So, my time in Korea is starting to wind down. I really hope you guys have enjoyed seeing where I adventure to and experiencing South Korea's unique cafés along with me! The one I went to this past weekend was very exciting for me because it is the site for the filming of of my all time FAVORITE Korean TV Shows: The First Shop of Coffee Prince. They used this house to film the drama and then turned it into a café and gallery! To get to it, take the subway to Gyeongbokgung station, get out exit 3 and take bus 1020 or 7022 to Buam Dong community center. From there, walk up the hill until you see a brick building housing a café called Espresso Club. Turn left at the building and then keep left at the forked road. You will see tiny signs shaped like little yellow coffee mugs that say "Sanmotoonge." Walk up the mountain about 15 minutes and it's right there!
This café is full of unique sculptures and art installations, and there is a vintage yellow beetle parked right outside! When my friend and I went, there were a lot of extremely well dressed couples as well as men and women in hiking gear taking pictures with it, so I had to wait a little while to pose with it.
The coffee was a little pricey at an average of 8,000KRW but the view of the mountains as well as the unique character of this café make it worth visiting. Not to mention they had all kinds of memorabilia from the show including portraits of the characters, signatures, props, and you could take photos where famous scenes of the drama were filmed (which you know I did.) I got an iced vanilla latte that was very tasty! My friend does not drink coffee so she opted for a hot chocolate. They also had an assortment of cakes which I did not try because at this point in my trip I am on a budget...
On the second floor there is both a lounge and an outside deck. In the lounge there were all sorts o weird statues and a random array of different phones. They had two phones shaped like mouths that, when picked up, would play PSY's Gangnam Style of Crayon Pop's Bar Bar Bar. They had private rooms that parties of 4 could use, and the one in the basement (unfortunately had a sleeping couple in it) had a life-size superman statue, a stack of old TV's, and what I think were brightly coloured winged pig(?) statues affixed to the wall. The basement sort of reminded me of a kid's playroom. There was a shelf full of random hats you could try on as well as a dreamiest and a wooden backyard swing. There were fishtanks, clocks made from soju bottles and kewpie dolls all over the place.
Last weekend I went about 3 hours from Seoul to Daegu to visit my friend who teaches English there! Daegu is about 4 hours south by train from Seoul. I mostly just ate and walked around, but one of the places I went to....was inside a freaking plane. A repurposed...huge...real plane...just chilling on the side of Suseong Lake. If you take the new monorail line in Daegu (a really pretty ride, by the way) and get off at Suseong Mot, you can walk around the lake and find it right next to a rather dangerous looking, sketchy carnival.
Of all the things to turn a plane into, the best thing to turn it not would definitely be an ice cream shop/café, right? Right!
The "ice cream" they have isn't really ice cream. It's more of a version of the Korean bingsu dessert but a little bit more thinly shaved. They call it cotton candy ice and we got chocolate brownie. It was a small mountain complete with a banana-slice border, strawberries, and mochi (Japanese chewy sweet rice cake thing)
The inside was decorated so well. Everything was sleek and almost had a kind of 60's vibe. I think people were laughing at how cool I thought it was, but it was my first time eating in a plane-turned-ice cream shop so what did they expect? The ice dessert was so good and so refreshing, and if I remember it cost less than 10,000KRW. The only thing that would have been cheesy if not cooler is if the staff wore flight attendant outfits buuuut it's okay.
And here's your girl with some fantastically poofy hair thanks to a lack of hair straightener and Korean humidity~
See you guys next time~
It has been so long since I've written anything. I'm so sorry! Prepare for an onslaught of blog entries as I attempt to catch up on showing you all of the places I've gone! One unique place in particular is a chain café called Zoo Coffee. What do you guys think the theme is? Yep, Circus, you guessed it.
My sarcasm aside, this café is entirely covered in animal prints and full of stuffed tigers, monkeys, lions, etc. They have waffles, ice cream, as well as your standard coffee drinks. The staff is also extremely friendly (and attractive if you go to the Hongdae branch ^^). They have wifi, but the bathroom is password protected and threw me off for a good 10 minutes when I was trying to get inside. Can you picture how confused I was? You can find Zoo coffee by taking an immediate left outside of exit 9 of Hongdae Station. It's about a 2 minute walk! I have been there twice now. The first time I went with a friend and ordered a green tea frappé. My friend ordered dark chocolate ice cream and a tea. The second time I went was with about 5 or 6 friends and I ordered a waffle that was delicious but unfortunately not warm. -_- There were chocolate, almonds, syrup, ice cream and whipped cream on top, and it cost maybe 9,000KRW. It was also the size of two of my faces. I didn't take a picture because we were there late at night and it was dark.
