Visiting Korea - Food, beauty, and photography

14 Oct 2018

Can I say that this post is completely irrelevant to any tech news whatsoever?

Ok let me try to make this at least a little techy:

Wifi

If you are in Seoul for just a short holiday and don’t really need the internet often, I’d argue that it is not necessary to pay more for a data plan here. Most of the restaurants or even some shops offer free wifi! Same at train stations, and large department stores as well. So if you’re on a budget and are willing to put up with intermittent breaks without wifi - you don’t need to get a data plan there!

Be sure to download your offline maps and all before you leave any wifi zone!


on to the (first) main point of this post: FOOD!

I just need to share this because honestly, we found it not so easy to find updated blogs in 2018 about what food to eat in Seoul…

I did not see these blogs before I went, unfortunately:

https://www.willflyforfood.net/2017/12/30/korean-food-guide-22-must-eat-restaurants-in-seoul-south-korea/#jung

https://www.mysuitcasejourneys.com/2016/12/09/seoul-food-guide/#

Also, I stayed at Myeongdong (shoutout to L7! book early and it is more affordable. So convenient!)so if you are staying there too, you’ll find this list especially helpful - I hope!

If you are in Seoul and are wondering what to eat, check out my list below~


1. Gosame (MUST EAT) aka Gosami

Address: 38 Yonsei-ro 7an-gil, Sinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Nearest train station: Sinchon

Opens daily, 11am to 10pm

https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g294197-d12030511-Reviews-Gosame-Seoul.html

https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/244288893/gosame/?hl=en

This place is amazing - the fish is crazy fresh, tender, grilled to perfection. I kid you not. Life changing. You HAVE to eat the fish. Squid was not too impressive somehow (perhaps we were unlucky?)

2. Yukjeon Sikdang (MUST EAT)

Address: 16, Nangye-ro 30-gil, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 02586, South Korea

Nearest train station: Sinseoldong

Opens daily, 11am to 11pm

https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g294197-d12404343-Reviews-Yukjeon_Sikdang_1st-Seoul.html

https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/380272825769720/yukjeon-sikdang/

Another mind blowing place - best pork BBQ ever. Seriously, the pork is good quality, huge chunks, and great service.

3. Myeongdong Gyoza

Address: 29 Myeongdong 10-gil, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Nearest train station: Myeongdong

Opens daily, 1030am to 930pm

https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g294197-d1196214-Reviews-Myeongdong_Kyoja_Main-Seoul.html

https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/528509387508254/myeondong-kyoja/

This place grows on you. It’s not mind blowing from the start, but it’s good comfort food and we keep going back… dumplings are good, kimchi is really good (very garlicky) and friends love the buckwheat noodle.

4. Jaedong Sundubu

Address: 6 Bukchon-ro 2-gil, Gahoe-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Nearest train station: Anguk

Opens daily (closed on public holidays I believe!), 11.30am - 3.30pm, 4.30pm - 10pm

https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g294197-d6960479-Reviews-Jaedong_Sundubu-Seoul.html

https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/1792237427725045/jaedong-sundubu/

Pure comfort food - sundubu which is soft tofu stew was tasty. This is a traditional sort of korean restaurant. Help yourselves to the free refill of side dishes, take only what you can finish!

5. Hyung Nim Jeo Yo

Address: 36, Eoulmadang-ro, Mapo-gu 1f 2f, Seoul 04053, South Korea

Nearest train station: Hongik University

https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g294197-d4073259-Reviews-Hyung_Nim_Jeo_Yo-Seoul.html

https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/251970068/hyung-nim-jeo-yo/?hl=en

Beef bbq that is yummy and affordable - other places tend to be quite pricey. If we want beef bbq, this is the place to go! Self service cooking.

6. Shim Seun Tang aka Simpson Tang

Address: 2-3 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Nearest train station: Myeongdong

https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g294197-d11773600-Reviews-Simseuntang-Seoul.html

https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/1606393136123718/

Yummy army stew! Two person portion with two noodles fed four of us, including a pan of spicy stir-fried pork.

7. Shake Shack

Address: 18-12 Gwanghui-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Nearest train station: Dongdaemun

https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g294197-d12639413-Reviews-Shake_Shack_Doota-Seoul.html

https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/495082400874953/shake-shack/

If your home country doesn’t have Shake Shack, try this out! The burgers are really juicy and yummy. Take the basic burger, make it a double patty. Yum.

