If in my first blogpost about Seoul I spoke about the places you shouldn’t miss when in Seoul, in this post I’ll introduce you to some of the activities without which your trip to the South Korean capital wouldn’t be complete. Well, shall we begin?
Taste the traditional cuisine Korean food
First of all, did you know that metallic, not wooden, sticks are used in Korea? They are different in shape and length from Chinese and Japanese ones too!
Our usual day starts with a breakfasts (well, in some cases 🙂 ) so let’s start with a Korean one! What about a porridge with several sides such as meat, vegetables and kimchi? Yup, that’s what we got for a traditional K-breakfast. The porridge is called a Juk and frequently contains rice. As I understood, now it can be eaten throughout the day and is not considered a morning dish only – you can eat a variation of Juk whenever you want especially when feeling unwell. Also rice porridge is a typical post-hangover dish!
Cherish your sweet tooth and please try various half-moon rice cakes, rice ball cakes, mochi and dried fruits such as persimmon – for instance, around Nakwon area.
What might surprise you is the way dishes are served in Seoul: a lot of small plates filled with sides called banchan! Make yourself familiar with some traditional Korean dishes vocabulary such as Kimchi, spicy cabbage, Bulgogi (my favorite!), spicy beef or pork served with several sides, Bibimbap, rice with vegetables, chilly paste, egg and meat, and Jeon, korean pancakes with sliced filling. A traditional alcoholic drink is called Soju, and a fermented rice drink on a pic below is called Sikhye. You might also like Tteokbokki (kind of rice sticks) and Jajangmyeon, noodles in black bean sauce.
Tip: if you have enough time, don’t hesitate to attend a tea ceremony!
Wear a hanbok
You can easily spot tourists wearing hanbok is South Korea – it’s a name of traditional Korean dress, usually referring to the Joseon period clothing. Have you already noticed that almost all the historical things are related to this dynasty?
Hanbok is still used for the official ceremonies and festivals. No pockets, bright colours, several layers – you can find a hanbok rent everywhere in Seoul.I couldn’t resist wearing it myself. Although It’s as far as one can possibly get away from a traditional Korean beauty, I really liked the result! First you choose the pieces your would like to wear, and an assistant consults you if you want to use different colours, hair decorations etc so that they correctly reflect age, social and marital status of a woman.
Fill you luggage with the K-skincare products
Raise your hand if you like Korean skin care as much I do! I’m really fond of the 10-step system of skin care. Although I don’t strictly follow it and I found the European substitutes to some of the products, my beauty bag is still tightly packed with Missha, TonyMoly, Dr.Jard+, Cosrx, Innisfree and Too Cool For School.
Yes, there are many scary ingredients whose mechanisms of working are obscure and the creams’ anti-aging properties may be not quite as good as the European brands, but I still find their moisturising and whitening properties perfect for my skin.
Tip: Underground shopping centres and duty-free shops are among the best places to load yourself with beauty products!
Elevate the level of food cuteness (and crazyness) in local cafes
I’ve already written about some Japanese cute edible products and nice (or crazy) cafes in my post about 10 things I adored in Japan. Believe me Korean ones are equally as good (and as crazy)!
What really surprised me is that many cafes are combined with a same-themed store within the same space. This is obviously not a new concept (there are many combos like this for instance in Shoreditch, London) but it seemed to me that it’s more commonplace for the South Korea. Correct me if I’m wrong!
I’ve already written about the LINE friends cafe and store in Itaewon, here are just a couple of photos to remind you of that.
One of the most famous places is Stylenanda Pink Hotel cafe. 6 floors painted all pink, it’s exactly what one can call ‘a girl’s paradise’ (if we diminish a hypothetical girl interests to pink color, taking photos and beautifying oneself). Well, in several-store building there are a makeup store, clothes store, cafe with the prettiest coffees on the Earth (cappuccino with candy floss – sounds good, right?) and the Barbie-style rooftop garden sharply contrasting with the greyish reality of the streets below.
The level of cuteness is elevated even among the street food stalls! How cute are those strawberry mocha packed as if they were bunnies? They are rather yummy as well.
Animals cafes are also extremely entertaining (where else you’ll get chance a to be tickled by a meerkat or to feed a kangaroo? (Of course make sure that the wellbeing and health of animals is a priority in a cafe you decided to pop in!)
Enjoy the views over Seoul from the N Seoul Tower
At 262 m, woody Namsan mountain is floating over the Seoul. It is the preferred place for locals for running, hiking and picnicking but it’s also flooded with visitors who are eager to discover Seoul’s skyline from the observational desk around the N Seoul Tower or from the Tower itself. And of course, it’s the favourite locations for so many K-drama makers!
It looks like a proper touristic spot with all the lockers and cute benches around! The skyline itself was pretty moody during our visit but anyway it was definitely worth a visit!
Tip: Whilst we were at N Tower observational desk we received an alarm message to our phones saying “Dangerous conditions”. Guess what? Air pollution is a real health concern for South Korea’s capital. So please mimic the locals and wear a protective mask while in Seoul. You can buy it everywhere from pharmacies to corner shops.
Hope you enjoyed today’s blog!