SEOUL DIARIES 040: KOREAN SULBING 설빙

SULBING gets a new location in downtown Hongdae! 설빙, loosely translated into 雪冰, is the Korean traditional shaved ice dessert. What this cafe does better than most – instead of plain tasteless ice, the dessert is prepared with creamy, frozen milk flakes. Coupled with some piping hot coffee, what the menu offers is basically perfect for tea break in warmer seasons.

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The milk-and-red-bean shaved ice comes with almond and nuts shavings, sweet injeolmi (soft mochi cubes), red bean paste and loads of milk! It has become a strange routine of mine to have shaved ice for breakfast, since the weather in Seoul hasn’t yet begun to turn cold. Nothing beats a cold bowl of happiness to start the day!

At Sulbing you will be able to get the traditional injeolmi bingsoo as well as unconventional creations such as sweet potato, caramel coffee, blueberry red bean, blueberry and cheese, and mango cheese bingsoo. Cafes in Korea always make me feel spoilt for choices.

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The store is a 3minutes walk from Hapjeong Station (Subway Line 2 and Seoul Subway Line 6), across the road from Hongik Children’s Park. Totally convenient and easy to locate. Go forth and conquer!IMG_3517.JPG

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KOREAN SULBING 설빙

 

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 039: CAFE LEEMAN’S COLLECTION KITCHEN 리맨즈홍대점

An afternoon at Cafe Leeman’s Collection Kitchen in the Hongik University vicinity. Hongdae is by far my favourite spot for chilling whenever I’m needing space and anonymity without being physically solitary. In this part of town you could be surrounded by throngs of milling university students and still feel comfortably ignored. You know what I mean?

Anyhoo, Cafe Leeman’s is on Hongdae’s main busiest street. The cafe’s chirpy yellow-on-blue signage is both a touch of class and a breathe of fresh air from the overpopulation of low-budget, hipster-wannabes. I wasn’t hungry as yet, hence all I had was an earl grey milk iced-tea. Slow to serve as they had hit their peak 5pm rush-hour, I waited a full 15 minutes for my tea. Meantime I managed to get a few snapshots in. Thankfully, the artsy-fartsy people of Hongdae were just the right people for an over-enthusiastic Asian snap-a-holic (with a huge red camera) to blend in with. Am loving Leeman’s laid-back interior, it still manages to keep the Leeman’s brand a cut above mainstream indie coffeehouses. If you’re looking for good food, clean tables and a good cuppa, this is the place to be.

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Cafe Leeman’s Collection Kitchen 리맨즈홍대점

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 034: BEANS & WAFFLE

“Waffles are just awesome bread.”
— John Green

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Loading up on carbs before a full day of Seoul-tripping. Breakfast was palm-sized Sweet Maple Waffles 스위트 메이플 와플 at Beans and Waffle, downtown Gangnam.

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Surrounded by imposing office towers, a food alley plus a couple of pubs, the cafe has fed plenty of OLs, pub-crawlers and hungry interns. One of the only two Beans & Waffle stores in Seoul, its small, dark interior could easily have you fooled. An extensive waffle menu aside, there’s no lack of flavoured coffees, teas and blended juices. They even have a decent selection of bingsoo!
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Next time I’ll make it a point to try their green tea and tiramisu waffles.
Bon appetit~

빈스앤와플 강남역점
1329-9 Seocho-dong (181 Saimdang-ro)
Seocho-gu, Seoul

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 031: CARRIED AWAY

Oh you know how it is. Once started, shopping can get absolutely frenzied. Just a day in Apgujeong and my summer luggage threatened to explode at its seams. Fall is my favourite season for shopping anywhere in the world. It’s neither too hot for brisk-walking in the streets nor too cold for chilling with a sugar-filled cup of gelato goodness. Seoul’s summer and fall fashions are just perfect for my own country’s year-round tropical climate.

