Thursday, 23 April 2015

Itaewon, Namsan Tower and a tease of Myeongdong


Itaewon, the global community of Seoul.It's as though the world has been trapped within its streets, lending itself to a diverse culture. As can be expected, there are a large number of diverse foreign restaurants and people of varying nationalities here. If you've got a hankering for anything from home, odds are high, it'll be here for you to seek. Still, it doesn't really remind me much of Sydney for all its diversity and although the food options are immense and broad, this isn't my favourite place to be. Perhaps it felt like I was fulfilling too much of a stereotype? Or is that hypocritical condescension sneaking in haha.



Breakfast was inari topped with crab, cucumber and seaweed mixed with mayonnaise and a side of seaweed soup, anchovies and spinach. With the hope of behaving as the perfect guest, I tried to overcome my aversion to cucumber without complaint. In saying that, it was tasty! As I said, simple palate, I love the texture of seaweed!



Did I follow this guide? Of course not. But it did make for the day's pretty iPhone background. 


Time to stroll through the neighbourhood!


A heavily European influenced home decor/stationary store. 


A family just casually chilling. 


The Leeum Samsung Museum of Art!



They had replaced the famous spidery sculpture in favour of this! Have to say, I was a bit disappointed. 


Now if you envision these as eyes instead, this takes on a whole new creepy and awesome level.


Pictures weren't allowed and I don't really know how to appreciate art other than for the most superficial reasons so I left as per instruction dictated by my stomach. Still, it was a nice experience to have. 


Travel tip! When in a foreign country, peruse the Instagram tags of the widely used language pertaining to it! For example, in Japanese, food is #食べ物。In Seoul, use #맛집. In doing so, you can get a local's bird's eye view of the food they consume. Moreover, Instagram is the art gallery of real life events so the photos that pervade the tag wouldn't look out of place in an exhibit. You're welcome, for the saved time hunting down every TOP TEN PLACES TO EAT IN SEOUL list. 



The Persistence of Memory clock! Not for timekeeping purposes .. though I don't think you'd want to..


The decor of this place is beyond adorable and charmingly mismatched. Like the inside of an artist's mind, each side dedicated to a unique style. 


I meant to order the fairyfloss latte cough purely for Instagram aesthetics (I don't even like coffee, the sacrifices we make...), you must understand. But at that instance, I mixed it up for marshmallow... Don't even know how. Still, in such a cheerful mug, It'll grow to garner a few likes haha. 


A banana cream cupcake hidden inside with oreo dirt. The bananas definitely weren't ripe, still enjoyable as mid morning tea? Coffee? Ah, well, it was still sweet enough to act as counterbalance against the latte. 


It was only afterward that I realised the interestingly shaped spoon. A shovel! I love attention to detail of this level! I've yet to encounter a Sydney cafe that is this level of kitschy and homey, one that I could ungraciously hog unnecessary table-space to study and definitely overstay my welcome. 

Banana Tree Cafe
서울특별시 용산구 한남동 739-5 (Seoul, Yongsan-gu, Hannam-dong 739-5)
www.blog.naver.com/banana_526 


Hunger only slightly whetted, we stroll to International Food Street. And what should I find but of course.. The Sherlock Holmes Bar haha,..



It really does look like several countries crammed into one small space. 



I thought this was deeply amusing haha, 


ohmigod, this totally counts as seeing the Mona Lisa right?




Nope, still not in the least bit homesick. Pretty sure LA and Sydney aren't in the same direction though haha. 



A British pub! They weren't kidding about catering to international needs. 

Alright kids. I'm sure this never gets old but here's another tale of getting ridiculously lost. Every night, back at the apartment, I would look up places to see, eat, shop, etc. And unsurprisingly, I stumbled upon Mipa's blog. She's a vegan residing in Korea and prior to opening her own cafe, she was more active on her blog and it detailed a lot of her trials and tribulations in regard to eating out here. And more often than not, vegan food tends to be on the more healthier side so I was hooked. I had to seek out this cafe. On off I went, eyes, bright with naivety, to hunt down the vegan cafe known as Plant. And yes, it was difficult. As unbeknownst to me, Plant is situated between residential buildings and it look a lot of up and down desperate walking, people wondering if my head was screwed on properly, same old, same old. Before I eventually managed to stumble upon it. Eyes glazing, stomach growling, on the point of deliriousness, I stumbled into the almost fabled cafe and as a consequence, I think I may have acted a bit standoffish. And I was a bit shy about inquiring whether she was Mipa, the owner of the magical blog in fear that she would be irritated by it. But alas, the food was great. 



How do you choose???





