Hongik University Seoul


The area around Hongik University (Hongdae) is reputed as the hub of indie art culture, and it is easy to know why. Not only because Hongik University is famous for its College of Fine Arts, the clubs here in Hongdae are so popular among international tourists that the New York Times once picked the area as one of the Ten Must-Dos in Seoul. Even the taxi-drivers and guesthouse owner in Jeju would ask us if we went clubbing at Hongdae, and told us we have to when we return to Seoul.

Besides, the streets are surrounded by free-spirited murals, lined with cute unique cafes and young designers' flagship stores after stores selling their very own artworks, apparel and other fashion items, and can amazingly transform into stages for aspiring performers, exhibition spots or even mega-scale festivals at times. Hongdae is practically brimming with youthfulness 24/7 and here are some of the places I visited in this 'college town'!

Snow Spoon Cafe is well-known for its appearance in the KBS drama Mary Stayed Out All Night when Mary's father spies on Kang Mugyul and his mother choosing the flavour of their ice-cream. The cafe features yoghurt ice-cream made from ingredients imported directly from Italy and has has a cute and diverse display of ice-creams that no girls can say no to. Just look at the pictures below, all of them looked so adorable, colourful and heavenly! Which flavour would you choose?

Snow Spoon Cafe
70, Eoulmadang-ro
Mapo-gu, Seoul
(refer to map below for directions)
Visit their website here

Got the Kaka Smile (Lemon Cheesecake) =D

Our plan was to have our first meal at Paljakmachang after visiting Hongdae Free Market and Trick Eye Museum without knowing that Haha had refurbished it into another restaurant. The queue at the new restaurant, 401 was extremely long and they don't serve the delicious makchang that I have had two years ago anymore, so we decided against queueing and went to this other restaurant that was recommended by a native blogger, Park Myeongsu's Jokbali Myeongsu instead.

The banchan are all super nice. We finished everything.

Free flow of this awesome-tasting dumpling soup. Omg!!

They have a few types of meat to choose from, spicy, barbeque etc and we chose the boiled one base on the same blogger's recommendation. True enough, the meat was soft, chewy, fresh and crazily tender. I never thought I would like any kind of pork more than roast pork but I did now. Furthermore, it is absolutely healthy because it is boiled! It was out of this world and certainly set a sky-high expectation for the rest of our meals in our 10-day trip. I only wished I had travelled with a larger group of friends so we could order alcohol and the other meats which looked and smelled equally delicious.

Jokbali Myeongsu
408-6, Seogyo-dong
Mapo-gu, Seoul
Go straight and turn left at 7-11 from Sangsang Madang

Ewha Woman's University

The third day of our trip, we took the subway to Ewha Woman's University Station which is just two shops away from Hongik University via Line 2 (Green) so that we can shop our way down from Ewha to Sinchon and then back to Hongdae before we collect our luggages and head over to Jeju. The picture you see above would be Ewha's 'Street You Want To Visit'. It branches off from the main gate of Ewha Woman's University, and is where you can find lots of fascinating little shops selling clothes, bags, accessories at very affordable prices. I got lots of pretty clothes and also three bags here at just KRW 10,000 each. No wonder this area is popular amongst young ladies!

Go straight from Exit #2 or #3 to find the main gate of Ewha Woman's University.

If you happen to see this small croquette stall, you just have to try the croquettes here! These breadcrumbed fried food rolls are priced at just KRW 1,500 each and are available in many different flavours such as potato and curry. I wanted to try something different so I got the kimchi croquette (hello we are in Korea, everything also must be kimchi!) and it was one of the best things I have had this trip, so much so that I wish I got 10 instead of just one measely croquette. Another must-try item while you are at Ewha would certainly be the famous Modak Modak Grilled Chicken Skewer, which is located on the left of the second junction straight from Ewha Woman's University Station Exit #2.


I didn't enjoy Sinchon's 'Pedestrian-Friendly Street' as much as I did Ewha as a tourist mostly because the streets are lined with restaurants, bars and other hot spots such as their noraebang (karaoke rooms), DVD bang, PC bang etc where young people relax and hang out. If you are intending to pay Sinchon a visit, do consider adding places like Yonsei University and Sinchon Station to your itinerary. The former is the proud owner of one of the most beautiful campuses in Seoul. Well-known for its abundance of trees and ivy-covered European-inspired buildings, Yonsei University also happens to be the filming location of many Korean dramas!

You can find these selling almost everywhere at just KRW 1,000. Super nice!

"The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince" on our way to a;t fox Cafe

There is a Piano Cafe in Hongdae too!