There exists an underground bags and leather goods store in uptown Garosugil, the likes of which you may find similar to Taiwan’s Ximending and Japan’s Shibuya. No signs for the store has been put up, and the only clue of its existence are the low white racks lined with select samples of bags, purses and clutches. Along the main street, an unimpressive patch of synthetic grass paves the way to the shop’s main tiny main entrance, which leads to a stairway to an impressive storage basement – the shop’s main deck. If you’re into vintage non-designer, this is the place for you. Happy hunting!
Side note for the bag aficionados: Simone Handbag Museum in the 10-storey Bagstage building (also in Apgujeong) is a place you absolutely have to go!

20140713-020835-7715982.jpg❤ Beaded leather lippie clutch / sling bag from that store in Garosugil at a jaw-dropping low price. Ask me if you wanna know!

 

This time round, I did less shopping than my previous solo-venture to Seoul.
Banila Co. is a brand I’ve only recently come to love and appreciate! Targeted at ladies in their mid to late twenties (which I’m fast approaching), I find their products more OL-oriented. Definitely less cutesy or annoyingly bubbly like Etude House or Tony Moly. They come in more sophisticated packaging with less exotic names, and since I’ve heard only good things about their products I decided to give these a try.

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Missha has got a magnificent range of nail polishes! Got these lovely bright pink and fuchsia colours to match my lippies from Banila Co. and Too Cool for School. Both of which are tiny and so easy to carry around for touch-ups. Banila Co. lippies are way longer-lasting though, and this is coming from someone who at times has to wear makeup for more than 18 hours straight.20140713-020840-7720023.jpg

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A really handy retractable travel-sized brush from Banila Co.! Love it.20140713-020835-7715231.jpg

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This trip, I didn’t get any of of my usual cheap round lenses. Instead, I opted for something more hygienic and safe. Definitely pricier than my norm but since my eyes were recently hit by conjunctivitis, I’ve gone over to the safe side.20140713-020832-7712898.jpg

Time to start loving my eyes. And to hopefully reduce those stubborn bruises on my eyebags.20140714-003445-2085358.jpg

Gel nail polishes at a steal! The LED light machines from MODI are comparable to the ones I got from the states.20140714-003447-2087821.jpg

Some light scent for travelling around. These actually smell pretty good and stays for a long long time.20140714-003446-2086208.jpg

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More of my beauty loot from various cosmetic giants. Face masks – I’ll never give them a miss.20140714-003448-2088691.jpg

 

Seeing as I’m returning to Seoul in August (for other reasons), there’s never an end to my Korean beauty/cosmetics/makeup loot. I gave up on The Face Shop – their products are such placebos with zero positive effects whatsoever. Trust me guys, not all the fancy cosmetics stores in Korea have excellent products as advertised. It’s a trial and error thing, you’ll know once you’ve tried.

 

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 027: WELCOME TO MY PIGEONHOLE

Located at a secluded corner in Gangnam district, Morning Guesthouse is virtually invisible to the foreign tourist. It took me a good hour and a half to track down Jaeyeong Building on foot from Gangnam Station in the sweltering summer heat. They have got quite a number of rooms in pigeon-hole sizes, each equipped with a private toilet, study desks, refrigerator, bed and closet. Like the Japanese, Koreans are extremely efficient allocators of space – they really don’t waste any. In any case, welcome to my humble abode!

I love Korean guesthouses for their budget-friendliness, privacy, and availability of on-site assistance , as should tenants require any help the guesthouse owners will always be nearby. Morning Guesthouse is located on the 2nd floor of Jaeyeong Building. On the outside, the stairwell is narrow and very simply decorated. 20140701-151329-54809492.jpg20140701-151328-54808620.jpg
Honestly I hadn’t expected such a tiny space. It’s literally the size of my bathroom at home. I couldn’t get a full picture of the room’s interiors because it’s just too small for me to stand anywhere else!! Strange enough, I haven’t got a trashbin anywhere in sight. And the toilet doors are cranky. Oh well. For a couple of days, I guess this is fine.
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Meanwhile it’s time for my extremely tired body to crash and recuperate. Ciao~

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Cafe Comma | 카페꼼마

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For book-lovers like myself, this is somewhere akin to heaven! With a two-floor occupancy, this cafe boasts more than 3,000 books stacked from floor to ceiling, with a ladder allowing visitors to peruse the books on higher shelves.