Again, cafes in Seoul seem to ooze with unrelentless charm, it's ridiculous! The prices here are crazily affordable. Not just by Sydney standards. I've never been to a vegan eatery without breaking the bank, and I'm relieved and agonised that my second visit to one trumps the first soundly .. why did it have to be in another country..

Lentil Veggie Burger


The greatest vegan dish I had, hands down. Sure it isn't like its carnivorous counterpart but it was the most wonderful reward after my long search. Paired with the potato salad, it was immensely filling, the 'cheese' had a smokiness to it and the mushrooms were juicy, and of course.. how on earth did they make that aioli??


The Pumpkin and gingerbread frosting cake. The best cake I've ever had that (wasn't my own of course ahaha) and it was vegan. Gingerbread! I never thought I would love that! But it all makes sense, I love cinnamon so of course I would love the depth of spices. I feel that this cafe is actually a hoax it seems to be paradoxically vegan. Keep Plant on your radar, you'll definitely leave somewhat pleasantly bewildered yet satisfied. 

Mipa is incredible. She works immensely hard and I wished that I could've spoken to her. Ah before I forget, another thing that threw me off was the intense English situation. Not a Korean sign in sight! Definitely foreigner friendly. 

PLANT 
Yongsan-gu, Itaewon-dong 63-15, Seoul

Onwards and upwards, it's time to eternalise my love up to Namsan tower!


An optimistic sign can't hide the fact that university is the place you'd avoid like the plague. 






Art amongst garbage..




I swear that alongside their DNA is the gene for artistic talent.


And this is only the beginning..


Namsan Tower!


Festive, the past and the present collide. Interestingly, it is only from the rusted padlocks that I feel give it that realistic appearance of a tree. 


You have no idea how many people took their selfies here before I could take an unobstructed photo. 


No. 198 of my inadequacy. Of course I had to make a very crucial and space-consuming mistake on a very tiny lock. And wow, I am 10% sure that I wrote reality ahaha.. 


Spot the most attractive lock there!



The sheer number of these locks is mindboggling, it's staggering. But it's not as simple as that, here represents people like me, wide eyed tourists scrambling in eagerness to leave their physical footprints in another place so far from home. It's the reminder that we were here when memory fades. Or it could be couples coming here to bond them together in a symbolic gesture or friends, declaring that their friendship will transcend time. Regardless, considering that, it becomes so much more than a gimmick. That we all, are filled with hope. Okay that got sappy, quite unlike me. 


It's only logical to stroll down to Myeongdong. But the sky was darkening so I decided to save this for another time when I could research the must have beauty products. This must be Korea's version of Time Square. 



TAEYEONNNNNNNNN. I may have squealed. If there was Yoona, I would've fainted.  


 Dinner back at the apartment was simple. The mornings inari, tea to combat the frigid weather and .. oh my god. My airbnb host actually hulled the strawberries, cut them in two, garnished a sliced carrot cake before arranging them on a wooden board for me. The ART OF PRESENTATION. Is something I must learn! And cake! There is never a good reason to resist cake!

XX

Jeannie

19 comments:

  1. Nice pictures :) I like to see it :)

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  2. Lots of intriguing photos... looks like you've been having a lot of fun! I just stumbled across your blog today... hello!! :)

    That smiley face mug with the colorful marshmallows is super cute!


    Amber
    All the Cute
    Recent Post: Favorite Maxi Dress

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  3. Beautiful photos, Itaweon is a fun part of town, definitely a different vibe than the rest of Seoul.

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  4. Such great places, beautiful photos!
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    instagram.com/grace_njio

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  5. Great pictures!!

    xx

    Mademoiselle Coconath

    http://mllecoconath.com

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  6. Hello dear, I really like your photos!

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  7. oh i love this post! really miss korea seeing all these images :)

    Palma1990

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  8. I love how much color is in each and every photograph. I'd love to visit Korea some day!

    xo, Alice
    The Inconnue Blog || Inconnue on Etsy

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  9. I was sold on that Banana tree cafe how adorable!!! After seeing your post I really yearn to go to Seoul one day. You have such a beautiful blog I will definitely drop by more often and will link you. ;)

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  10. Beautiful photos.
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  11. Amazing place.
    I'm in love with the noodles too
    XO

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  12. Eep, you found lots of cute places that I missed! Need to go back now ><

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  13. Love all the photos, makes me want to visit!

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  14. The food all looks so delicious, especially that inari and seaweed soup. I should look up a recipe for that.

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  15. Wow what a great post ! All the pictures are amazing an the food looks so yummy !

    Barbara
    www.cinnamonbazaar.com

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  16. you went to such interesting places!!! i love all the pictures!!! thanks for sharing them all!! :D

    have a great week!
    Animated Confessions

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  17. all the food looks amazing. Yum!

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