Hi guys! I went to a café in Sinchon called Pop Container! It's built either out of, or is made to look like, a railroad storage container and is painted bright orange on the outside. This place is so chill, plays great music and has super comfy bean bags instead of chairs. There are bookshelves and bikes parked inside, and the owner/ or at least the guy working there was so nice and so laid back. One of the things they are famous for is a dessert called Oreo Bingsu. Bingsu is a Korean dessert made out of shaved ice and usually contains red beans. This one was covered in a mountain of oreo flavoured ice cream and was served in a Pyrex measuring cup. It cost about 13,000KRW which is a little above standard Bingsu price, but it was delicious and more than enough for 3 people. I really loved this place and am excited to go back and try their Nutella Pancakes!
It should be noted that a) I went here last week and b) it is no longer Christmas
Hi, guys! Sorry it's been awhile. Last week I went with my friends to the Hello Kitty Café in the neighbourhood near my school! I think in Seoul there are two other locations, one in Myeongdong and the other in Hongdae. I went to the one in Hongdae and it was much much bigger than this one, but it had a similar menu and decor, so I will just write about the one in Sinchon. For those of you that don't know, Hello Kitty is a Japanese cartoon character first drawn (I believe) in 1976. Since then, she and her friends have taken not only Asia but the rest of the world by storm with her unbelievable cuteness. I personally have always loved Hello Kitty, so as you can imagine I was quite happy to go here. The menu is full of cakes, ice creams, waffles, lattes, and milkshakes decorated with her face, but they are actually quite overpriced. I got a strawberry iced latte and the waffle set (which comes with a waffle, 3 scoops of ice cream, and some fruit) for about 13,000KRW. But the waffle set and latte were extremely tasty, and I didn't mind paying a little extra for the experience. My only "critique" is that the service is SO SLOW, and because the employees were making the desserts and drinks, they didn't notice us standing at the counter for awhile. Anyway, the decor is adorable. The desserts are adorable. The drinks are adorable. If you love cute things like I do, definitely go to one of these cafés if you get the chance!
See you guys next time!
Like I said in my post about the dog café, pet/animal cafés are extremely popular in Asia. Feeling stressed about college entrance exams? Pet a bunch of cats. Just had a bad break up? Go snuggle a puppy for awhile. These kinds of places are everywhere and are really quite a fun thing to do with friends! This café was kind of small, but it was built almost like a kids treehouse, with tons of ramps, alcoves, and tunnels that the cats can travel through. When you go on, you take your shoes off and put on indoor shoes. They give you a card explaining the rules. Cat café rules are a lot more strict than dog café rules, because cats are fickle animals and are capable of scratching people (especially small children) quite badly. You had to pay an entrance fee of 8,000 won, and you could pick any drink on the menu. A lot of the drinks were decorated with cat motifs. The marshmallow on my friend's hot chocolate was decorated to look like a cat paw. I don't think there was a time limit, but we stayed a little over an hour. There are cute posters everywhere explaining the cats' names, personalities, and ages. You can buy them treats and there are cat toys lying everywhere. All in all, since I am not much of a cat person, I enjoyed the experience but would not go back a bunch more times (the puppy café, on the other hand....) There were also a lot of couples in there, but Korea is a very couple-oriented country so you will most likely see tons of couples in any remotely adorable place, at any time of the day..
Hi, guys! This entry is actually a really exciting one for me to write because a couple days ago we went to You Are Here Café in Hongdae! This may not mean much to you guys, but this café is owned by two groups, Talk to Me in Korean and Eat Your Kimchi! Eat Your Kimchi are Simon and Martina, a married couple from Canada who have been living in Korea upwards of 5 years. They make videos about Korean life and culture, and they are actually quite funny! Talk to Me in Korean is an online resource where you can access Korean language learning materials for all skill levels. They have videos on common phrases, slang, as well as cultural topics. I use their Iyagi audio files quite often. If anyone is interested in starting to learn Korean, their website is a great place to start! They also have textbooks available for purchase. You can visit Talk to Me in Korean here and Eat Your Kimchi here!
The café itself is tucked behind the Hongdae subway station, and takes about 10 minutes to get there by walking. I suggest GPSing it yourself because the map they provide is quite confusing and we actually got a little lost on the way. The café was quiet, clean, and simply decorated, with Eat Your Kimchi and TTMIK merchandise on display and for sale. They had a really diverse menu, with a full tea list and different milkshake varieties. I chose a nutella milkshake which was ridiculously overpriced but absolutely delicious so I don't regret it one bit. Each of us also got a different slice of cake: a rainbow roll cake, carrot cake, and tiramisu cake.