Run by Munhakdongne publishing group, Book Cafe Comma is known in Seoul for its investments in talented young writers. Most books in-store are sold at half-price. Some of them are not even available anywhere else!

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What you see on sale are not restricted to those published by Munhak. A couple of popular English fiction (Fifty Shades trilogy – what’s new) were spotted in its midst. Books aside, I also loved the gorgeous interior and comfortably dimmed lighting.

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At 7pm in the evening on a weekday, the place seemed deserted. On the upper deck however, loads of serious faces were mentally attacking their textbooks with wrath.

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What they had on offer was pretty limited but trust me, the tiramisu was one of the best I’ve ever had! The square slice looked home-made as it was cut from a panned box, fresh from the refrigerator. Heavy on rum and espresso, the cake was not too sweet and very moist (I hate dry / flaky tiramisu).

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I loved the ambience on the upper deck – it’s so conducive I wish I’d brought my laptop with me. The level of silence is adequate for sounding out your own thoughts, yet not mind-numbingly eerie.

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I cannot emphasis how much I loved this tiramisu enough!! 20140401-125306.jpg

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In close proximity to Seoul’s top art university, Hongdae is home to a myriad of quirky hipster cafes. Cafe Comma is definitely up there on my list of favourites and cafes to re-visit when I go again in summer!

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There’s also a separate reason why I love Cafe Comma i.e. tall and good-looking artsy-fartsy guy with laptop and books spotted. Teehee ^^
홍대 북카페 ‘콤마’에서 잘 생긴 남자를 봤어. 키가 크고 좋은 피부를 가지고, 그는 책을 읽고 있었다. 완전 내 스타일 ^^ ㅋ ㅋ 난 돌아올거야!

마포구 동교동 155-27 1층 (2호점), Seoul
+82 2-323-8555

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Cafe Miz Moren | 카페 미즈모렌

When I take my coffee black with no sugar, I know I’m tasting the results of seriously good cocoa beans.  If like me, you loathe the acidic aftertaste that only milk or brown sugar can eliminate, and you would much rather down a dozen cups of cappuccino or caffe latte over multiple espresso shots, you’d be glad to know that gourmet black coffee can actually be sweet and very delectable!

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At Cafe Miz Moren, there are no espresso machines. Every cup is vacuum-brewed using the siphon brewing method. These coffee makers are really cool-looking hour-glass shaped tubes with a bottom container where water is heated, a top container that has a siphon tube attached to it where the coffee brewing takes place, and a filter made of glass, paper, metal, or cloth. Unlike hand-dripped coffee, upon heating, siphon-brewed coffee is vacuumed into the top container, thus somewhat ‘defying gravity’ in the process!

My Ethiopia Yirgacheffe G2 with distinct aromatic floral tones in the aroma, and light, flowery non-acidic aftertaste. This went down so smoothly without any tinge of roasted rough bitterness.
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In addition I love how the cafe offers a selection of interesting blends, highlighted in their menu along with acidity levels and iconic tastes. The Guatemala Antigua SHB is “smoky & spicy with unique acidity”, whilst the Tanzania Peaberry is described as having “deep richness – a bright pleasant flavor with mild acidity”. There’s nothing interesting about its interior as siphon brewing is the cafe’s main draw, along with its amazing blends. Loads of Korean cafe blogs also recommend their in-house Miz Moren Blend!

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Food on their menu, totally overlooked in my quest to try all their coffees! But I failed, because it was evening time and that cuppa kept me awake for half the night. #totallyworthit20140401-123325.jpg

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Their famous siphon-brewing coffee makers on display, with the siphon brew masters at work. This is not a cafe, it’s a laboratory.20140401-123342.jpg

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Honestly, I will never take Starbucks Americano ever again.

