I had some trouble with my computer, so, I couldn’t blog for a while. I had a lot of plans but now I have to postpone it for a bit because of unexpected events currently happening in my life. Today, I will share a simple post about my shoppings in South Korea and when I have more time I will elaborate more on the items I have bought and of course the many shopping areas. However, I went shopping all around Seoul. It’s a shopping mecca! I went shopping in Hongdae, Edae, Myeondong, Garosugil and Jonggak underground. Underground shopping is amazing, you can find anything but for a cheaper price! I have bought several fashion items that are currently trending when it comes to Korean fashion, several skincare products and miscellaneous items. I regret not buying more skincare products but thankfully Korean cosmetics are easily attainable online. I made several photos of my daily shoppings in my apartment.
As one of the last posted about my trip to South Korea, I thought it would be fun to make a master post (compilation) post of all the foods I ate in Seoul. Looking back I wish I tried out more authentic Korean cuisine. Because of the person that went along, I couldn’t eat most of the food I initially wanted to try. But, I still ate a lot of delicious food.
Korean café food
To start the day I would eat at a café. There are plenty to choose from, they even have Western brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. Most of the menus have English written under each food item, making it easier to order. There was only one instance where everything was only written in Korean. The price range may vary, depending which café you’ll visit. The foods they sell at Korean cafés are bread types, sweet desserts or even a combination of both. There’s often a great variety of drinks to choose from. Next time, I think I’ll be sticking to warm meals throughout the day. The problem is that Korean desserts and even the bread are way too sweet for my liking. I’m not really a fan of sugary food but it didn’t hurt stepping out of my comfort zone.
Chiabatta bread stuffed with mushroom & cranberry tea
Sweet corn bun, mini salad sandwiches & Chai tea latte
Waffles with syrup, whipped cream & jelly
Hello Kitty waffle covered in chocolate sauce, with ice cream, fruit and whipped cream.
Waffle with frozen yogurt and berries
Korean Honey Bread Brick Toast, with whipped cream, peanut butter and bananas, is a well-known Korean dessert. I didn’t have a chance try it because I’ḿ allergic to some of the containing ingredients.
Ichigo Daifuku 大福餅 (strawberry rice cake) originates from Japan and I was a bit surprised to see that they also eat this in Korea. I had this dessert many times before. It contains mochi (rice cake), anko (sweet red bean paste) and one strawberry. This was good but I had better before. The mochi was a little bit too hard and the anko a bit too sweet. But overall, it was still delicious.
Injeolmi Toast is another well-known Korean dessert. It’s quite similar to the honey toast but much smaller in size. It’s a very sweet and sugary white grilled sandwich filled with a soft chewy rice cake, sprinkled with soybean powder, honey and almonds.
Line Cafe Brown & Friends Macarons are sweet treats you can buy at the Line Friends Café in Garuso-gil, Gangnam. You can buy them in a pack or single. They’re chocolate, lemon, vanilla flavoured and come in the shapes of the three Line Friends Brown, Cony and Sally.
If you want to buy snacks in Korea, you don’t have to look far. At every corner, you can find a convenience store. These stores are filled with all kind of necessities from day to day life but you can mostly find drinks and food items, cold and warm. Most of the shopkeepers don’t understand English, so, if you want to ask something it can be difficult. The prices are relatively cheap.
Korean rice ball (onigiri) filled with meat
Convenience store ready to eat Tteokbokki
Bubble Tree soft icecream
Korean convenience store soft chocolate icecream
Samanco Bungeoppang icecream, I have been seeing this icecream on a few sites, so, I had to try it. It’s a waffle in a shape of a fish, filled with regular vanilla icecream and sweet red bean paste.
Binggrea banana, melon & strawberry flavoured milk are also very famous throughout Korea. These are just flavoured milk, nothing less and nothing more. Strawberry is my favourite out of the three.
Korean Street Food
What’s really cool about Seoul is that you don’t really have to go to a restaurant for a satisfying meal. When it’s heading towards supper time, street food vendors emerge from wherever they came from. You have a lot of variety to choose from. You have different meats on a stick, chicken in cups, waffles covered in whipped cream, cups of fruit, vegetables and fresh healthy beverages. The prices are cheap and even some of the vendor owners can speak English very well. I really wanted to try out more street food but unfortunately, I didn’t really have the chance. Hopefully, I can come again to Seoul and try out more food.
Korean Sausage on a stick. These are pork sausages, they remind me of mini hotdogs. Some sausages are stuffed with rice cake inside them. Very spicy and delicious.
