Springin around Seoul Days 8 and 9: Last two days!? Eat all the Korean food!

Before I knew it, my week-long sojourn in Seoul was coming to an end. I had shopped lots and amassed enough Korean make-up supplies to last me the whole year. With that in mind, I decided to spend the last two days catching up with various groups of friends and eating all of the Korean food I loved. 

My second-last day in Korea fell on a Saturday, and I had arranged to meet Hyobin, a Korean girl I met on my Topdeck trip in Summer 2013. Being the chic girl that she was, she agreed readily to meet me at my now-favourite street, Garusogil

Grabbing a cuppa at Coco Bruni and people-watching as I waited for her. 

Before she came, I wandered around the street and came across a nail salon, Secret Nail. Unfortunately, as they didn't have any open slots, they asked me to come back a little later. So I went off to meet Hyobin first for lunch, and arranged to come back a little later. She wanted to bring me to a restaurant right in the middle of Garosugil that was owned by Psy's mother, Modern Bapsang.

We went at almost 3, hence the restaurant was already close to empty. Thankfully we got there right before they closed for their lunch break! 

The food was good and it wasn't too expensive either. Hyobin got the bill so I can't quite remember how much it cost. We had Kalbi and Ssambop, both of which are typical traditional Korean dishes. The only modern thing I can gather about the restaurant, as hinted at by it's name, is probably the interior. Once we were done with lunch, I headed to the nail salon. The lady on the left with the blond hair was the one who did my nails for me! 

I opted for gradient nails, which only cost me about 28,000krw with a quick manicure. So affordable and so gorgeous! I think if I were to have done it in SG, it would have easily been twice the price and time taken. I couldn't stop staring at my nails for almost a week after, and everyone I met complimented the colours too. A pity I didn't have more time, else I would have opted for Gelish, which wasn't too expensive there. After my manicure, I wanted to give Hyobin a treat back (she's younger than me so it felt really odd for her to be paying for me), so I suggested we check Gingko Avenue out. I had seen it when we were walking along the Garosugil street. 

See the purple shades? That's Gingko Avenue!

People-watching from our seat.

Hyobin wanted waffles and I wanted Patbingsoo (red bean shaved ice) so we came to a consensus)

Here's Hyobin!

We were really lucky to have gotten balcony seats. Since it was Spring, the weather was PERFECT for sitting out in the balcony, people watching, catching up, having our Patbingsoo and waffles. I felt like I really didn't want to leave Seoul at that point, if only all Saturdays could be that leisurely, chilling out at Garosugil over coffee and confectionery.

Towards the evening, I met up again with Jasmine and Weiling as we were supposed to meet up with some local friends who we got to know through Korean class.

There seems to be something about the Korean air (less humidity?) but it makes my skin look amazing without much editing. #humblebrag

We hung around at a random cafe which name I cannot recall again before we met up with the NUS people at Chez Maak, a modern fusion Korean restaurant also in the Sinsa-dong vicinity. When we went there, there was a long queue of people outside. We were lucky that we didn't have to wait long though.

See the greenish-blue drink at the table? that was recommended by our friend. The drink is a combination of Korean rice wine (Makkgeoli) with Curacao, a liquor with a blue tinge. It was really delicious, smooth and went along great with the crispy chives pancake that we ordered as a side. We also got seafood stew since one of our friends had a craving for it. Once again, you get a modern-looking restaurant with reinvented traditional Korean dishes.

We concluded the evening by going to a Noraebang, a Korean karaoke of sorts. Except this was one that also allows you to order food and drinks. For our group size of about 6, we had to order 2 dishes minimum. Everything else you see on the table is 'service' (free items). And yes, you can even boil ramyun while singing songs. How amazing is that. I know I was amazed. Ramyun goes really well with Soju by the way! 

We were out till the wee hours of the morning (of course, it was my last night in Korea and it was a Saturday). The next morning, we checked-out of our lovely Hongdae Air BnB apartment and deposited our luggages at a cafe right opposite. 

Our parting shot! The girls had a later flight in the evening. Mine was in the afternoon.

With my bags packed and deposited, there was only one thing I had left to do - to get a bowl of my favourite Seollangtang at Sinseon Seolnongtang. There used to be an outlet near where I lived, at Seoul National University subway station, and their Seollangtang was my best comfort food, for rainy days, cold, winter days and for days I felt sick and needed something warm to fill my tummy. I also loved how they would give me tonnes of radish as a side dish even if I ordered takeaway. 

Milky, hearty goodness in a bowl. This cost me about 7,000KRW. The barley tea and radish was complimentary and free-flow.

With my tummy filled, and my heart and mind filled with memories of my week in Seoul, I was finally ready to leave. 

You know, I always tell people I left my heart in Seoul. I still think that's true. Since spending my exchange there in 2010, a part of me will always be with Seoul. And every time I go back, I find myself missing it even more than before. Nonetheless, it felt good to finally be back after four years, to find out that while many structures and buildings have since changed, the country I loved was essentially still the same vibrant city with some of the kindest, warmest people. 

Till the next time, Seoul! 

Modern Bapsang
545-20 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Nearest subway station: Sinsa station (Exit #8)

Secret Nail
Level 3, Dong Young Building, 534-13 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu. Seoul, South Korea
Nearest subway station: Sinsa station (Exit #8)

Gingko Avenue
535-25 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Nearest subway station: Sinsa station (Exit #8)

Chez Maak

536-1 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Nearest subway station: Sinsa station (Exit #8)

Sinseon Seolnongtang (Seogyo branch) / 신선설농탕 (서교점)
354-1 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South KoreaNearest subway station: Hongdae station (Exit #9)

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