Sinchon, GANGNAM, and Dongdaemun Shopping

Jocheun achim-ieyo (good morning)! Day 3 of our 7 day trip to Korea! Today was filled with a ton of walking. I wished I brought my pedometer. Would’ve broke numbers on it. Pfft oh well.

Starting our day, we hopped on the green line to Sinchon, where the famous Yonsei University is and where I took a Summer program 5 years back. Upon exiting the station, I caught a glimpse of a huge SNSD advertisement and had to stop for a pic.

Large SNSD advertisement

Large SNSD advertisement

Seriously, when celebrities are famous here, they are EVERYWHERE. Like, each celebrity will take up endorsements from 1 brand of each industry. As in they need to be featured on coffee posters, clothing lines, and of course makeup.

As we got out onto the street, we found the giant red tube mirror thing by the station exit.

Giant mirror in Sinchon

Giant mirror in Sinchon

It’s a perfect tool for what so many Koreans here do regularly–admire themselves or fix their meticulously assembled hair. You will easily catch girls AND guys pausing to look at themselves in a mirror or on their phone. We even saw a girl pull out a large mirror, the ones with a handle.

We continued on through Sinchon which was very nostalgic for me. Some stores I remembered from years back were replaced by the newest trends but luckily some remained. After briefly roaming, we saw a busy cold noodle shop and decided to grab a bite.

Pyongyang Choson in Sinchon

Pyongyang Choson in Sinchon

The cold noodles or Naengmyun is popular in Korea especially on hot days as it’s very cool and refreshing. The noodles are usually buckwheat or arrowroot which make for very chewy noodles that need to be cut up with scissors to eat more easily. Piggy got the bibim naengmyun which is the spicy noodles.

Bibim Naengmyun

Bibim Naengmyun

I opted for the mul naengmyun.

Mul Naengmyun

Mul Naengmyun

Both were delicious and made for a very light lunch.

Pork and his noodles

Pork and his noodles

Piggy and her noodles

Piggy and her noodles

We continued roaming Sinchon a bit more.

Streets of Sinchon

Streets of Sinchon

And even stumbled upon some neat art and funky buildings like this cafe.

Wacky cafe in Sinchon

Wacky cafe in Sinchon

After Sinchon, we hopped on the metro for a long ride to Coex mall in Gangnam. It took about 45 mins. but gave me time to nap. Much needed for all the walking ahead.

Once we got to Coex, we discovered it was mostly under construction!

Coex mall in Gangnam

Coex mall in Gangnam

It was a shame because Coex is reknowned for being the largest and most spectacular mall in Seoul. It even has an aquarium. We still got to enjoy the area though and enjoyed the breeze while walking outside before we headed towards Gangnam Station, closer to the heart of Gangnam.

After exiting Gangnam Station, we were greeted with massive highrise buildings.

Towering buildings in Gangnam

Towering buildings in Gangnam

We could definitely see the plethora of sharply dressed businessmen here and the abundance of coffee shops.

We stopped by Angel-in-us Coffee for a break and some free wifi. Hehe.

Angel-in-us Coffee

Angel-in-us Coffee

Speaking of which, we found that there are random pockets of free wifi around Seoul but generally the coffee shops will have free wifi.

Piggy relaxing from all the walking

Piggy relaxing from all the walking

Our iced americano and red orange tea

Our iced americano and red orange tea

We checked our Facebooks (gotta stay in the loop) and then planned our next stop to Sohhyeon Station which is just about half a mile from Gangnam Station. Heading up to the station, we passed by all of the hip bars and shops of Gangnam.

The hangout areas of Gangnam

The hangout areas of Gangnam

Hopping on the metro, we made a quick trip to Apgujeong, an area still within Gangnam.

Getting low on blood-sugar, we stopped by Paris Baguette, a popular bakery chain also found in the States. Piggy took a few moments then found the pastry she wanted.

“This is the one”, she told me.

Piggy enjoying a chocolate pastry from Paris Baguette

Piggy enjoying a chocolate pastry from Paris Baguette

I took a bite and could see why. It was fluffy, not too sweet, and chocolatey. It was like biting into a creamy pillow of euphoria.