411-121 Seogyo-Dong, Mapo-Gu, Seoul
마포구 서교동 411-121
전화: 02-325-5202
11:00AM – 01:00AM
Free WiFi

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Miss Lee Cafe | 별다방 미스리

My first shake-em-up Korean lunchbox meal, also known as dosirak 도시락! At Star Cafe Miss Lee (별다방 미스리):20140326-224120.jpg

I didn’t exactly shake it, because the lady who served my lunch told me I didn’t have to unless I wanted the egg yolk to explode, and I dislike my rice soaked in yolk. But damn, this was sooooo good.
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Miss Lee Cafe is where Seohyun and Yonghwa met on Season 2 of We Got Married (우리 결혼했어요). For many Koreans, dosirak brings them back to the 70′s and 80′s when parents prepared little metal containers of rice, kimchi, luncheon meat, kelp and other goodies!
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It’s located right above GS25, which you will see not long after stepping out of Anguk Station Exit 6.
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I love the way they paved the stairway leading up to their diner. Everything is so vibrant and cutesy, it left me starry-eyed. I knew I was definitely in the right place.20140326-224246.jpg

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Just as I’d pictured, the place was messy and picturesquely homely. Tables and chairs here are downsized too! Somehow being here gives you a sense of privacy, with all the overhanging messages and ceiling decorations, you can’t see the people on the other side of the restaurant.

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The diner is also spammed / decorated with messages to and from Korean celebrities.

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It was exactly 11am when I reached Miss Lee Cafe, and they had just opened their doors to their first customers – a couple on a date, and I the solo venturer.20140326-224524.jpg

And so I ordered their iconic dosirak and a cup of rosemary tea. 20140326-224535.jpg

My lunchbox arrived with Korean dessert-snacks and seaweed soup!20140326-224545.jpg

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I loved the lunchbox set! I guess kimchi makes rice taste so good, and top it off with eggs and seaweed…you’ve got yourself a winner. Plus the novelty off Miss Lee Cafe has been upped after its popularity shot through the roof with YongSeo couple on We Got Married. There’s no need to emphasize how this is a must-go for Seoul-enthusiasts!20140326-224612.jpg

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Even their menu is so pretty ^^20140326-224629.jpg

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Just look out for this sign when you exit Anguk Station and reach the head of Insadong!20140326-224648.jpg

Miss Lee Cafe 별다방미스리 인사동점
144 Gwanhun-dong
Jongno-gu, Seoul
South Korea
Daily 11:00 am – 11:00 pm

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 008: CAFES IN ITAEWON

Along the glorious and vibrant district of art museums and galleries are laid-back cafes offering all-day breakfasts and a myriad of flavoured coffees. In close association to the indie Hannamdong Cafe Street, coffee culture in Itaewon is self-directed and expat-friendly. Expect top-notch Americanos and loads of Seoul Design-Spot cafe galleries! Here are some of my favourites!

Glamorous Penguin

For more updates on Glamorous Penguin.

Ways of Seeing Art Cafe
For more updates on Ways of Seeing Art Gallery / Cafe.

Other amazing cafes in Itaewon / Hannamdong:

☆彡 Flying Pan Blue
123-7 Itaewon-Dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Daily 10:30am – 10:30pm
☎ +82 2 793 5285
Americano 4500₩, All Day Breakfasts 15000₩

☆彡 Passion 5
272 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Daily 730am – 10pm
☎ +82 2 2071 9507
Nearest Station: Hangangjin
Americano 7000₩, Cakes 5000 – 10000₩

☆彡 Take Out Drawing
140-861, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
☎ +82 2 790 2637
Nearest Station: Hangangjin

☆彡 Tartine Bakery & Cafe
Famous for: Being the Pie Shop from Running Man episode 71
4 Itaewon-ro 23-Gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Daily 10am – 11:30pm
☎ +82 2 3785 3400
119-15 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul
Nearest Station: Itaewon (Line 6) Exit 2

☆彡 Coffee Chu
682-10, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
(7 Itaewon-ro 54-gil)
☎ +82 2 790 6821
Nearest Station: Hangangjin

 

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES OO3: CAFE-HOPPING in GANGNAM

day Two itinerary seoul

Gangnam is, altogether, a fantastic spot for cafe-hopping. I spent the entire day here from morning till early evening, until I headed to KYOBO BOOKSTORE at Sinnonhyeon Station. The area is close to the Jamwon section of Hangang River Park, so take a walk to the famous South Korean river if you feel up to it!