Tteokbokki is made out of soft rice cakes, fish cakes and gochujang (a fermeneted Korean condiment). This is a very popular and affordable snack throughout Korea. It has a very savory and spicy taste to it. You have different versions of this dish, such as curry, cheese and chicken Tteobokki.
Cup chicken also known as Korean popcorn chicken. I couldn’t get my bloody camera to focus on the chicken. But it’s just chicken in a cup with spicy sauce over it.
Dakkochi chicken skewers
Authentic Korean restaurant dishes
Ordering food in a Korean restaurant is not that difficult. Like cafés, most restaurants have menus in English and pictures. You can also examine the signs in front of the food places. Mostly if there’s English written on a restaurant sign, it’s a safe place for non-Korean speakers. Although, this isn’t always the case. I walked into a place where I have been turned down but no hard feelings. These are obstacles you have to face when you’re in a foreign country. Prices may very. Smaller hidden restaurants are a tad cheaper but overall the prices are fairly affordable.
Korean fried chicken is my kind of chicken. There have all kind of different flavors and ways to prepare it. You have plenty to choose from. I even saw fried chicken with whipped cream! I took a more simple approach and ordered the natural crispy with onions and garlic. I also ordered spicy fried chicken with potatoes (양념치킨). It was so so good! When I stayed in Seoul I ate about five times Korean fried chicken because it was just too delicious.
Bibimbap is another famous Korean dish. You have many variations but here’s the vegetarian option. It’s basically served with a bowl of warm rice, meat, vegetables, egg and Gochujang. You only have to mix those ingredients together and your dish is ready to eat.
All you can eat Korean BBQ Gogigui. You can eat relatively cheap in Hongdae and there are a lot of restaurants/cafés to choose from. Thinking about all the Bulgogi, Galbi and Samgyeopsal make me drool. What I love about Korean culinary are the many side dishes that goes along with the food (banchan). The Korean side dishes that are served the most are kimchi, guk, gochujang and jjiggae. There’s also a Korean way to eat grilled meat. Korean BBQ always comes with sangchu. You’re meant to wrap the grilled meat like a decorative present. The savory juicy taste of the Galbi goes well with the green leaves.
Korean BBQ Gogigui. This is different from the all you can eat places, where you have a set price and can eat as much as you can. At the regular Gogigui place, you have to pay for each separate serving. So you can choose pork, beef and chicken. The side dishes are included in the price.
Korean Take Out
If you don’t like eating out every day, then take-out is an option to be used. Almost every eating place in Korea has an option to order food and take it home. After a long day of sightseeing, this is really perfect.
I noticed that all American-like food are more expensive compared to Korean food. “Korean” pizza was no exception and relatively expensive compared to all the other food that I ate. If I remember correctly I ordered a bulgogi pizza, with cheese, green and red peppers. The pizza was of course very delicious. Korean pizza is very different compared to the regular pizza I’m used to. With flavors like caramel, whipped cream and chocolate, can you blame me?
Although I already did a lot of walking in South Korea, I really wanted to hike through the mountains. In my country I don’t have mountains or hills. So, I wanted to take this opportunity. I decided to take it easy and decided to hike at mountain Achasan, which is suppose to be a 30-40 minute easy breezy walk. But…ok…first, I got lost. I couldn’t find the damn mountain and walked aimlessly throughout the city. Secondly, when I thought I actually “found” the mountain…it wasn’t that fucking easy as they promised. The tour map promised an easy hike with lots of stairs but instead I was walking on slippery rocks and landed in the “jungle”. I wouldn’t be surprised if an actual beer would pop out and attack us! Later I discovered that I actually took a very difficult route on mountain Yongmansan which eventually connects with mountain Achasan. When I arrived at the top I saw another path with lots of stairs and it became clear that was the “easy Achasan route”.
Although I was dying and trying my best not to fall. It was all worth it in the end. At the top, you have this really beautiful view overlooking Seoul city and Hangang river. The photos don’t do it justice. It’s so much more stunning in real life.
Oh yeah…after succeeding in not falling, on my way down…reaching the ground, I fell out of nowhere.
When I went home I ordered pizza at the Korean Pizza Hut and chocolate oreo boba tea. Very deserving for our hard hiking accomplishment. If I remember correctly I ordered a bulgogi pizza, with cheese, green and red peppers. The pizza was of course was very delicious, I could eat the whole thing just by myself.
