The Only Place In Hongdae That Is Calm – Yeonnam-dong
When you think of Hongdae, you think clubs, drinking, partying and so on but there is another side to the personality of Hongdae that doesn’t come to mind straight off the bat. The place is Yeonnam-dong which is thought of as the quieter part of Hongdae. There is real local residents here, Artists though have recently shone a light on the village and so cause of that Yeonnam-dong is a blend of reality and imagination. A co-existence of sorts. There is many unique shops and small cafes in Yeonnam-dong that attract a great deal of attention. Go and check them out when you need a breather from the hectic night life of Hongdae.
Café General Doctor (제너럴닥터):
This spot in Yeonnam-dong is both a café and clinic all in one. Already sounds unique and a bit weird right? Two young doctors are running this place and they offer treatment while you enjoy your coffee in a safe atmosphere. Making a reservation in advance might be a wise decision. You can studying, hang out or even play with the cute café cats. Try the homemake cheese cake. Coffee is about 4,300won per cuppa and a slice of cake costs 3,500won.
Soi Yeonnam (소이연남):
A Thai restaurant located in Yeonnam-dong. The famous items on the menu are beef noodle soup, beef soup with rice and soi spring roll. The place is cosy with only 8 tables in the place. It is a popular spot so people queuing is a common sight. The restaurant closes from 15.30 to 17.00 for break. Take note of that. The beef noodle soup is about 7,500won, Beef soup with rice is about 8,000won and the soi spring rolls are 11,000won. All are worthy of a taste test at the very most. The restaurant is famous for this dishes in particular.
A Japanese Restaurant for you to check out in Yeonnam-dong. The Curry rice and curry udong are pretty tasty. The prices of dishes are quite reasonable at 5,000won ~ 5,500won. For a simple Japanese dining experience, Himeji offers a great chance to do just that. The interior of the joint is quite small with a bar and 3 tables. Somehow akin to an actual Japanese restaurant in Japan.
A small,dinky like café in Yeonnam-dong famous for its Turkish coffee. This place is a beacon of calm. The calmness of the café is a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of most coffee shops you see on the main street. The coffee is hand dripped and with 5 tables on hand. Since its a fresh cuppa, a wait of 10 minutes is common. Turkish coffee is 4,000won and the hand drip coffee is only 4,000won.
Coyote Saloon (코요테 살룬):
A bar with pizza? Or shall we call it a pizza bar? This American Gastro pub comes highly recommended in some circles. Pizza with your friends or loved ones, Are you able to share? The atmosphere of the establishment is cozy and comfortable which makes that pizza go down so much more smoothly. The grape salad is 14,000won, pizza is 17,000won and a mojito will set you back 9,500won. The pizza is great. The salad is a popular item and even the cottage cheese salad is a worthy choice.
Coffee Libre (커피 리브레):
The café that comes to mind in most who have an idea of where and what Yeonnam-dong is all about. Famous for its Mexican wrestler theme. A small spot but incredibly busy despite there it only being a takeout coffee spot. There is no table, there is no seats. The Americano is the premier item on offer here. All the coffee on the menu is 4,000won and if you wish for some chocolate then it’s only 6,000won. The word ‘libre’ can be seen all over the place and even on your cup. The artwork is awesome.
Bread Lab (브레드랩):
A famous bakery you can find in Yeonnam-dong. They have basic items on the menu like ciabatta and baguettes. The price is decent and there is plenty of places to sit down and enjoy the bread with your drink. There are 2 rooms and a terrace which are used as the sitting area. Obviously there is a drinks menu too, you can have your coffee, tea, shake or juice. There is some green tea pastries on the menu also. A scone is 2,800won, ciabatta 2,500won and milk cream is 1,800won. Quite the trendy spot.
Pinokio Bookshop (책상 피노키오):
A small bookshop that sells mostly picture books. The selection is not only limited to Korean books. Japanese and English versions are available too. Well worth a look to see the artistic side of Yeonnam-dong. There is children’s books to books for adults too. Well worth a look when you are taking a stroll after that cup coffee or lunch.
Hyang Mi (향미):
A Taiwanese Restaurant in Yeonnam-dong. The Taiwanese pork cutlet, uyuktang noodle and menbosha are all famous items on the menu. The menbosha especially should attract your attention the most. It is a fried shrimp sandwich, which isn’t easy to find in other chinese restaurants around Korea. You will find Hyang Mi nearby to the street with many Chinese restaurants on it. The Uyuktang Noodle is 7,000won, Taiwanese pork cutlet is 6,000won and the menbosha is 30,000won.
A favourite for residents and locals You can see them dining regularly there. Though it has several items to enjoy, the mandu is what it is known for. Their kajibokkeum (가지볶음) is just the right amount of crispiness and crunch to it. Mandu is about 6,000won per serving. The eggplant too is something you should get. It is simple fantastic.
Something Out (썸딩아웃):
A camping café which doubles by selling camping equipment. It also sells fancy products like coffee mills, figures, clothes and more. In the centre, there is one huge square table where you can enjoy your coffee. And in the middle of the table is a stove. This café is closed every 2nd and 4th weekend of each month.
Cycle de leau (씨클드로):
A shop that sells cactuses. You can find it in the basement. The shapes and sizes of the cactus vary. You can see ones that are as small as your finger to ones as big as a standing adult. Expect to pay about 10,000won or more to purchase one of these unique items.
Be New (비뉴):
A shop that deals in soap. The Korean word ‘비뉴’ sounds like ‘be new’ in English and that is how this shop got its name. There are various soaps on offer like goat milk soap, charcoal soap and more. Fragrant candles also are available, there is wisteria flower candle, white musk candle and again more to choose from. The Hawaiian candle is a noteworthy candle. There is also one-day classes on how to make soap. To find out more about it just click on their homepage: www.benew.co.kr.
This is only a small portion of what there is in Yeonnam-dong. A stroll around the village would be a afternoon well spent. Make sure to keep your eyes sharp. There is little gems scattered here and there all over the village. A welcome break from the other half of Hongdae can be found here in the calmer half of Hongdae.