E-Mart, one of Korea’s biggest supermarket chains teamed up with Robinson’s Retail to open their first overseas store here in the Philippines. NO BRAND is E-Mart’s private brand. They’re set to open 25 NO BRAND stores in the country, along with 25 Scentence beauty stores at major shopping malls according to The Korea Herald last Tuesday.
As soon as I read about it on twitter, I thought about scheduling a visit to its pilot store in Robinson’s Galleria. I know you are curious about NO BRAND and it’s the reason why you’re reading my blog right now. Let us begin, shall we?
Here are some of my expectations:
- huge area
- purely Korean retail store
- an aisle or two dedicated for K-beauty products
None of these expectations were met, but the store is brimming with interesting snacks and food ingredients I have never seen before. And later on you will be seeing some of the stuff that caught my attention and those that made it to my haul. My first stop was the snacks section. Snacks range from 60 to 300 pesos, while the nuts can go as high as 800 pesos. I appreciate the minimalist packaging, contents can be easily identified through English text and clear plastic jars.
Although NO BRAND stores should be about Korean goodies, I assume that it’s only about 80 percent Korean. They have Jasponica rice, HOP (House of Polvoron), Japanese Mochi, Japanese Egg Soy Sauce and Taiwanese brand milk tea on top of their Korean offerings.
The Wasabi Square Cookies are made in Chiayi County, Taiwan. When you bite into the cookie, the wasabi taste is really strong but as you chew them the cookie turns sweet. This is addicting if you are into wasabi like me.
I got a small box of Sesame mochi because black sesame is so good!
Here’s a photo of 3:15 PM milk tea. They have 5 sachet boxes and the 15 sachet packets. 5-sachet boxes are at P134 per box.
NO BRAND has their own instant noodles, I got one bag just in case. I saw instant jjangmyeon and placed it in my basket right away. Other noodles available are Jin and Nongshim noodles. Not sure if you can get them cheaper here at NO BRAND though.
They have an aisle dedicated for candies/chocolates too. There were no milk chocolate bars, only dark chocolate ones so I picked the one with yellow and white NO BRAND wrapping for P76.50 each. Already sampled them at home and its your typical dark chocolate. Also on display is the 70 percent dark choco. I believe they’re both made in France.
Some snacks I found interesting but didn’t buy are the following:
They also sell instant rice (microwaveable ones) and meal sauces. I only bought the one for Mapo Tofu though. I might come back for the Jjang Sauce next time.
If you like cooking and baking, Korean food or not, NO BRAND has an aisle or two of ingredients for you. Their line up of flavored seaweed/laver is nice I want to try them all.
This seasoned seaweed reminded me of Jo Ji Ah! She made rice balls like these for Kim Min Kyu in I Am Not A Robot (로봇이 아니야).
Their pasta sauces look pretty decent. I took pictures of them just in case. First photo is for seafood pasta, I think. Slightly priced higher than the other variants at P143.25. Tomato, Cream and Rose Spaghetti sauces are P132.50, 400 grams per pouch.
Came across jams and spreads as well. My basket has no room for them at the moment. For baking enthusiasts, they might be good deals.
Crunchy Peanut Butter 400 grams, P219.50
NO BRAND also have their kind of coffee, tea, juices and other drinks. Forgot to take pictures of the cereals, sorry about that. Some of their drinks are a bit pricey, but they have coffee in big cans and packs. It was a crowded aisle so I was only able to take a few pictures of them.
NO BRAND also offer frozen deli, meats, pizza, dumplings and even cake! I read somewhere that their cheesecake is good. Might try it out on Christmas.
I’m done with all the food, now we’ll move on to NO BRAND’s non-food offerings. I checked on their bath essentials and saw that they have a lot of bubble bath and liquid soap variants, but only one kind of bath soap. Their shampoo bottles are huge too, comes in 1500 ml bottles which in my opinion is “sulit” compared to just 500 ml bottles of branded shampoos. Not sure about their conditioners though, I didn’t see labeled ones. But I saw bottles of hair essence, enlighten me if they’re the same.
Hand creams, facial cleansers, face masks, and other skin care products, they have it! But I noticed there are no make up lines here just yet. But they do have something for your kids and babies on their shelves. Limited at the moment, but who knows, NO BRAND Philippines just might add more in the future.
Their kitchen towels, sanitary napkins, panty liners, tissue and wipes also come in bulk. I bought a pack of 34 Overnight Sanitary Napkins at P341.50. Pretty competitive price, I think. They also have a number of laundry soaps available in powder and bar form. They even have this dedicated laundry soap for underwear that I added to the haul, a gift idea for neat freak people in any occasion.
Looks like NO BRAND also aims to be on the eco-friendly side as well. These two paper products are quite interesting too, if you’ll ask me. I cannot imagine how to reuse these stuff but sounds good. Subject for further research, these two.
There you have it. Might visit again next week when it’s less crowded but I doubt. I’ll try to update this post if I can. I’ll also mention a few things I over heard while inside NO BRAND Philippines:
No Brand but still expensive? Why?
IMHO, it depends on the stuff you want to buy. I don’t want to over analyze on this either, so be the judge based on prices posted above.
How much is this?
Store just opened a few days ago. Some items are tagged, while others are not. I guess it’s an opportunity to be discovered by their staff.
They honor credit cards, yes?
Just like all major supermarkets, yes they do.
Plastic bag or paper bag?
They charge for plastic bags. Paper bags are free but it’ll be nice of you to bring eco bags for your haul.
Is this spicy or not?
Although majority of the items have English text, be mindful that this is still a Korean grocery store. Some of the staff are yet to be trained on this one. This is where your Google Translate comes in.
Disclaimer: Not a paid post.