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IMG_0257Galleria Department Store, Apgujung-Dong, Seoul :  Filled with Korean designers and also international designers as Louis Vuitton and all. The Facade covered with giant metal disks are impressive.

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Paris to Tokyo to Seoul. It’s getting into week 2 now and  this is our last stop for this trip and we are excite to learn about the city. Personally I only started exploring Seoul since the late last year, and it has been pleasant surprise and eye opening for me to re discover my home city where I was born, and I must say it has been hell out of good time and much inspiration I get every time I’m in Seoul, so I am only thankful that I get to do this quite often.

Apgujung-dong was already trendy and popular area then ( south side of Han River since the mid 80′s) to all the hipsters, teen agers and beautiful good looking people chasing the newest trend in fashion and food culture.  I still hear the Apgujung-dong is quite popular. Is it the most inspiring?  I’ll say ” No” to that but if you ever visit Seoul, You want to check it out. There is a trendy street called ‘ Rodeo’ after the famous fashion street in L.A and there are ton of cafes and bars for entertaining.

IMG_0254Korean peeps looove coffee. And every place me and Cynthia dropped by were delicious. There’s a big chain” Coffee Bean” from L.A and also “Star Bucks” as well but also there are million places of independent coffee shops with all the charm and great ideas.

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Then we had stopped for a lunch at ” Gaeh Wa Ok” in this area. Concierge at Park  Hyatt in Seoul had suggested for their clean and hearty traditional Korean food. I’m already liking the store front.  A traditional Pine on the side and simple wood and iron decor is quite chick and beautiful. ( It’s located right off the Rodeo Street)

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IMG_0239White cloth covered chairs become the focal point of this restaurant. Simple and serene wall almost feels like a gallery space.

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IMG_0234The menu.

IMG_0235While waiting for the food, a bottle of water and a brass bowl  containing a humble steamed corn, sweet potato and garlic is served. The table looks like props arranged for a painter to start his still. And typical hot towels for the customers to refresh before their meal. 

IMG_0244Clear Dikon ( radish) kimchi . Not spicy at all. Got clean and refreshing taste. Miso paste to dip fresh cucumber sticks and loose cabbage wraps. Miso paste also works as touch of garnish for any kind of wraps.

IMG_0245Restaurants in Korea love to slice things on the table. It’s typical to see  waiters using kitchen scissors to do so. This applies to cut noodles, BBQ meat or any other things on the table.

IMG_0246Now our ” Bossam” is ready.  Bossam was a treat for the family and a good excuse for Dads to go through a bottle of Soju when moms prepare for ” Kim Jang” : a tradition of big quantity Kim Chi making for long and cold Korean winter. Kim Jang was a good source to take fresh vegetable to survive cold winter especially back in the days where there wasn’t much of winter farming. Clockwise from the left top corner:Filling for Kim Chi with chilli, garlic, salt and other spices before it gets fermented. Pretty much left over from Kim Jang. A stack of salt pickled Korean cabbage ( all cabbages prepared this way before the filling is filled to make Kim Chi), Regular Kimchi with Sesame oil, a bowl of salt cured baby shrimp ( a garnish to add on to Bossam) and finally, the main guy, steamed Pork Belly.  How do you eat it? Take a piece of Salt picked cabbage, then a pice of meat, then bit of everything else all stacked up and a big bite out of it. It’s delicious! I believe Momofuku in NY is famous for this and also many restaurants in Korean Town serves this.

IMG_0250This is Soon Dae: kind of Korean sausage with clear noodles in. Steam and sliced and dip it in the simple rock salt with chili flakes or this restaurant also served it with Soy dip with bits of Scallion. Yum!

This restaurant is clean and simple with delicious hearty food! We had very much enjoyed the meal. Here for more info, www.gaewhaok.com

 

After a delicious lunch, Cythia And I headed out to Chungdam -Dong which is located right next to Apgujung-dong. Chungdam- dong is a quite fancy and rich area of Seoul with expensive residential homes and both international and Korean high end boutiques.

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IMG_0266A leather bags and accessories with silver jeweleries. A cool building.

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IMG_0273I find this last shop, “Boon The Shop”  as an ultimate high end and most beautiful store in Seoul. Apart from architectural beauty, We saw may be the most complete and well edited selection of Marni, Jason Wu, Balenciaga and everything else out of all 3 cities we had visited ( Paris, Tokyo and Seoul).  By the way, I really liked the Jason Wu for TSE line…!

It’s exciting to see how Seoul is changing and developing. Seoul is moving forward yet keeping beautiful traditions with  modern day twist. A good and tasteful twist. I like it. People go back and see where we had come from and are making the best out of it. Especially if you are an architect, you should really check out Seoul. A lot of interesting things are happening here in Seoul now!

 

Boon the Shop Address: Gang nam Gu 89-3 tel 542-8006, www.boontheshop.com



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  1. shannie on December 5, 2011 7:16 pm

    Wow…..I loved reading about SK. I hope to visit there one day, especially all these high end stores and nice restaurants. You obviously had a great time and South Korea has come very far and it’s developing really fast. In another 20 years, I cant even imagine how much more developed it’ll be.

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