I had a wonderful and pleasant time in the Hapjeong area of Mapo-gu yesterday. This is the side of Hongdae that is further away from the University, bars and clubs. I think I have been here before, but never really explored it as much as I did this time. I had a great time seeing the cute cafes and the contemporary feel of it all.
First off I was hungry for some lunch and after browsing my options decided on FranKY's located along the main inner road from exit 4. My order was the pastrami sandwich that was to be "frank" the most amazing sandwich I have ever had in Korea!
Why was this a fantastic sandwich? For one all the ingredients were fresh and super tasty. The pastrami wasn't piled on high, which would make the sandwich hard to eat. Also it had a great dark peppery taste to it and was just salty enough. Fresh and crisp cheese along with sauteed onions and a homemade relish made this even more divine. The side of fresh lettuce with a balsamic vinaigrette was also fresh and light. Altogether this was definitely worth the 12,000 Won I shelled out for it, and now I am enticed by the other items on their menu including fresh burgers and an avocado chicken sandwich.
In addition to the great food the atmosphere at FranKY's was also very pleasant. Jazz was playing over head which was a thankful contrast to the usual K-pop heard throughout Korean restaurants. It helped that it was a warm Fall afternoon with cool breezes blowing by, making the dining area feel light and airy. In essence, if you are traveling to the Hapjeong area I would highly recommend a stop by at FranKY's.
Not really sure where to go I meandered around this main street before heading off down smaller alleyways. Here I enjoyed finding a cupcake shop. However, as cute as these cakes looked I think they weren't as fresh as I would want them to be.
As you all know by now the Cafe craze has picked up in Korea, with not just the big chains dominating street corners but small-business types that decorate their shops with cuteness and uniqueness.
This next place was called, "Five tables" and I am going to guess that maybe they just have five tables.
Mostly I loved strolling along and seeing the odd displays out front or decorations around the cafes.
As I moved closer to where this area starts to melt with Hongdae I ran into a design gallery called, UngddungSang. It looked like something was going on as several guys with large cameras were waiting out front, so I took a peek inside.
There was a gallery space on the basement floor exhibiting a Hangeul text design show, which was fun to look at.
One creative design was using Hangeul in shoes, definitely a very whimsical feeling.
When I left the exhibit a few black cars rolled up and men with earpieces stood around it. Then a man and woman came out, were photographed and escorted into the building. I have no clue who these people were, but am guessing very high profile folks. Maybe a large donor to the exhibit or space...perhaps the owner? Ah I'll never know.
I'll finish this post with a restaurant discovery I made while heading back to the subway station. I have other photos and places to put up, which I'll do later. But for now I want to mention that I think Hawaiian food is becoming a new craze here. I found several Hawaiian themed restaurants as I wondered around, the following one took the cake.
Called, Bonjour Hawaii this place was mostly fascinating in its design. What captivated me was the sign on the top of the building that looked like it was ripped off from American diner and planted here. Everything about this place seemed like it was thoughtfully recreating a beach scene in Hawaii.
However if you read the signs carefully who can see the English mistakes, which place you in Korea. After checking out the pics on Foursquare I am definitely enticed to try some of their meals. If anyone wants to come along, hey let's go!
Actually I think the new trend for restaurant entrepreneurs here is to buy up a "Villa" style home, then redo it into a restaurant. That's what the original Vatos in Itaewon did, and I think it's something catching on elsewhere. For one this definitely gives the restaurant more space, more outdoor seating and also some charisma.
Map for a better understanding of this area...