Of course, there are countless cute little cafes in this vicinity alone but one of the more popular ones we happened to pass by is Mustoy, where patrons get to paint their own happy little dolls. The two main characters, the boy "Muskky" (Mustoy + Lucky) and the girl "Musppy" (Mustoy + Happy) were designed by the same artist who created the popular children's cartoon character Pororo, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours at an affordable price of KRW 15,000. Each purchase comes with a free drink and also access to all the essentials you need to design your own unique Mustoy. Do note that the cafe is closed on Mondays.

Mustoy Cafe
1F Caliope, 334-6 Seongyo-dong
Mapo-gu, Seoul
(refer to map below for directions)
Visit their website here

Another place you just have to visit back in Hongdae is STYLENANDA, Korea's leading online fashion store which features a variety of brands such as 3Concept Eyes, KKXX and Jeffrey Campbell. Try coming on a weekday as I visited twice and the outlet was crazily crowded on the weekend, so much so that I gave up trying to shop for anything and only got what a friend asked me to help her buy. Of course I was malcontented and so on the last day of our trip, we cancelled our initial plans (also because I was sick and made slight amendments to the itinerary) and went to STYLENANDA again!

Check out the expression of these guys sitting outside of STYLENANDA..

The queue was super long when I was there on a weekend, but weekday? No one.
And I got to use the photo-taking booth for as long as I wanted hehe

Oh oh, how patrons shop at 3CE is kind of different and I thought it a little weird and intimidating. You see, there is no ready stocks in view (to prevent theft I suppose) so all you see are testers and their price labels on the shelves. What you are supposed to do is to tell one of the staff when you saw something you want. She will give you a number tag and at the same time, walkie-talkie the person at the counter so she can get the stock. So you aren't supposed to hold on to the testers and bring it all to the counter to make payment, but instead just inform the staff your number and what you want as you shop, and they will just keep on adding your orders to the numbered carriers along the way. Just give them your tag when you are done, check the items and you are ready to make payment.

That definitely works on a weekday when the number of patrons is manageable. During weekends, it is nuts. All you see are empty shelves because the girls have grabbed all the testeres they managed to get their hands on to prepare for their full-face make-up. Everything was all over the place, some items, like the nail polishes didn't have price tags, and you can't get the staff to listen to you. The system at 3CE in this case made it really difficult to shop productively. Moral of the story, just don't come on weekends.

My 3CE loot! I feel so accomplished lol ^.^

STYLENANDA Hongdae Branch
23 Wausan-ro 29da-gil
Mapo-gu, Seoul
(refer to map below for directions)
Visit their website here

Done shopping at STYLENANDA and ran into SBS filming!

Our last meal in Korea was at T.G.I Friday's, Hongik University Branch because we didn't have much time left before we had to go back and pack our bags, and we were too tired to walk too far from the station especially when we were carrying so much stuff and Hongdae was jam-packed even on a weekday night. I remembered really wanting to order a steak because of what I had at N Seoul Tower even though I used to not like beef, but for some reason we only ordered side dishes and they are all chicken instead. First time I actually want beef, and I ended up being denied T.T

Took a picture of the tap in the washroom because it was super cool and it took me some time before I figured out how to use it lol #whyIsostupid

Fresh bread for all customers before the meal was served

The total bill was KRW 62,600 inclusive of service fee. We didn't know the portions were going to be so huge that we ended up not being able to finish everything. The cheese fries taste great and were so hot that it was served in two plates. They were crispy and addictive, but not overly starchy or cheesy that you get sick after a few. You can just keep eating and eating non-stop. As for the platter, I love the tacos the most as it was flavourful and fresh, especially with the salsa sauce and celery (which I don't usually eat). The marinated chicken with sesame on top was a little sweet for my liking and the meat was also quite dry. I would prefer to fried chicken drumlets anytime.

Last but not least would be the brownie, which is my favourite dish out of the entire meal! Love the way the vanilla ice-cream melts into the heat of the brownie, and the additional flavour from the nuts and caramel. It is a common dish, but this was one the best I have had so far.

And these are what I did in Hongdae last autumn, on top of my other posts on Hongdae Free Market here, Trick Eye Museum here, Hello Kitty Cafe here, a;t fox Cafe here, and Thanks Nature Cafe here. I have also attached two maps of the area around Hongik University, one from www.visitseoul.net and the other I have gotten from the Tourist Information Center inside Subway Line 2 Hongik University Station. There is also a list of recommended Korean restaurants which I can also scanned and placed below for your reference. Hope you will find them useful ^.^

Find out more about my Korea itinerary here,

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