On one of those days in Seoul, I went to look for the area recommended by a colleague, Anguk. This is actually a neighbourhood nearby the palace, and is walkable from the Anguk subway station on the Orange line (Line 3), although it is quite a walk from the station to the right exit, and then again from the station it takes a bit of time to walk as well. So try to do it when the weather is fine, but I did it when it was a fairly warm day, despite that there was the occasional breeze.
Based on what I’d read online, this is quite a well-known area for interesting cafes, where I had seen many nice pictures posted of the cafes as well as their offerings. However, I didn’t get to try any of them since I already had my breakfast and coffee before I went, as the shops there don’t open till after 10am, the earliest. It was still quite a good walk though, and the next time, I can make it a point to pop by and stop by one of the cafes!
This is the “entrance” to the area, based on the way that I walked from the palace. You can already spot bakeries and cafes on this main street but they are of course the larger and more commercialised ones perhaps.
As you delve deeper into the area and branch out to the side alleys, you will discover more shops and cafes, some of which look rather promising on the outside with their decor. But I wouldn’t know how their coffee and food would be like until the time when I finally get to try some of them.
There is really a great variety in terms of the kinds of design they have, whether the cafe is decorated in a country style, modern style or like this one below, retaining the traditional look of the building they occupy.
Another shop, not a cafe, but a clothing shop, that actually bothered decorating its exterior too. I think they also have an art gallery of sorts within, which probably explains why. And near this place, there are also various museums and galleries so that’s another possible reason.
The area is quite popular with locals as well as tourists I gather, but the crowds were manageable when I was there, possibly due to the timing that was late morning to noon (and that was why it was so hot) and also as it was a weekday. As I was exploring the area, I caught a whiff of extraordinarily nice aroma that led me to very rustic-looking, small cafe, where they were in the midst of roasting coffee beans. It was just indescribable, the amazing scent that permeated the atmosphere of the surroundings that brought me to it and I totally understood why people can love coffee so much. Ok, it is just the smell here and not even the taste that I am getting into, but I am only usually more familiar with the nice aroma of coffee being brewed, but this coffee roasting smell… it’s wonderful.
I used to play Cookie Run on my iPhone when I purchased my very first iPhone years ago, and that’s why I recognised this character, and in the flesh! Haha. It didn’t look as cute as the character in the game but it was still quite a funny idea to see a human-sized gingerbread man cookie walking about on the streets of Seoul, though I really empathise with the person inside who is wearing that thick heavy gear!