Look at that fluffy chocolate goodness

Look at that fluffy chocolate goodness

So good…

We kept on our trek through the famous Gangnam and made our way to Rodeo Street, the birthplace of none other than the OPP-OPP-OPPAN GANGNAM STYLE! The song rightfully parodies the affluence of Gangnam which we could see from the prevalence of luxury cars.

Just an Audi R8 in Gangnam

Just an Audi R8 in Gangnam

We spotted several Porsches, a Maserati, and a Lamborghini.

Finished with the window shopping (because everything in Gangnam is expensive), we were ready for Dongdaemun.

Walking to Dongdaemun

Walking to Dongdaemun

Dongdaemun is popular amongst tourists and locals for clothing and wholesale goods. It’s a bit like the fashion district in LA where many fabric shops line the sidewalk. But the more popular parts of Dongdaemun are the multiple shopping complexes. Basically, they’re like low end department stores packed with small booths.

We opted to go into Migliore, an 8 floor of shopping mania.

Shopping in Dongdaemun at Migliore

Shopping in Dongdaemun at Migliore

So many clothessss

So many clothessss

Here, you are expected to haggle for a better price. And if you’re not Korean or fluent in it, expect to be ripped off. Which… I’m sure we were. But nevertheless, we managed to get Piggy a few things at a “discount” that she was happy with.

It's packed with clothes

It’s packed with clothes

We were a bit overwhelmed and the clothing started to get repetitive. Although there were still neat things worth buying.

Too much clothes!

Too much clothes!

The Migliore building in Dongdaemun

The Migliore building in Dongdaemun

While in Dongdaemun, we saw PACKS of tourists from Hong Kong, China, and I think the Phillipines.

Tourists and locals in Dongdaemun

Tourists and locals in Dongdaemun

Piggy was glad to be outside after her bit of shopping.

Pleased with shopping

Pleased with shopping

At this point, it was time for dinner and we roamed into the backstreets away from the main roads where all the good food is found.

Backstreets of Dongdaemun

Backstreets of Dongdaemun

And we discovered this poppin’ restaurant.

The awesome chukumi vs. kimchi jiggae restaurant

The awesome chukumi vs. kimchi jiggae restaurant

We saw amazing looking pictures for this place and were able to get seated right away.

Piggy ready to chow down

Piggy ready to chow down

We ordered the first item in the menu which all the other tables seemed to have.

Delectable meal combo

Delectable meal combo

The mussels part of the combo

The mussels part of the combo

This combo came with a SPIIICY octopus and pork belly stir-fry which is cooked at the table. It even came with a pot of mussels and a side of sesame leaves and seaweed.

Close up of the amazing spicy octopus and pork belly

Close up of the amazing spicy octopus and pork belly

This. Was. BOMB! The red sauce packed a lot of heat but this dish was so tasty and different from the typical KBBQ we have back home. This combo cost 13,000 won a person which was totally worth it. They gave plenty of octopus, pork belly, and mussels to more than warrant the price. They also give free refills on seaweed, sesame leaves, and side dishes. It was a solid meal.

I’ll definitely remember it and the spiciness!

Pork feeling the HEAT

Pork feeling the HEAT

Another tip for other foreigners like us, we had to peek over at other tables to figure out how to eat the food. Do as the locals do! Also, a lot of communal places like this serve by the number of people in your party. Just like if you were to get AYCE in America.

With tingly mouths and happy tummies, we wandered Dongdaemun some more and stumbled into DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza). It was a windy, curvy building with sporadic bits of art. We also saw Akdong Musician being projected on a wall!

Akdong Musician!

Akdong Musician!

Outside of the building in the courtyard, we saw an alluring stairway.

Magical stairway to the land of the unicorns and rainbows

Magical stairway to the land of the unicorns and rainbows

This whole structure was incredible. It’s a massive, metallic and round building that’s hard to describe. It felt very futuristic. From the lights, the walls, and pathways, it all felt inspiring.

The marvelous DDP structure

The marvelous DDP structure

Ah, another great day in Seoul. Wish you guys could join us!

– pork

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