Sharing a few cafes which I’ve managed to check out on days when I’d made my way to Gangnam:

Bloom and Goute Cafe
For more pictures and information on Bloom, click here.

 

50 FIFTY CAFE
Link to full blogpost on 50 FIFTY CAFE here.

 

deux creme

For more information on Deux Cremes: click!

 

Twosome Place Cafe
For more information on A TWOSOME PLACE: click

 

coffee chu korea
For more pictures of COFFEE CHU: click here.

Other amazing cafes in Gangnam:

☆彡 AllO
Converted from a private home, transformed into a modern, stylish brunch cafe
520-9 Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul
02 541 6933

☆彡 Bless Garden
645-16 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu Seoul

☆彡 Butterfinger Pancakes
Excellent all-day breakfast pancakes, menu revamped every 6 months
88-9 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
02-3448-1070
Exit 10 Gangnam station (Line 2)
Daily 7.00a.m. to 3.00a.m

☆彡 Design Cafe 디자인카페 (내추럴퍼니)
646-5 1F Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul
02-3445-2822

☆彡 Grand Ciel 그랑씨엘
650-22 Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul
+82 2-548-0283
Daily 11AM – 10PM

☆彡 Grande 그란데
Mediterranean menu: Tea, Wine, Various Deserts and Pasta.
546-8 1F Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul
02-548-8858

☆彡 May Island
서울 강남구 역삼동 816-6 용일빌딩 4, 5층
(Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Yeoksam-dong 816-6, Yongin Bldg 4F & 5F)
Nearest Station: Gangnam Station (Line 2), Sinnonhyeon Station (Line 9)

☆彡 Mug for Rabbit 머그 포 래빗
534-25 Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul

☆彡 Paper Garden 페이퍼가든
653-11 Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul
02 3443 8880
Daily 11PM – 1AM

☆彡 Sarubia 사루비아
542-3 Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul

 

ANGEL-IN-US was where I had my breakfast before heading toward Gangnam. It’s just about my favourite coffee-chain in South Korea, right up there with Caffe Bene.
ANGELINUS COFFEE KOREA
For more pictures, click here

 

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES OO2: GANGNAM

On my second day in Seoul, I travelled to Apgujeong in the district of Gangnam. To catch a trendy side of Seoul without the unexaggeratedly touristy appeal (aka Myeongdong), head to this part of town. Gangnam has been revolutionized by a wave of new-age Koreans.

What I loved: this building dressed in a coat of leopard prints without looking over-the-top
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As expected of diners in this hip and classy community, every cafe which I slipped into for a cuppa coffee competed for style – each interior design was aesthetically magazine-worthy. In short, Apgujeong is first-rate uptown district: its roads are dominated by big brand names, posh restaurants, sophisticated cafes and nightclubs. Further down north, towards Sinsa station is the less ambitiously stylish locale of Sinsa-dong. Here, you can find independent homely eateries, roadside stalls, casual soju-bars and pubs.

Gangnam Gu

APGUJEONG:
APGUJEONG GANGNAM

SINSA-DONG:
SINSADONG

Cheongdam-Dong is the middle-ground that provides a balance between the two locales. I love Cheongdam-dong – the people seem to be in less of a rush than Apgujeong. Its streets and stores were well-kept, neat and tidy.

CHEONGDAM-DONG:
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Sinsadong’s Garosugil 신사동 가로수길 (which literally means tree-lined street) is the perfect romantic dating spot for couples and meeting place for friends. Though it’s a bit overrun by tourists, photographers and Euro-loving Koreans, Garosugil remains a popular hangout and must-go destination! Loads of popular dramas were filmed in Garosugil and Gangnam area, to be honest, for it’s really the posher side of Korea which foreigners would love.

