Lovely and tasty places in Seongbuk-Dong
January 1, 1970
by Julia Sookyung Yang
Seoul is the fastest city in South Korea. Everything goes fast and people are always in hurry. You may know Korean characteristics, especially Seouler. Change is good and as you know well, Korea developed and grew up in various industries of all fields. But here is the small town you can spend time slowly. You don’t have to be in hurry here and feel comfortable when you are here. I’m sure that you like this village if you find some calm things. There are tastes of the city, the old and new, the poor and rich, and the past and present of Seoul. Also, you can see various temples and church. I can tell you like these and call these things and life as ‘Aesthetic of Slow’.
Are you sick of clichéd Seoul? Then, visit here, Seongbuk-Dong! Your travel will be different from other people and you will take inner-peace on traveling.
The sweet coffee shop
Actually, I love sweet coffee like a caramel latte. But when I drink hand drip coffee for the first time, I can’t drink other franchise coffee any longer. All kinds of coffee are similar and have the same taste. Hand drip coffee is made slowly so we have to wait. You don’t have to be in hurry. Coffee master makes her own style coffee and it’s really different from others. You just should be waiting in your seat, it will be anywhere you want to, once she completes making coffee, she will take it with a beautiful coffee cup for you. Right, here is the best lovely coffee shop in Seongbuk-Dong, ‘Meeting in Undecimber’. How unpredictable name! In this place, we all are in not the same time. People jumped over so arrived here finally.
Actually here is bookstore too. There are many books according to coffee master’s type. You can read here too. Maybe this place is for book lovers and caffeine adductors. Lovely and calm place. It’s better to smile than to laugh louder. With lovers, time flies fast so you should hold it as possible as you can. Here, Mrs. Yong, coffee master, is also a writer. The name of this place is actually named from her first book. I recommend you to read it if you can recognize Korean. She is a good and warm-hearted coffee teacher and always has a lovely smile.
She can roast coffee beans too so there are many blended coffee menus. They are named after her. For example, there is ‘Morning’. I asked her why it is called ‘Morning’ and she said it’s good to drink it in the morning. How simple it is but pretty. Here is another thing, ‘Le Dong’. She loves the famous painter Le Dong, who painted vases. Like these, this place is all about Mrs. Yong and her life of coffee.
Korean style noodles
Before or after taking coffee in café, I always go to the noodle restaurant. It’s called ‘Gupo-noodle’. Gupo is a name of a city, where is located in a southern region in Korea. There are some vegetable and source in the noodle. It’s Korean style and when it’s anniversary in one’s house, they always have made that noodle for their own family or guests to come for celebrating. That’s a tradition of Korea. So some elders say that eating and serving noodles are events for their family when someone gets married.
Gupo-noodle has made the first time in Gupo as per mentioning before. When Korean War occurred, refugees made noodles for starving. Korean War is our sad history as you know well but we should remember it.
Once you taste this, you can say that it’s hot and a little spicy. But we, Korean, say it’s cool. Noodle is chewy and sticky so texture can be weird for you. It’s totally different from pasta noodle. There are generally two types of noodle, thin one and thick one. Gupo-noodle is made with thick noodle so its texture is a little bit tough. But, please keep in mind that is Gupo style. Also be careful of an unkind server who gives you soup for Gupo-noodle. She is fascinated and chic. That’s Korean ‘aunt’ characteristic.
Two faces of Seongbuk, Bukjeong Maeul
After having lunch and drinking coffee, we should look around this village. I would like to tell you Seongbuk-Dong has two faces, the past and present. Also, it has the poor and rich. Panjachon, the village that is full of houses with a bad roof for a living, is a symbol of the poor and also it represents the 1970s of undeveloped Korea. There are two ways to go to Bukjeong Maeul. The first way is taking the small bus that circulates for only some parts of Seongbuk-Dong. It will be easy and cheap but you may get a headache or something to have to be endured. Bukjeong Maeul is located at high altitude. So the bus goes up with high tension. But imagine when you arrive at! You can see a scenery of all around of Seongbuk-Dong. I swear lovely viewpoint is everywhere you step by. Another one is on foot, but I don’t want to recommend this. If you are good at walking and proud of your health, you can be willing to walk to get there.
It is really ironical to see a poor village on the rich side. The rich always look down on the poor and in contrast, the poor can see a rich and beautiful village. What do you think about this phenomenon? Surely good enough to ‘live’ in rich side of this city. Modernism and something new is good but we should prevent it not to disappear everything passed by. Please do not forget it to need the old things for developing and protecting our heritage from now on. Also, keep in mind you are the one who remembers these, please.
Coexistence of Religion
There are many temples and a church in Seongbuk-Dong. This is surrounded by mountains and a wall of a castle. So it’s good for temples to be located at. I thought to have temples and a church together is coexistence in terms of religion. There are Gilsangsa, Jeongbeobsa, and other various temples near Korean Furniture Museum. If you have much time, I recommend you to take a walk at sunset of days.
How lovely places and tasty foods in this city! You can be healed by everything you meet by chance. I’m sure that one day in Seongbuk-Dong will change your mind about Seoul.