Apr 4, 2017
Beyond the crowded mega malls of Dongdaemun, Seoul’s got plenty of charming hidden spots. Sip an artisanal brew in a cafe housed in a former shoe factory, or visit an ancient temple surrounded by modern buildings.
1. Anthracite Coffee Roasters
In a city with cafes on every block, Anthracite Coffee Roasters is a gem in the rough. Named after a type of coal, this java joint was set up in a former shoe factory and roasts its own beans from around the world.
2. Gyeonghuigung Palace
Scattered throughout central Seoul are five royal palaces from the Joseon era, Korea’s last dynasty. The smallest and least-visited is the western palace, Gyeonghuigung. Though it was originally much larger, the present version of the palace has a compact charm of its own.
3. Jungbu Market
Though it is overshadowed by its neighbour, the huge, sprawling Gwangjang Market, Jungbu Market is worth visiting to browse the mind-boggling variety of fish and seafood products that end up on Seoulites’ dining tables. The covered market stretches several city blocks.
4. Majung bar
The fine fermented flavours of the country all come together at Majung (29 Gwanghun-dong, Jongno-gu), a makgeolli (an alcoholic beverage made of fermented rice) bar tucked away in an alley in Insa-dong, a neighbourhood known for its craft stores and galleries. Makgeolli goes well with savoury side dishes like haemuljeon (seafood pancakes; above).