I personally love people-watching at the Gangnam district because the guys here are really goodlooking. It’s no wonder, though, or perhaps it’s merely a coincidence, that plastic surgery clinics are everywhere in Gangnam. Clearly, the rich and famous have their nosejobs, boobjobs and facejobs done in the area. Private plastic surgery establishments as high as 50-storeys are not uncommon. Here, you could do plastic surgery in complete privacy and total isolation.

That somewhat sums up my Gangnam experience. Stay-tuned for my next post on…CAFEHOPPING IN GANGNAM! ^^

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Travel Cafe Hongdae | 트래블 카페 @ 홍대

비행기 타기를 즐기십니까? Do you love plane rides and travelling?Personally I’m a huge fan of the Travel Cafe in Hapjeong/Hongik University district.  Amongst an abundance of travel inspirations and books on various attractive destinations, this is the perfect place to plan for your next trip, or simply to relive the excitement of a plane ride. When you order something to eat, your food is served as a set on a tray, just like in an airplane – appetisers, main course, drinks and dessert.

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I can never get tired of looking at pictures in travel books and magazines.

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Cinnamon Earl Grey Latte: 7000KRW20140326-222239.jpg

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At 9PM late evening: couple of stragglers still lingering in the Hongdae area. This cafe is open till pretty late in the night (11PM) so go ahead and chill-out in the comfort of this homely space.

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트래블 카페 Travel Cafe
서울특별시 마포구 서교동 398-11
398-11 Seogyo-Dong, Mapo-Gu Seoul
홍대 근처: 서교초등학교 정문 맞은편
Nearest Stations: Hapjeong/Hongik University Station
12:00~23:00
TEL: 02-322-9050

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Book Cafe Jaeum and Moeum | 자음과모음 북카페

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Major Korean publishers Jaeum and Moeum (자음과모음) releases the latest bestsellers via their flagship bookstores, as well as this dainty and elegant book cafe situated in central Yanghwaro, Hongdae. An all-day set menu includes a cup of coffee bundled with new releases.

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Book cafes are where publishers highlight noteworthy books that haven’t received much publicity or marketing opportunities. It truly is a welcome sight to see the literary scene being embraced and appreciated! ^^

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I can’t think of a better environment to cram for an examination, or just to cuddle up with a good book in a cozy little corner. The ambience was thick with an air of contemplative silence with a rhythmic tap-tap-tapping of fingers on keyboards.

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Blueberry smoothie to accompany this need for books and people-watching. This is where I finally finish reading A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian!20140326-220707.jpg

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Read:
[Korea Joongang Daily] Publisher cafes a welcome success story

Book Cafe Jaeum and Moeum | 자음과모음 북카페
Mapo-gu Yanghwaro 6gil 49
02-333-1775
Nearest Station: Hapjeong/Sangsu

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Ways of Seeing | @ 한남동 이태원

A perfect collision of art and coffee culture – what better way to kick back in appreciation of art installations with a coffee in hand! Ways of Seeing is a cafe slash art gallery along Itaewon. The local indie artsy-types would definitely know this place – it’s probably their favourite hangout.

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They have the standard coffee menu plus sandwiches, ciabattas, cakes and more. Opted for a standard latte and I’m surprised at the sheer size of their take-out cups. Though it may look small in this photo, it’s almost a Starbucks Venti.20140326-024719.jpg

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Stores with a Seoul Design Spot banner on its storefront are definitely places you must visit. A few museums, galleries and cafes which I’ve been to are marked out and labelled as a Seoul Design Spot for various reasons! Ways of Seeing is also on the design spot list.

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With ever-changing installations, this refreshing hideout is worth a return visit. Equidistant between Hangangjin and Itaewon subway station, the area is extremely accessible though it’s closer to the residential buildings! Itaewon is on my list of favorite districts in Seoul, for the sheer amount of cafes and museums to check out is startling! I love this district.