STYLENANDA is one of the leading fashion companies in South Korea. In 2005 the brand started out as an online store. Now, it has many offline shops throughout Asia. Stylenanda is by far one of my favourite fashion brands as well as their makeup line 3 Concept Eyes. I adore their unique fashion and makeup looks. So, I couldn’t let the chance slide by without visiting their flagship store in Hongdae. Especially, when Stylenanda’s site showcased their new autumn/winter line.
The flagship store is a huge three storey building. The building was decorated with promo shots of the beautiful Stylenanda model Sora Park. They even have a Stylenanda vending machine and a photobooth. I was very impressed. But once I went inside, I was kind of disappointed. I don’t know if I came at the wrong time but their stock was less than stellar. They hardly had any of the clothes which were promoted on their site and when I asked they said everything was already soldout. Kind of weird because their winter line wasn’t even five days old. Also, the items on their site were still available. What made it even weirder is that this is a flagship store! Why didn’t they have anything in stock? To be honest, it was really anticlimactic. I guess, I will have to stick to online shopping.
Although, I didn’t really find a lot of clothes that I liked. I did manage to purchase some items. Just a simple black sweater, cream colored shoes, a blue cap and a purple two piece outfit. I bought makeup from 3CE at another store but I will blog about that in the near future. I will also make a review about the quality of the clothing and makeup products.
When I was in Hongdae I visited the new Hello Kitty café. When I was younger I used to really adore Hello Kitty. I even had a Hello Kitty mobile phone. Nowadays Hello Kitty isn’t really doing it for me anymore but I still wanted to visit the newly opened café in Hongdae. I know my inner child would be screaming at me if I didn’t.
It’s hard to miss the entrance to the café. I was greeted by the vividly pink gate with a huge ribbon on top. There are steps leading up to the building. The café is a two-storey building and of course decorated in pink. There’s a giftshop located at the left side. Here you can buy all things Hello Kitty. The stock ranges from stuffed animals to stationary. I must say that they put a lot of effort in decorating the place. At every corner there’s Hello Kitty themed art, merchandise and statues. On the second floor there’s even a Hello kitty themed bedroom.
The food and beverages are quite affordable. The price ranges from ₩5,000 to ₩12,000. I ordered a lemon drink and a Hello Kitty waffle covered in chocolate sauce, with icecream, fruit and whipped cream. The drink was way too sweet and made my teeth scream in agony. The Hello Kitty waffle tasted really good but the aroma of the icecream was a tad too heavy for me. Overall, the dessert was leaning more to the okay side, but then again most people who visited came here rather for the décor than the actual food. That’s why, I recommend visiting only if you’re a true Hello Kitty fanatic.
Travelling throughout Seoul is pretty easy. You have three transportation options, by bus, subway or taxi. I mostly travelled by subway. I also recommend getting the T-money card. T-money is a transportation card you can use for any public transportation and taxi fares. This card makes travelling through Seoul so much easier and it also offers travel discounts. You can recharge the card at a T-money vendor or recharging devices inside the subway stations. You can purchase the T-money card at most convenience stores.
Hongdae (Hongik University) is one of the most vibrant regions in Seoul. If you love shopping, urban lifestyle, art, indie music, street performances and a bright nightlife, then this is really the place to be. Hongdae is also known for its variety when it comes to shopping. Reasonable priced street fashion shops, to higher end boutiques and unique accessories. The prices may vary from store to store. Don’t be surprised. A lot of shops have the same item in stock but often with a different pricing. So, it’s better to explore to find the best deal. Also there are plenty of restaurants and cafés. I suggest checking out the newly openend Hello Kitty café.
In the main shopping district I came across a lot of familiar shops. I visited the LINE STORE and ARTBOX. These stores mostly sell stationary, home supplies and miscellaneous items. They really had a lot of cute products, which made it hard for me to choose. Looking back, I’m kind of dumbfounded why I didn’t buy more supplies. I guess, I will never know. Also there are some cosmetics stores, like Etude House, Watsons and The Faceshop. But I highly suggest to shop for makeup and skincare in Myeongdong. I will elaborate why in another blogpost.
There is a bakery called Chocolat Yum. They sell the most adorable bake goods I have ever laid my eyes upon. The store’s interior design is very beautiful and feels so comforting. I wanted to buy everything in the store. I planned to come back another day because I was already carrying a lot of bags and was afraid that the pastries would break. But in the end I never got the chance to revisit. It still haunts me in my sleep!
After a while of exploring we came across a street full of cute boutiques. I never saw so many cute clothes at once in my life. The prices are bit higher in comparison but the quality of the fabric is much better. The STYLENANDA flagship store is also located in this area.
