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.
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.
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.
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.
I opted for the mul naengmyun.
Both were delicious and made for a very light lunch.
We continued roaming Sinchon a bit more.
And even stumbled upon some neat art and funky buildings like this cafe.
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!
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.
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.
Speaking of which, we found that there are random pockets of free wifi around Seoul but generally the coffee shops will have free wifi.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We were a bit overwhelmed and the clothing started to get repetitive. Although there were still neat things worth buying.
While in Dongdaemun, we saw PACKS of tourists from Hong Kong, China, and I think the Phillipines.
Piggy was glad to be outside after her bit of 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.
And we discovered this poppin’ restaurant.
We saw amazing looking pictures for this place and were able to get seated right away.
We ordered the first item in the menu which all the other tables seemed to have.
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.
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!
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!
Outside of the building in the courtyard, we saw an alluring stairway.
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.
Ah, another great day in Seoul. Wish you guys could join us!