Kathy and I spent a day walking around Hongdae, a neighborhood known for its vibrant culture. It’s one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Seoul, filled with eccentric food stalls and clothing shops, the streets packed with students, neon signs, Karaoke bars and fried chicken restaurants as far as the eye can see.
Lunch at a traditional bokkeumbap spot.
CHILSENG CIDER. Seriously, where in London can I find this? I’ve been craving it ever since I left Korea. It’s a less sweet, extra carbonated version of Sprite. It’s delicious and I want it now.
Bokkeumbap: Soft rice cakes, kimchi, spring onions, and other veggies, stir friend with white rice and placed on top of a large pile of cheese.
I need to be transported back to this moment. The most perfect cheesy goodness.
Stores literally on top of other stores.
No other country has a sock game as strong as Korea’s.
Hotteok: a sweet pancake that’s fried and filled with a syrupy chestnut mixture and topped with crushed mixed nuts. I think Kathy and I had at least one of these a day.
Sweet corn bread baked with an egg.
Everything in Seoul is almost cartoonishly cute– case and point: these popsicles.
So many tiny shops and stalls pack the narrow side streets.
The street food here is something out of my wildest dreams. Just look at this waffle cone filled with fries and sausage.
A giant waffle on a stick topped with fresh whipped cream.
Pizza waffles?! Why the hell hasn’t this food found its way to the USA?
The first of three animal themed cafes that Kathy and I visited over my trip in SK. This is the Thanks Nature Cafe. It features two sheep that literally just chill outside the cafe. There are benches for you to sit where the sheep can come up to you while you enjoy a latte.
More street food: caramelized sugar molded into disks and other easy to eat shapes, usually made by an 80 year old woman over a tiny burner on the sidewalk.
A very nondescript commercial area that held mainly business buildings and also the BEST cafe in all of Seoul…
Puppy cafe!!!!!! Literally dozens of dogs all ages, breeds, and sizes just running around a large cafe.
This chick had 3 chihuahuas sleeping on her lap.
Kathy making some friends.
My new buddy.
So sleepy from a day of attention.
Look at that derpy face.
The tiniest Pomeranian. He probably weighed like 2 pounds. It took all of my self control to not just stick him in my purse and bring him to London.
It was a long and exciting day for all of us.
Here is the first of many South Korea posts. I spent 3 weeks in Seoul and South Korea with Kathy, from On the Prowl, who also happens to have an apartment in the heart of Seoul, in the neighborhood of Yeongdeungpo. It’s the financial center of Seoul, and home to the headquarters of many large Korean companies, such as LG and Lotte. After 20+ hours of traveling, with my entire life in two bags, it was so nice to be on the ground and with a familiar face.
My welcoming party!
The late night street food here is on POINT. Look at that selection… kebabs, fishfakes, corn dogs, soup, you name it, it’s here.
My welcoming meal: kimchi (a staple), tteokbokki (rice cakes in a sweet chili sauce), sweet pizza bread, jolly pong (a caramel puffed rice snack), and prawn chips.
Kathy’s apartment also happened to be next to the Times Square Mall (how fitting), that has the largest 35mm screen in the WORLD, where of course we saw a film (Kingsman, really exciting movie) and ate a ton of caramel popcorn (a Korean favorite).
Korea takes its malls prettyyyy seriously. Malls are as ubiquitous here as Starbucks are in NYC. You can find a mall every few miles, each one seemingly always packed. There are even malls that open only at night, for the hardcore shoppers (but that’s for another post.)
The makings of a delicious Korean breakfast sandwich from the food court in Times Square.
Look at this BEAUTY: egg, cheese, spring onions, bacon, on a fish cake bun, with sweet teriyaki sauce, kewpie mayo, and topped with bonito flakes. Yuuuuuuup.
Another type of mall, really known only to asia, is the underground shopping center. These elaborate mazes of stalls and shops can be found at nearly every major metro stop. They specialize in cheap/fast fashion, beauty products, cell phones, bakeries, pets, whatever you want, they have it.
The Yeongdeungpo metro station.
Yeah the Korean underground system is confusing as anything, but compared to the NYC subway system, it was a cakewalk.
Kathy in a sea of men.
Another mall, the Coex.
Yeongdeungpo central, and one of the many entrances to the Yeongdeungpo Market.
As opposed to the busy wide major roads of Seoul, the small side streets are packed with businesses toppled on top of each other.
Inside the Yeongdeungpo Market.
Fresh baked Korean treats and goodies, all for under $1!
Next up… Hongdae!