 

683-134 Hannam-dong Yongsan-gu
서울시 용산구 한남동 683-134 지하1층
Free WiFi
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/RnFdp

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Glamorous Penguin | 글래머러스 펭귄

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Glamorous Penguin is established within the expat-friendly Itaewon locale which is home to a myriad of private and national art museums, and also a walking distance from Hannamdong Cafe Street. Despite being a weekday mid-morning, Glamorous Penguin was already bustling with a caffeine-hungry crowd! Itaewon is the artsy-fartsy neighbourhood similar to Gangnam, but with less self-established private corporations. The entire Itaewon is more or less a controlled tourism district.

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Looking for somewhere to rest your feet? These cute twin penguins will definitely capture your attention!

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What looks good: cheesecakes, carrot cake, muffins, polenta, velvet cake, home-made chocolate cookies. The double-storeyed bakery cafe has plenty of seating spaces, although it can get pretty crowded.

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Ordered a strawberry latte! Plenty of fresh strawberries to chew on in the mixture of milk and juice.

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The nearest station is Hangangjin and if you keep walking along the main street in the direction of Itaewon station, keep to the right side of the road. You make to make a right turn into an alley and you’ll spot a couple of chic trendy diners. Voila!

글래머러스 펭귄
Hannam-dong, Seoul, Korea 743-41

Daily 10am – 10pm

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Thanks Nature Cafe | 양카페

Only in Seoul, you get to dine with a lamb! With the proliferation of overrated cat and dog cafes, Hongdae’s first and only sheep cafe (양카페) has been making headlines. Owner of the cafe, Kwang-Ho Lee, is spotted feeding the frisky little ones in their outdoor enclosure. Much to my surprise, the sheep didn’t smell bad! In fact, all I could smell were the aromatic scent of coffee and waffles.

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Lean over and grab a handful of wool! I got a bit excited when I got to touch the sheep, just like in a petting-zoo. See that man squatting in the corner? That’s the kind-looking boss and manager. It’s feeding time!

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Omnomnom. It’s breakfast time for us humans too.

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Thanks Nature Cafe is famous for their waffles, which they serve in a variety of styles. All of which are home-made on the spot, served fresh as you order.

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When my Berrynana Waffle arrived, I went wild at how beautiful food can actually look. Is this even edible? HELL YES!

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Strawberries are indeed in season – they’re so fresh, sweet and succulent! The waffles are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, served with a layer of fresh cream sandwiched between the fruits and the generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Hands-down the best waffles I’ve had!! (beats the one I had in London’s Pure Waffle). Ordered a peppermint tea to go along.

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My goodness, I just had to snap this photo of this chubby-cheeks kid. He was speaking to the sheep, begging them to come out from their enclosure. HOW ADORABLE!! The kid I mean! Seriously, I want my future child to be plump so that I can play with his/her cheeks.

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The owner loves his sheep so much, these photos melted my heart.

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Yes I caught a snapshot of it looking at me!
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Poor disappointed kid. After the sheep had their tummies filled, they insisted on remaining behind bars.

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The cafe is on a basement level on the left-hand side of the uphill street leading up to Hongik University. Blink and you might miss it! So keep your eyes peeled for this green sign.

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Thanks Nature Cafe
마포구 서교동 486 서교푸르지오상가 B121, Seoul, Korea 121-842
Mon – Sun: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Zoo Coffee | 주커피

Need I say more? The name speaks for itself. It’s a jungle in here!

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I love this wildlife, amazonian concept. There are different animals and wildlife knick knacks in each Zoo Coffee house.

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Found this chain coffee house on my walk to Yeouido and popped in for dessert! Tiramisu…my love.

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Off I go, again.

26-1 Yeoeuido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
+82 2-780-2482

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Deux Crèmes | 듀 크렘

Gangnam’s Garosugil is laden with patisseries, cake-shops, chocolatiers and coffeehouses. Deux Crèmes is one of the most popular and renowned pastry houses that occupies a standalone 3-storey building along the main street, drawing in a steady stream of dessert-seeking locals and foreigner everyday, and feeding this steady stream with their very special pie-tart-cake hybrids.

