Myeongdong is one of the neighborhoods you absolutely must visit when in Seoul. Mostly a shopping district, the area is young and vibrant and has a ton of fun stores, plus weird -but delicious- street food. Spend an afternoon of people-watching, window-shopping and munching on fun (and sometimes cute!) snacks and it’ll be obvious why Myeongdong is such an awesome district to hang out in.
Here’s my tour of the neighborhood in photos.
There are tons of quirky little shops, from big brands to more independent ones. The district is a South Korean girl’s heaven since there are so many skincare stores – Koreans are obsessed with skin products!
Myeongdong is the perfect place to get your ice cream fix. There are ice cream parlors at every corner.
These gigantic ice cream cones can be found at a few kiosks: about a foot of ice cream fitting in a tiny cone. Yes please!
Even crazier: these twirling yellow things are actually ice cream cones, waiting to be filled with ice cream. Hurray!
Apart from ice cream, there are plenty of street food options that can be found everywhere in Myeongdong. This is Gimbap, one of Seoul’s most popular street food. Like a sushi without fish, and with sesame seeds spread on it. 4-5 bites cost 1500₩ (about 1.70$CDN). Ask nicely and you might get 6! (I asked nicely.)
Weirder street food finds include Korean french fry hot dogs (spot them in the back), and all things sausage. Ice cream and sausage seem to be Seoulites’ obsessions.
But we still gotta try it, right? So we did. I stuck with gimbap, but this guy seemed happy to snack on meat on a stick. To be honest, I thought Seoul’s street food would we a bit healthier. Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the worst sugar-addicts you’ll encounter on this planet, so I’m not really a good health advocate. However, I was surprised to see so much fried street food that, frankly, didn’t look very tasty. I stayed away from those tteokbokki (떡볶이), a sort of pasty rice cake that looks like a finger, drowned in the reddest, spiciest sauce. I guess these very literal egg buns exist to absorb the spicy sweats caused by tteokbokki?
Deep-fried dough is not really my thing, but donuts are. Especially when they’re sold in such cute spaces, with even cuter artwork. Also: Seoul’s donuts seem a lot friendlier than that mean-looking burger, don’t you think?
But Myeongdong’s highlight in terms of street food has got to be ice cream. South Koreans really go out of their way to impress us ice cream fanatics. Actually, it’s not even ice cream, it’s ice milk. Softree is a chain that has a few outlets around Seoul. They have top-notch design, but most importantly, they have vanilla softserve ice milk with honeycombs. Yuuuummm.
If the ice cream and the twirling cones and the fry and the donuts and the bubble bath don’t convince you to hang out in this really cool district, then I don’t know what will!
To get to Myeongdong, take the subway’s Line 4 (pale blue) to Myeong-dong station, or Line 2 (green) to Euljiro 1-ga.
Coming up on the blog, more posts about my short time in Seoul: art, design and tons of cute coffee shops!