Travel

Just the 2 of us- Day 5 (Tosokchon, Bukchon Hanok, Samcheongdong) Part 1

Seoul is literally a cafe haven.

Before I illustrate further, let me tell you where to get the most refreshing Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) in Seoul:

Tosokchon.

tosokchonI’m not kidding, every single Singaporean I know who’s visited Korea would probably have graced this place for their ginseng shots.

It’s a short 5 mins walk from the nearest subway station, which is Gyeongbokgong station. Alot of people included the Gyeongbokgong palace in their itinerary since it’s just nearby. But we were planning for another palace tour, so we got there earlier around 11 am and escaped the crowd.

Here’s the view when we entered. Really rustic eh?tosokchon3As with all popular tourists destinations, the attendants here are all versed in Mandarin/Japanese and at least a little bit of English. We were seated in no time at all and got to choose from these 3 options.

tosokchon1There’s nothing else. No bulgogi, no pancakes, no fancy side dishes.

They literally only sell Ginseng chicken soup.

But the thing in Seoul is, you will realize alot of famous restaurants only specialize in that few dishes, and they excel in it.

We chose the cheapest option.

tosokchon2The two tiny cups you see in the picture? That’s the potent stuff.

It’s actually ginseng, served with a tall glass of tea. So you can either be gungho- down the ginseng cold before neutralizing the taste with the tea, or be a wimp and pour the ginseng into the tea to dilute the taste but suffer longer  ‘cos yew, a full 180 ml of tangy ginseng/bitter tea stuff, why would you wanna do that to yourself?

So of course, I chose the former. I had to take the shot in like 3 instalments ‘cos it tasted like alcohol (and I dislike alcohol), it’s sweet and sharp with a bitter aftertaste and burned my throat. But hey, it’s supposed to be good for your health and vitality yada yada~ And the chicken tasted tender and great.

Look at this beauty:

tosokchon4There’s some rice inside the chicken already but we ordered another bowl of plain rice ‘cos there’s 2 of us.

Tosokchon: 5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

 

After the very invigorating meal, we headed to Changdeokgung palace but voila!

It’s closed on Mondays.

Another very good reminder to always always do your research properly especially if you’re on self-guided tours.

changdeokgongBut well, we’ll just move on to the next destination: Bukchon Hanok.

It’s supposed to be near Changdeokgung on the map so we just walked. But I realized alot of locals don’t really understand when we say we wanna go Bukchon Hanok. So we basically just bumped around and I can’t say I’m unhappy about it ‘cos look at all these views along the way:

bukchonhanok1

bukchonhanok2I’m just gonna lead you very quickly through what we saw ‘cos there’s just so much to see…

bukchonhanok3

bukchonhanok4It’s like a mini Japan…

bukchonhanok12The color schemes are my favourite.

bukchonhanok5bukchonhanok6This is some book nook but it’s not opened on Mondays either.

bukchonhanok7Even the walls have character.

bukchonhanok8This shop is really cool, like there’s handmade stuff you can buy and soft serve ice-cream…

bukchonhanok9

bukchonhanok10Best part of it all?

Handmade, self-brewed coffee. Can’t get any more radical than this.

bukchonhanok11

There’s also a photography studio.

bukchonhanok13After 20 mins or so, we found ourselves at one of the routes of Bukchon Hanok (northern village traditional houses).

bukchonhanok14The typical signs you will see around the folk village:

bukchonhanok15These are actually traditional houses dated back to the Josean dynasty. Many are converted to restaurants or guesthouses now but there’s still a large number of regular residents living in them so do be quiet when you visit.

However, when we got to the busiest part of the street, there’s still the annoying shrills of inconsiderate tourists (check: Mainland Chinese). Sigh.

bukchonhanok17

bukchonhanoka

A children nursery. How cool it will be to slide down after school?

bukchonhanok16The place was pretty crowded so we slipped into the exit shortly after. bukchonhanok18And we saw ourselves in Samcheong dong.

It’s somewhat like the Ann Siang Hill? of Singapore, just on a bigger scale.

Let me introduce you to my favourite cafe thus far in my Seoul trip:

Cafe 5cijung

cafe5cijung13The entrance to the cafe is so whimsical.

cafe5cijung14The moment you stepped inside, there’s a room to the left where they sell zakka items.cafe5cijungI’m not joking when I say EVERY CORNER is a photography chance!

cafe5cijungaYou can see the kitchen from the room.

cafe5cijung7

cafe5cijung6The hallway.cafe5cijung4

cafe5cijung17Seats available inside…

cafe5cijung5

cafe5cijung2I couldn’t stop snapping.

cafe5cijung1This is where we sat in the end.cafe5cijung8Glance at the menu:

cafe5cijung11We ordered the ice citron drink with free scone set.cafe5cijung12Whilst waiting, I went around snapping some more…

cafe5cijung15

cafe5cijung16Even the washroom is so kawaii homygosh~

cafe5cijung3Our order finally arrived after 15 mins and LOOK AT THE PRESENTATION~cafe5cijung9And the scone tasted so fresh and nice and buttery and let me tell you I’m a baking lover and THIS. THIS IS REALLY REALLY GOOD.  The butter marries the taste so well and the ice citron tea is refreshing in the warm summer heat.

There’s free flow ice water to boot and I know you will appreciate this: FREE WIFI.

What’s not to like?

You HAVE to give this place a go next time you’re in Samcheong-dong. There’s numerous other cafes as well in this area and shops with local designers stuff. Slightly upmarket but prices comparable to Singapore’s.cafe5cijung10

 5cijung cafe: Palpandong 57, Jongno-gu, Samcheongdong 

 

 

Click here to see the rest of our Korea trip’s experience.

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