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Read: Deux Crèmes was awarded Travel CNN’s Best pie-tart-cake hybrid for their Caramel Tiramisu. I think, that Deux Crèmes should be awarded best modernist architectural design for dessert cafes.

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I tried their Muscato Tart: glazed champagne grapes cushioned with a layer of banana and custard cream on a thick crisp crust. Sounds like heaven on a slice? Tastes like heaven on a slice!

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The kind pastry chefs awarded me photographic opportunities and I snapped away at their amazing, aesthetically appealing tarts. These pastries are actually freshly baked behind the counters by talented chefs in white.

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If you’re in the area, you’ve got to seek this place out because their tarts, though pricier than the usual range, is worth every penny. There are over 100 different champagnes and wines to go with the tarts, and the in-house sommeliers can tell you exactly what wines go with the dessert you’re having! Such personalized service makes for a very awesome dessert experience.

강남구 신사동 533-11
533-11 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
+82 2 545 7931
Daily, 10am – midnight
Free WiFi
Tarts range from ₩6,500 to ₩8,000

For Quick Reference:

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

50 Fifty No Stress Cafe | 피프티

Reminiscent of a warehouse and appearing somewhat like a garage amidst reformation, the high-ceilinged 50 Fifty Cafe in uptown Apgujeong is hip and trendy with a rustic Junk-Style appeal. Diners can choose between smoking and non-smoking seating areas to enjoy a truly stress-free meal amongst the company of friends and tasteful lounge music. Kick back with a 50 Fifty cuppa, or settle down with something off their brunch set menu!

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Brunch set: meat sauce wrap, sausages, chips and salad. A piping cup of Americano on the side. 16000₩20140323-110723.jpg

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The kitchens are on the upper floor, an open concept overlooking the dining space. You can observe your food being prepared.

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Extremely filling and satisfying brunch! Lots of artistic and media companies are within the Gangnam district, hence the abundance of cafes in this part of town for lunch meetings, tea breaks and coffee runs. 50 Fifty was pretty quiet for a Friday mid-afternoon, and I suspect it has more patrons on the weekends. For such a trendy upscale restaurant, it must attract the mid-20s and early-30s crowd.

646-1 Sinsa-Dong, Gangnam-Gu (Apgujeong)
강남구 신사동 646-1, Seoul
02-544-8050
Daily 11am – Midnight
Free WiFi

Quick Reference:

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Bloom and Goûté | 블룸 앤 구떼

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower.”  Nothing else better invokes purity of thoughts than innocence of youth. In this rustic foliage of greens and florals, William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence springs to mind.

Off the beaten track on Gangnam-Gu’s Garosu-Gil is my favorite cafe by a long shot. Bloom and Goûté cafe is an intimate space, tastefully decorated with bouquets of blooming flowers, oak wood tables, chic garlands and housed in exposed brick walls in an independent two-storeyed building. Downstairs, flowers are tended to, bought and sold, along with displays of cakes and other mouth-watering desserts. Upstairs is where the seating spaces run out quickly during the busiest periods.

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The concept of B&G was created by marrying the influences of European cultures. Co-owners Lee Jin-sook studied botany in London while Jo Jung-hee undertook baking in Paris. From classy table settings (one-of-a-kind floral arrangements) to the uniqueness of B&G’s sweet and savoury menu, a European bohemian charm permeates the space, blending beautifully with scents of musk and florals.

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A Maximowiczia and Mint Detox Soda – a Bloom and Goûté Special.20140323-002529.jpg

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Some of B&G’s desserts. They do have the staples such as waffles, salads, sandwiches, but I’m told their special is the homemade strawberry cheesecake.

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I want to lie in a bed of roses and love flowers forever.

534-6 Sinsa-dong Gangnam-gu Seoul
서울 신사동 강남구 545-24
02-545-6659
DAILY 11AM – Midnight

Quick reference:

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean