protein in south korea
The difference between buying protein from a Western country such as the U.S. and buying protein in South Korea is the quality and cost.

Will you be living in South Korea, or will you be there for an extended period of time? Do you want to get protein in South Korea at an affordable price? Let’s review the availability, quality, and cost of common protein supplements. I’ll also show you the best way to buy protein in South Korea without a hefty price tag.

Which Types of Protein Can You Find in South Korea?

South Korea carries most popular types of protein including whey concentrate, whey isolate, and casein. You can choose from Korean-made brands or popular Western brands. The difference between buying protein from a Western country such as the U.S. and buying protein in South Korea is the quality and cost.

Quality of Protein in South Korea

Korean brands don’t offer the same quality as Western brands. Due to most of the population in South Korea being lactose intolerant, Korean protein brands are often soy-based or a combination of whey and soy.

When whey or milk-based protein is used, it is usually shipped from the U.S. or Australia. The time spent in shipping, especially during the hottest months of the year, along with the use of processed soy protein results in an inferior protein product.

If you’re living in one of the larger cities, such as Seoul or Busan, you will be able to find several popular Western brands; however, take a close look at the label. It is common for the supplement formula to be changed in order to meet the manufacturing laws and overall preferences in South Korea. For example, I found a few popular brands from the U.S. where whey protein was removed or decreased in favor of soy protein.

Cost of Protein in South Korea

Due to shipping costs, Korean and Western brands of protein can be notoriously expensive when you purchase them directly from a store. I visited GNC stores in Seoul, Busan, and Ulsan; all three stores carried U.S.-based whey concentrate and whey isolate. What was the price tag? Less than a month of whey concentrate sold for $100 while whey isolate was priced at over $120 for only 30 servings.

The Cheapest Way to Buy Protein in South Korea

Buying protein supplements online ensures the highest quality, lowest cost, and greatest ease of getting what you need. There are three reliable and cost-effective websites that I used while living in South Korea: iHerb, Monster Mass, and Amazon.

Naturally, as an expat living abroad or as an extended-stay traveler, you may have some worries about receiving supplements in South Korea. Let me assure you that the Korean mailing system is above and beyond. It’s extremely fast and very reliable. If you order something from within Korea, you can expect the item the same day. When ordering outside of South Korea, items arrive in less than a week.

Putting your home address is completely safe, but if you are an expat working in a school or office setting, I’d recommend having things shipped there. Schools and office buildings are easier to find, and all packages must be signed in by reception. This adds an extra level of security, eliminates any potential confusion for the postal carrier, and gets packages to you faster.

My Experience Buying Protein Online

Most of my orders were placed with iHerb because they often offered special deals, allowing me to stock up on protein as well as other muscle-building supplements. More often than not, I was paying less than I would back home in the United States and shipping was always free.

Want to get 10% off of your first order of supplements along with free shipping? Check out for some of the best deals on protein and other supplements.

I ordered my supplements on Friday night or Saturday morning, South Korean time. This ensured I received my supplements by Wednesday of the following week (sometimes I received them on Tuesday).

My supplement order arrived in great condition, which is more than I can say for some deliveries back home. The supplements were always sealed properly, well ahead of the expiration date, and well-padded with plastic bubble wrap.

Overall, the process was incredibly easy, and once you make your first order successfully, reordering is a breeze.

Have More Questions About Protein in South Korea?

Need help with making your first order on iHerb? Need recommendations for specific types of protein? Let me know in the comments below.

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