When night time was upon us and it was close to dinner time, we decided to go for Korean BBQ (Gogigui). You can eat relatively cheap in Hongdae and there are a lot of restaurants/cafés to choose from. Thinking about all the Bulgogi, Galbi and Samgyeopsal make me drool. What I love about Korean culinary are the many side dishes that goes along with the food (banchan). The Korean side dishes that are served the most are kimchi, guk, gochujang and jjiggae. There’s also a Korean way to eat grilled meat. Korean BBQ always comes with sangchu. You’re meant to wrap the grilled meat like a decorative present. The savory juicy taste of the Galbi goes well with the green leaves. I mostly just add garlic and spices and wrap it together and just cram it into my mouth. Yeah, I’m not really ladylike while I’m eating. But I just really love Korean BBQ after a nice long day of shopping. It was a successful day. A day I will always keenly remember.
It’s already 2016. It’s kind of fascinating yet terrifying how time flies by. Last year a lot of great things have happened. Good and bad. But either way, I have gained a lot of new experiences. One of those experiences was travelling. When the year 2015 was almost nearing its end, I went on a trip to the Republic of South Korea. To be honest, I didn’t know much about the country. An acquaintance already visited South Korea once. The person suggested that I would love the country as well and that I really should visit someday. And so I did. I’m truly excited to blog about my travel adventure. I will first make mini posts with all the sightseeings, shopping and food. Later on, I will make a master-post with travel advice, tips, experiences and necessities. I have a bad long-term memory but hopefully I can recall a lot of things while looking at the photos.
I still remember the anxiety I felt when boarding the plane for a 13-hour long flight. With all the plane crashes happening I couldn’t help thinking that this may be my last flight. Yes, I’m always dramatic and I always over-analyse things. But this was my very first time travelling on my own. Thankfully, the flight went smoothly and I didn’t run into much trouble. I landed safely at Incheon Airport. I remember vividly the excitment I felt when walking through the airport. I even took a brief moment to look at the scenery. The fact that I was in a country I never visited and far away from home was indeed a new adventure. The airport is relatively large and very clean. Passing time here wouldn’t be a problem. There are lots of shops, lounges and eateries.
I took the train from Incheon Airport Railroad to Seoul Station. The price per ticket is about 8,000 won and the ride takes approximately about 40 minutes. It’s kind of puzzling at first to find ones way and it’s best to just ask personnel for help. Most airport staff can speak English. Also signs are written in latin alphabet and they announce stations in English as well. I will elaborate more about the Korean transportation in my master-post.
When we arrived at Seoul Station we took a taxi to our accommodation which is located near Sookmyung Women’s University in Yongsan-gu. I was told that it’s better to make an agreement in advanced about the taxi-fare. Also you have to pay attention which taxi you take! Some are more expensive than others.
I did forget to take photos of the accommodation. But it was very comfortable and it had all the basic necessities. There was even a television, fridge, stove and a washing machine. In Korea they mostly use digital door locks. You only have to press the code and it plays a tune when the door is opened/locked. It’s truly innovative!
The location of our accommodation was ideal. There were lots of shops, supermarkets, cafés and restaurants. The subway station was also located nearby. The streets were filled with stylish college students. I kept forgetting to take photos of the city. So, you have to take my word for it.
I decided to try out one of the dessert café in the neighbourhood. Most cafés or restaurants have menus in English but unfortunately this one didn’t. Thankfully, there was this lovely employee who could speak English very well and she helped us with ordering. I ordered Ichigo Daifuku, Injeolmi Toast, and a matcha green tea boba drink.
Ichigo Daifuku大福餅 This dessert is called Ichigo Daifuku. It originates from Japan and it’s mostly served with tea. It’s made out of mochi (rice cake), filled with anko (red bean paste) and a strawberry. Mochi is quite chewy so make sure you always have a drink with it. The savoury sweet red bean paste goes awfully well with the strawberry.
Injeolmi Toast (Rice Cake Toast)인절미토스트
I don’t really know how to describe this dessert. Just picture a toast drenched in lots and lots of honey. Well, maybe not that extreme. It’s a very sweet and sugary white grilled sandwich filled with a soft chewy rice cake, sprinkled with soybean powder, honey and almond seeds. Yeah, I’m really not the best when it comes to describing food. But it’s just so sweet and yet so evil. Combined with the Daifuku…I was afraid my teeth would fall out.
As you can see…my diet wasn’t really the healthiest in Korea.