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:
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?As 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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
Handmade, self-brewed coffee. Can’t get any more radical than this.
There’s also a photography studio.
After 20 mins or so, we found ourselves at one of the routes of Bukchon Hanok (northern village traditional houses).
These 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.
A children nursery. How cool it will be to slide down after school?
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:
Our order finally arrived after 15 mins and LOOK AT THE PRESENTATION~And 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.
5cijung cafe: Palpandong 57, Jongno-gu, Samcheongdong
Click here to see the rest of our Korea trip’s experience.