fifty-minute flight from Seoul. Other mikvahs in Asia are located in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok.