Myeong-dong Seoul

11:23:00



Welcome to Myeong-dong, Seoul's leading shopping district accessible via Subway Line 2 (Green) and Line 4 (Light Blue). As I was staying in the area of Hongik University, I took Line 2 directly and alighted at Euljiro 1(il)ga Station, and shopped my way down to the front, where Myeong-dong Station is and from there, I headed towards Namdaemun Market which is located at Hoehyeon, just a stop away from Myeong-dong. Continue walking down the subway line if your feet would allow, and you will find yourself at Seoul Station, where many of us would shop ourselves crazy at Lotte Outlet and Lotte Mart. Not forgetting, N Seoul Tower which is also in the vicinity. Check out the maps available in this post for you to plan your own itinerary ^.^



Lotte Mart (Seoul Station Branch)

This gigantic shopping complex is conveniently located at Exit 1 of Seoul Station and is open from 9am till midnight (closed on 2nd and 4th Sunday every month). Specially designed for foreign tourists, it is somewhat like the Giant Megastore we have in Tampines Singapore and sells everything from groceries to daily essentials, office supplies, apparels and accessories, toys, pet food, souvenirs et cetera. Remember to bring your receipt to the tax refund counter at Level 1 after you are done shopping since you will without a doubt purchase more than KRW 30,000 worth of products!


I really like the idea of having an area for patrons to pack their buys into used boxes


Check out my extensive loot from Lotte Mart O.O

If you are already sick of the Market-O brownies in pink/brown packaging, what I will suggest is to switch to the one in blue/yellow which is way better because I never liked the original one anyway. By the way, the owner at Hostel Vanilla provides all kinds of different snacks at the shared kitchen and having tried them all lol, I have successfully found the tastiest snacks in Lotte Mart -- Binch Chocolate Biscuit! It is nothing very special, but it is super nice. Everyone who has had it agreed with me, so get that when you are in Korea. In bulk. The green-boxed snack placed in front of Binch is good too!



Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market is the oldest and largest traditional market in Korea and it is well-known for its friendly store-owners and reasonable prices. Besides the children's clothings which the market is most well-known for, you can also find a huge variety of local products at wholesale prices. Do note that the market is closed on Sundays and also during Lunar New Year and Chuseok, and their operating hours are from 9am to 5pm (apparel stores are also open at night from 10pm to 5am). Oh, remember to try the galchi jorim (hairtail fish), kalguksu (handmade noodle soup) and king dumplings while you are there.

I would personally recommend the Alpha and the Accessory Market (refer to map below for location). The Alpha, open from 8.30am to 8pm sells an astonishing variety of stationeries and art supplies, and the Accessory Market is where you can find a wide array of cute and pretty accessories at surprising low prices - be prepared to squeeze between racks and other shoppers at these tightly-packed stores to find that perfect pair of earrings though.



Myeong-dong

Last but not least, Myeong-dong the must-visit place for all shopaholics. You will have something to buy here everyday. Other than the countless eateries and cute cafes, this leading tourist attraction is typically crowded at all times and is also home to many flagship stores and shopping malls where you can find all kinds of apparels, accessories, cosmetics, shoes and more.

The number of stores you see here will be overwhelming but don't let that be a reason not to hit the malls, in particularly Migliore (Myeong-dong Branch) and Noon Square, and also to get some street food e.g. potato fries and ice-cream to complement the shopping experience! If you are into Hallyu, you will want to pay a visit to Lotte Young Plaza and SPAO/Everysing, where you can find lots of YG and SM merchandises.



While making our way to Myeong-dong Cathedral, the most iconic 110-year-old cathedral in Korea, we came by a cafe where there were live music performances and decided to go in after we were done visiting the former. It was a surprise find, and we didn't expect to find ourselves seated in the cafe that we later decided was our favourite out of the entire trip, for hours. The food and drinks were awesome and so are the musicians (the keyboardist don't even need a pedal O.O). Passers-by stopped on their tracks and gathered outside the cafe to enjoy the music, and tables were occupied as soon as it was given up. I wish there is something like that in Singapore. Please let me know if there is!

video video

Near to Myeong-dong Cathedral is also Myeong-dong Gyoja, a noodle restaurant that has been in business for more than 40 years and famous for their knife-cut, handmade kalguksu noodles. There are two branches along the same street. Turn left from Exit #8 of Myeong-dong Subway Station onto Myeong-dong 10-gil Road and go straight about 150m to find the main restaurant on the right or continue another 150m to find the branch on the left.

Stepping in, you will see that there are only four items on their menu, namely the reputed mandu (dumplings), bibim guksu (noodles with vegetables and red hot pepper paste), kalguksu (wheat flour noodles in a hot broth) and kongguksu (noodles in cold soy milk broth) and they are all conveniently priced at KRW 8,000. Eating here is relatively fuss-free. The queue is long and the place is absolutely tight-fitted but everything here is fast, fast, fast.



As EBF (ex-bf) and I weren't hungry after our stay at Bistro 74, we only ordered one Kalguksu and Mandu to share, only to realise how big the portions are when they arrive. Just the mandu alone might have already been sufficient. They were stuffed with minced pork, mushrooms, zucchini and mungbean sprouts were sweet and juicy, but they were too huge and overly meaty for my liking. Perhaps it was because there were only two of us, I felt quick sick of it after having just two. The noodles were served in thick and flavourful pork broth with shredded vegetables and even more dumplings. Although thinly sliced, they were extremely filling.



Bonjuk is a leading rice porridge franchise restaurant serving a wide range of tasty and healthy porridge in Korea. With more than 1,000 branches nationwide, you can almost find Bonjuk anywhere but having tried the one in Myeong-dong, I rather thought the restaurant was overrated. You might want to visit their branch in Samcheok instead since they are the one that has been recommended in the Michelin Guide for top restaurants.


Crab Meat Porridge | KRW 9,000


Special Abalone Porridge (with double abalone) | KRW 15,000


Schisandra Five-Flavor Tea 五味子茶 | KRW 5,000

In summary, both porridge were extremely salty, the five-flavor tea tastes more like sugar water, and the only meat I saw in the crab meat porridge were those made of fish starch. After my first experience here, I would suggest to give it a miss since the porridges here have nothing much except for soy sauce to shout about. You can easily find nicer and cheaper abalone porridge in Jeju and Busan if that is what you are craving for when you thought of Bonjuk. I also saw a disclaimer on the menu emphasising that the traditional Korean porridge they serve might not suit the taste of foreigners and I don't think that gives a good impression. Oh ya, the kimchi was horrible. You might want to skip that too.

That is all I have for Myeong-dong! Refer to my other posts on N Seoul Tower here and Wangbijib here, both of which are also located in the immediate vicinity of Myeong-dong, and stay tuned for upcoming blog posts on Jeju, Dongdaemun, Hongdae, Insadong etc. There are just so many things I have yet to cover that I can't believe how behind time I am. Gonna start pulling my socks up!


Explore Myeong-dong with this map, also from www.visitseoul.net

Find out more about my Korea itinerary here,
Yvette

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