8. Premium Jjimdak

Address: 54-1 Myeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Nearest train station: Myeongdong

https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/1022470194/premium-jjimdak/

Sounds dodgy but the soy sauce chicken stew was actually really good! Quality ingredients, and also not excessively spicy. We didn’t get to try Bongchu Jjimdak or Andong Jjimdak, but if you want to, go for it!

Bonus: Grilled chicken skewer and fishcake soup

Nearest train station: Ewha Women’s University Exit 2

When you come out of exit 2, follow where everyone is walking (I believe, make a left?) to the main street towards Ewha Women’s University. At the beginning of the street is a street side food stall selling grilled chicken skewers and fish cake soup. A unique feature of her stall is that there is a crab shell sitting atop her spicy fish cake soup. Her chicken skewers are the best. The spicy seafood soup with fishcake is great too. Try it!!


Other note-worthy food:

Those that I didn’t try but heard was good:

Decent food we ate but nothing to shout about:

To avoid:


and beyond food now…

BEAUTY! eyelash extensions

If you want to do eyelash extensions in Seoul, try Urbane.D, she speaks english, and is really nice! It’s at Ewha Women’s University. Take Exit 5, turn left once you come out, turn right at the first lane, and you should see a banner on the ground floor. It is in the same location as a tanning studio. Costs 50,000 won to do black lashes, 60,000 won for dark brown or brown lashes. It was my first time doing extensions, she was great and it didn’t hurt one bit. I did a JC curl, 9-11mm. Email her for an appointment in advance, at zicoco0826@naver.com. You can also check out their instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/urbane_d/

After that, buy mascara combs at Daiso for just 1,000won! You’d be surprised how many comestic shops I had to comb through (pun intended lol) to no avail, until I went into Daiso and got 8 combs!!

Masks

Also if you are buying masks in Seoul, I heard Dr Jart+ is good and is cheaper (New York brand but made in Korea!). Olive Young has 1+1 sales (buy one get one free) sometimes, and they have on the spot tax refund (if you spend over 30,000 won) for convenience.


Photography!!

Now, if you are looking for a freelance photographer (as opposed to studios) to help you take pre-wedding shots in Seoul, Korea, you are in luck! Cause I did the research beforehand lol

These guys are professionals, and fall around the range of $400 USD to $800 USD for 1 to 3 hours. Email them directly for their rates!

Now, I went for another alternative (I’m price-conscious, see): SweetEscape

This is an indonesian startup by the famous Axioo photography team in Indonesia (these guys are really good, specialising in wedding photography) that connects you with freelance photographers in each country. These photographers (not necessarily Indonesians, or professionals) are interviewed by the team, and after the photos are taken, they are sent back to headquarters for post-processing. disclaimer: I have no benefit writing all these, I was just curious and asked my photographer about how the startup works LOL

It was $400 USD for 2 hours, 40 photos for my package in Seoul, but I used $50 USD referral credits, AND stacked a UOB card discount on top of it, so I got additional discount and additional 30 photos. I got mine from a random forum - otherwise you can use my code (which I will benefit from hehe): https://www.sweetescape.com/en/referral/YN5AR

Moral of the story is, wait for more discounts before you book haha

Supposedly they will send your photos for download after 3 working days - hope I’ll get mine soon!! One working day has passed… lol

My photographer was Bryando (he’s currently studying in Seoul) - it’s my first ever photo taking session, it was great (we went to Haneul Park) and from what we saw of some of the shots he showed us, it looks promising…!!! We’ll see ;)

Honestly it was tiring just to pose for 2 hours of photos, I don’t know how people do 2 DAYS of photo-taking…


Other random hacks! Tax refunds

You don’t have to do long queues at the airport - if you are at say Myeongdong or Hongdae and you spot the kind tourist guides (dressed in red), ask them if there are kiosks or counters nearby the area where you can do your refunds.

Hanbok rentals

Walk around the palaces and you will see Korean traditional rental costumes for 10,000 won for 2 hours, or 15,000 won. If you wear it, you get to enter the palaces for free (costs 3,000 won otherwise), including the secret garden. Different places have different quality of hanboks, and it seems some places do your hair as well…? I went for the cheapest option oops :p so no extra services