What to eat, see and do in Seochon Village
Seochon is one of the longest standing neighbourhoods in Seoul. It still very much takes it essence from the Joseon era. Seochon starts from the western gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace and stretches out to Mt.Inwang. There is a lot of small villages squeezed in between these points of interest. In Seochon, you can see that there is huddles of traditional Korean house found all along the small alleys and that have stood over 500 years. There is charming and attractive cafes, galleries, boutique shops and restaurants hidden all over the place. Take your time walking around here, there is something hidden away down the alleyway.
Tosokchon Samgyetang (토속촌 삼계탕):
You can find this traditional restaurant if you come out of exit 5 of Gyeongbokgung station and just walk around a little bit. Normally there will be long queues here especially at lunchtime or dinnertime. Famous thanks to the frequent visits by the former president No Moo Hyun. Whenever Koreans from another region of Korea come to Seoul, they usually make an effort to try this place out at least once. Every ingredient comes from farms in Korea. The restaurant is a converted Hanok (Korean traditional house). The healthy taste of ginseng, garlic and other goodness inside the chicken will convince you the dish is worth the price. There is also haemul pajeon (seafood pancake) and tongdak (roast chicken) on the menu. Expect to pay 15,000won for a bowl of samgyetang.
Wonjo Halmeoni Tteokkbokki (원조 할머니 떡볶이):
Found in the middle of Tong-in Market. There is 2 kinds of tteokbokki made here, spicy pepper sauce and soy sauce. This snack bar is popular with both locals and tourists since you can’t really find tteokbokki like this anywhere else. Firstly the tteokkbokki is a small size than the common one. And secondly, there is also the ‘gireum tteokkbokki’, which the owners recommends that you eat in 2’s or 3’s for a more enjoyable taste. 1 serving of tteokkbokki is 3,00won. Also it is not very spicy, so try not to shy away from trying it at least once. This snack bar has also been on Korean TV quite a few times.
Hyoja Bakery (효자베이커리):
A neighbourhood bakery that only uses old, traditional methods. It also is known for delivering bread The Blue House ( think South Korea’s version of ‘The White House’). They have donuts, croquette and bagels. Check out this place if you crave bread and wanna try some Korean-style bread. This place has nearly 30 years of experience making bread. The bread is inexpensive, so pick up a variety of breads to try.
An ownerless café! All you have to do is put 5,000won in a red mailbox (think of it as a cultural fee) and you can enjoy a free gallery and a café where you serve yourself. All the drinks and snacks are free to eat from the snack bar in the room. Read, drink and chill all to your own speed.
Aux Petites Verres (오 쁘띠 베르):
A European style café famous for its tasty and distractingly beautiful tarts and beers direct from Belgium. The café is owned and run by a semi-final winner of Master Chef Korea. The inside is small, petite and pleasant on the eye décor makes for a comfortable atmosphere. The lemon tarts should be the first tart you ever try here. The sweet and sour taste is the best thing you will taste all week. You have chocolate tart, fruit tart also to try. 5,000won and upwards for a nice time here. Expect an authentic taste with anything you order here.
Flower and Café Do (플라워&카페두):
A Hanok style Korean home that has been remodelled into a flower themed café found nearby Gyeongbokgung Palace. This place is packed with greenery and you will know what I mean once you take your first step into the establishment. With various plants that please your eyes and smells that calm you down. The earthenware, ceramics and pots give the room a great vibe that is hard to match. A great spot to enjoy a spot of grey in a city full of grey. Coffee is about 4,000won and upwards.
Goyangyi Moonbanggu (고양이 문방구):
A stationary store that isn’t of the norm. It is an offline shop of the design brand,’Yulmaru’. They sell customized notebooks, where you get to choose the spring to your liking and even which book cover you want. The store makes the notebook to your preferences. The vintage stationery with cat designs and enjoy the various stamps on the samples of postcards and notebooks on the shelves.
J.Dae O Bookstore (대오서점):
A bookstore that remains the same for over 60 years. This store is run by a grandmother that welcomes each visitor to her store with a sweet smile. There is plenty of faded book covers that will confirm any doubts you have about how old this bookstore is. The vibe here could be something totally new to you. And the watermelon juice store next store is run by her grandson. How about a watermelon juice and a stroll through history in the bookstore?
Namdo Bunsik (남도 분식):
A great place where you can try various snacks and fried lettuce!? A local specialty from the region of Gwangju. The interior is more akin to a café than restaurant. With an open kitchen, you can see the whole process of how your meal is being prepared. Prices are about 4,000won and up. You got lunchboxes too available, either beef bulgogi or pork bulgogi. But make sure to test your taste buds with the fried lettuce.
When Buckwheat Flower Meets Bloom (메밀 꽃 필 무렵):
A folksy style restaurant where you can enjoy the taste of buckwheat noodles with pancakes made of buckwheat. There is only 5 dishes on the menu and for good reason, they are made exceedingly well. There is regulars who eat here often thanks to the great taste. The buckwheat pancake (maemil boochim) is a must for your first order. Goes great with the noodles. Prices start from 7,000won and up.
Seochon Maru (서촌 마루):
This place offers a class of experiencing arts and crafts of ‘hanji’. Hanji is traditional Korean paper. There is also miniature props and you can try playing the ‘daeguem’ ( a large bamboo drum). There is also an in-house store to purchase items made with Korean traditional paper. Also there is goods from India on sale, which adds to an already exotic interior. Overall, a great spot to learn more about Korean culture. Good for first time visitors to Korea.
Seochon is full of little alleyways here, there and everywhere. You could possibly end up finding your own little gem of a place that isn’t on this list. If you are adventurous, then Seochon is a wonderful place for you. And even if you are one of those who prefer to follow travel guides and what bloggers recommend then Seochon is still gonna be a lot of fun for you. Going at the weekend or around dinnertime is highly recommended to enjoy the atmosphere.