This is great because it's summer and the weather is getting grosser and grosser -_- but they have a huge open patio you can sit on and they open all the huge windows so it feels like you're outside even if you're inside.
Again, I'm so sorry for the late post. I have about 10 days left of school and about 40 left in Asia. Time is just flying by! See you next time, which will probably be in about half an hour since I have so much more to write about!
A couple weeks ago I was fortunate to have a truly unique café experience here in Korea. The Thanks Nature Café is located about a block from Hapjeong Station in the basement of a shopping centre. What is it? Why is it so special? This café is home to two fluffy, adorable sheep!
The pen is located right outside the café and is even covered by tons of umbrellas to shelter them when it rains (how cute is that) The sheep are not there in the summer months, as the owner takes them back to his farm so that they can freely roam and carry out sheep activities. The owner himself is there often and is extremely kind. He opens the pen a few times per hour and lets customers feed and pet the sheep. Here's a picture of your favourite coffee shop girl doing just that~
Even if the sheep aren't present, the café is definitely worth going for for just the coffee. I had a dutch late which was delicious but not so photograph worthy..My friend had an Oreo frappé and another had a tea. The tea was the kind of tea that blooms in the water.
We also ordered a strawberry waffle, which cost about 10,000KRW. We finished it in about 2 seconds. Needless to say it was delicious despite its somewhat high price.
Thanks for reading, guys!
Last week I went to a Hanok village with my friend! Hanok are traditional Korean Houses. The Hanok in this village are home to a lot of museums, traditional tea houses, and shops. Most of them are also normal residences.
My friend and I stopped at traditional tea house. You have to take your shoes off outside and you sit on the floor with cushions. We ordered Lotus Flower Tea and it cost about 8,000KRW (~8$) which seems expensive for a cup of tea but taking in the cultural experience factor, this was definitely worth that money and was definitely a memorable experience for me.
There was a beautiful garden in the courtyard of the house.
Yesterday I went to a Rilakkuma themed café near Sungshin Women's University called Capi Capi Loom Loom. Rilakkuma is an adorably cute bear cartoon character. The café was super easy to find, just take the subway to Sungshin, go out exit 1, turn right at the bank and then walk for about 10 blocks, turn left and it's right there! The café itself was small. The walls and shelves were covered in Rilakkuma memorabilia and stuffed animals along with different Rilakkuma merchandise available for sale. There was one guy working there and no other people in the café, which was kind of sad but we went at kind of a weird time in the day.
I ordered a Toffee Nut Latté and a slice of honey bread. Honey bread is like a big piece of toast with honey either inside or drizzled on top, often topped with whipped cream, nuts, or fruit. My friend ordered a sweet potato latte, and my other friend got a strawberry smoothie and a cheese bagel.
I loved this place! The guy working played great music and gave us free ice cream, too!
Two weeks ago, I had an extremely unique café experience.... I went to a Princess Café! This café is located near Ehwa Women's University and is a place where you can pay to try on different kinds of dresses, from wedding dresses to traditional Korean Hanbok. The prices range from about 10,000 to 40,000KRW, and you are allowed to wear the dress for an hour and can take pictures in it. With the dress, you get a free drink, but you must drink it either before or after you wear the dress. You are also not allowed to do makeup or use the bathroom in the dress. A lot of girls will drag reluctant boyfriends there to try on wedding dresses but it is also a really fun place to play dress up with your gal pals. At first I was reluctant to go because the prices seemed a little steep at first, but this is probably one of the most unique experiences I've had. To drink, we each ordered an oreo milkshake which we drank beforehand.
They ask you first if you want to try on a dress or hanbok, and in the spirit of embracing Korean culture we decided to wear hanbok. The hanbok I ended up choosing was actually extremely ornate and colorful, and only ended up costing me 25,000KRW. They give you little paper doll sized cutouts of the dresses to choose from.
The girl working there was so helpful and friendly (even more so when I spoke Korean to her) and she did our hair for us and took pictures. We were the only ones there as it was kind of late in the day.
And now here is your favorite barista all decked out in traditional Korean dress:
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..