On the second day of my Seoul trip, I went to Myeongdong. When I arrived in late morning, it started snowing, and made the streets wet~ Since it became a bit cold, I decided to go for something hot for brunch. I had no idea where to go, but saw people going inside a building, so followed. As it turned out, I walked into Gogung, an apparently famous franchise that specializes in Bibimbap and other more “stereotypical” Korean dishes. Because of its multilingual menu and advertisements, I would say it was a chain that caters to tourists more than locals.
I had, of course, the Bibimbap special and opted for the dolsot option, the one with cooked beef and stoneware bowl for the crispy rice bottom 🙂 They had the raw-beef and iron bowl option for those who wanted a more “traditional” experience, but I wanted something hot and liked my rice crispy so chose the cooked beef in stoneware. The set menu had a salad, two types of kimchi (one pepper-based and one vinegar-based), a sweet potato pancake (?), a briny/spicy fish cake side-dish, bean sprout soup, and the actual bibimbap. The mixed rice was actually quite delicious, but I found it hard to distinguish the different flavours and appreciate the individual elements as the stoneware made the rice so hot that my tongue went partially numb. The red kimchi was not too spicy so I finished that off too, even though it also contributed to numbing my tongue, lol~ The host kept looking at me the entire time I was eating (presumably because I was sweating profusely and fanning myself like a piggy), and noted that the dish was probably very spicy for me. I was a little embarrassed because of how much I stood out: Not only was I a solo traveller, but a girl who had no shame in chowing down by myself >.< Other customers kept glancing at me, probably wondering what this little girl was doing all by her little self munching on this hot bowl of rice and fanning herself like crazy during the process… Oh, well~
After finishing every last bit, I went off to roam the streets. Everywhere I went there were skincare shops all full of shoppers and salespeople passing out facial masks to try to lure customers. It was a bit daunting, but I managed to get myself a good number of sample masks, mwahaha~ I also found the Seoul Cultural Center and tried on the traditional Korean robe, which was quite fun, even though admittedly I looked very condescending and dazed in most of my photos because of the angle, haha~
To be honest, I was more interested in the food, and found the 20cm soft-serve ice cream and the street eats more interesting than the skincare products 🙂 I already knew more or less what the ice cream and fish sticks tasted like, so I opted for the rose ice cream with yogurt and strawberry flavours~ It was supposedly a one-day special for 3500 won a cone, but I had an inkling it was a perpetual special aimed to dupe the tourists. A few days later, when I returned, the special was still on, lol =.=;
Then, I went to the Catholic church and spent some time praying for school and for my beloved ^o^
Before I left for the North Seoul Tower, I had the cream-cheese flavoured Myeongdong doughnut, yum~! It was like the 揚げパン (agepan/fried bread) in Japan in that it was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The cream cheese tasted a bit like condensed milk and was overall a sweet experience~
I then took a short taxi ride to the cable car and went up to the tower. The ride was well worth it not only for the view but also because it saved my energy from having to climb hundreds of stairs – I simply could not do so after a whole day’s of walking!
Up on the tower I participated in the romantic ritual of locking away one’s love~ I bought a couple’s lock and “locked” mine and his away at the very top ~.^
There were things to do up at the tower. You could go shopping for souvenirs, eat at the Westernized restaurants, or visit the inside of the tower. I simply roamed around and took pictures of things~ The view was gorgeous at sunset, and the walk down was lovely too 🙂
I took the cable car back down as it was too dark to walk the stairs, but walked the rest of the way down back to Myeongdong where I bought some local souvenirs, including ginseng, seaweed, and citrus tea. I bargained of course, and got a great price (which I checked against the street vendors to make sure) 🙂
I was hungry by then and sampled some street foods, including the flamed scallop and grilled octopus~ The scallop was soooo yum yum >.< What the vendor did was grill it first in a huge dallop of butter. Then, as it boiled in butter, he covered the top with corn and shredded cheese and started to use the flamethrower to char/cook the scallop. Finally, he doused the scallop with sauce and mayo~ I did not care too much for the sauce but loved the scallop~ At 8000 won it was a bit pricey, but at least the scallop was fresh~!
In the underground market I had some custard-cakes. Apparently it was a famous little shop I found that sold these custard-cakes. What made it popular was that it was made fresh so that the custard inside was still hot. The cake-base and custard were nothing spectacular and the taste was quite common, in my opinion, but it was a novelty for many which made it very popular amongst tourists~
I was still hungry after I went back to the guesthouse so went back to the 24hr-restaurant from the first night. Lol, this time, the store lady was prepared for me and I ordered the yellow pollock hangover soup with no problem. The side dishes were the same as before, only the soup was different. With the bowl of rice, it filled me up and prepared me well for beddy time after a full day ^o^