Another thing happened for me that was actually really, really cool! We were sitting there talking and the guy at the table next to us turns around, and its Hyunwoo Sun from Talk to Me in Korean! I had a little bit of a starstruck moment because a)he's really handsome and b)I watch him on youtube all the time so seeing in him person was so crazy! He was so nice and let us take pictures with him...I really hate how I look I was having a Let's-look-like-a-potato kind of day...but he was also doing an interview for Korea Times and the interviewer interviewed us, too! Hopefully we show up in the article!
A few days ago I went with my friends to a café called Ann House, located maybe 10 minutes from my school by walking. The place itself was so white, pink, cutesy and girly. Needless to say, I loved it. Here, the have private rooms, some with fancy chairs and tables and others where you can sit down on cushions on the floor and watch TV. For our room, you had to take your shoes off outside but there was a TV screen in the wall where you could watch Korean Television. We watched (of course) one of the K-pop daily music programs...I believe it was MNet M! Countdown...anyway, moving on. On the menu they had different latte and tea flavors, ice cream and cakes. The cakes were relatively inexpensive but the lattes and teas ranged from about 7 to 8,000KRW. I ordered a sweet potato latte and a tiramisu cake. The cake was super spongy and fluffy, but a lot of desserts here are like that. The latte itself had no espresso in it! Just milk and sweet potato flavour. It was actually quite delicious and good to warm up with. I enjoyed this place because you could have your own private room and watch TV and if you order a good amount, they will leave you alone for a long time. It's a good place to study and hang out with a group of friends. We also ordered Honey Butter Chips, which is kind of like a huge food craze in Korea right now. The bags are extremely hard t find in stores, so this café was taking advantage a little bit and selling a plate of them for 3,000KRW. But they put the honey flavor on themselves so they were really warm when we got them. When we left, they gave us a discount coupon for 4,000KRW. We actually went back again last night and I think the servers are starting to get to know us because they marveled at how good our Korean was (which I humbly denied, of course.) They gave us another coupon so we will definitely go back again. Okay, since I said so much in the beginning, prepare for an onslaught of photos to end this blog post...
Last week, I was able to meet up with a really close friend of mine who is from Seoul. Her name is Ju Hyun and I met her in Vermont about two years ago. I give a lot of credit to her for sparking my interest in Korean language and culture. While she was in Vermont, we would watch Korean movies, listen to Korean music, and eat Korean food together. She was the one who first attempted to teach me Hangul, the Korean alphabet. She is actually the same person who took me to Café Bau House in the previous entry. We walked around Hongik University, which is known as Hongdae, in Korean. Hongdae is an area full of bars, clubs, restaurants, art galleries, and coffee shops. This area is full of young, trendy students so the area itself is really unique. I walked past one extremely famous coffee shop called The First Shop of Coffee Prince, which is from a famous Korean drama of the same name. It's actually one of my favorites, and the lead actor is so handsome! I didn't stop there, though, because I heard that the coffee itself is expensive.
After the Dog Café, my friend and I went to a café called Café the Bridge. In addition to normal kind of tables, there was an area where you could take your shoes off and climb up some really steep, cramped stairs, to little tiny closed off attics. These attics are called darak-bang and they were filled with blankets and pillows. My friend and I ordered a chocolate cheesecake to share. I ordered a vanilla latte and she ordered a pumpkin one. The drinks themselves were about 7 or 8,000, while the cake was only 5,000. Hongdae's rent is extremely high, and that is reflected in their food prices. The late itself was delicious and beautifully prepared. The barista actually went to Boston for 4 years and was really excited to tell me all about it. This café, though expensive, was extremely cozy and cutely decorated. I definitely want to go back!
Hope you guys aren't missing me too much!!
Hey, you guys! Sorry it's been awhile since I've posted, but I've been out exploring Seoul so much! I went to a type of café the other day that we really don't have in America (except maybe in California or NYC...)
Are you ready to see where I went?
......Are you sure?
...................jja-jjang!! *waves hands excitedly*
This is exactly what it looks like: a dog café! In Korea and a lot of other Asian countries, there are cafés where if you buy a drink, you can pet and play with different animals. There are cat cafés and a sheep café that is also in Hongdae, the same neighbourhood as this one, that I am dying to go to. This café is called Café Bau House. The lattes themselves cost 7-8 dollars, but there is no time limit on how long you can stay and play with the dogs. You can buy them treats, they can climb up into your lap, and you're allowed to carry them around the café. There are dogs ranging from all types, breeds, and sizes. I had so much fun here and it helped numb the pain of missing my own little puppy. I can't wait to go to more places like this, so please stay tuned for more experiences like this! The only negative aspect was that the doggies go to the bathroom on the floor, but the staff are very attentive and clean everything up right away. I bought a bag of treats for the dogs which caused them to become a little aggressive, which can also be a problem if you have small children. All in all, this was a unique coffee experience unlike any other that I've had. Have some more doggy photos~
I hope you enjoyed this extreme dose of cuteness!! See you all soon!