Got Dough?: Sweet and Savory Korean Breads

When many think of bread, the first that comes to mind is bread for sandwiches or other buns that are commonly used. Korea gives many breaded options from sweet to salty or even both in one! With the seemingly endless amount of street vendors and bakeries in Korea, it is your destiny to try one of these popular pastries and snacks.

For those with an unsatisfied sweet tooth, these pastries are sure enough to hit the spot:

  • Kkwabaegi (꽈배기)

Doughnuts are well-known around the world for many, but these doughnuts are the heart for many in Korea, especially as a snack for children returning from school. Kkwabaegi are twisted doughnuts coated with sugar and cinnamon. Made from braided wheat or glutinous rice flour and then deep fried in oil, they have a fluffy and spongy feel, making it easy to eat.

  • Hotteok (호떡)

The Korean pancake, hotteok, is said to have originated from Chinese merchants who immigrated to Korea in the 19th century. The dough is made from flour, water, milk, sugar and yeast; then shaped into handful-sized balls, filled with a sugary syrup, and finally pressed into a flat pancake frying them to perfection, making this pancake chewy and crispy. For better enjoyment, make sure to try this pastry in the winter!

  • Sora Bread (소라 빵)

This pastry is in the shape of a conch shell with chocolate or mocha filling. The outer shell is buttery and the filling is a creamy goodness that mixes well with the dough. Sora bread can be described as a soft and moist pastry being similar to cream puffs.

  • Hodugwaja (호두과자)

Also known as walnut cookies or walnut cakes, this pastry originated from Choneu, South Korea. Filled with walnuts and red bean paste. The outer dough is made from pounded, skinned walnuts and wheat flower giving this pastry the look of a walnut. Becoming popular in the 1970s, these pastries were sold in train stations and inside catering trolleys. Now being sold through Seoul and other cities in South Korea.

If you’d rather have a savory snack, these breads are just for you:

  • Sausage-ppang (소세지빵)

Just as the name implies, this bread includes sausage! The sausage is baked in the bread and covered with any of your desired toppings. Many say this bread is very similar to the flavour of a pizza, giving the dough a fluffy texture. It’s like a hot dog, but without the mess!

  • Gyeran-ppang (계란빵) – Egg Bread

This street snack is sold all throughout Korea, and has a sweet and fluffy taste, including a whole egg! It’s ideal for those who just need to have breakfast! Many common toppings on this treat are cheese, parsley and ham. Many vendors also use special machines in order to make plenty of these delicious buns all at once.

Whether you only knew about sandwich bread, French bread, or Mexican sweet bread, we hope these pieces of Korean bread were able to expand your knowledge! Korea has much to offer when it comes to baked goods, so make sure to keep these items in mind when visiting Korean bakeries. Which is a must try for you?

Written by Andrea Villarreal

South Korea’s Nature at its Finest

Even though we are living in a revolutionizing world, nature’s true beauty is still admired and appreciated by many individuals. In the unique country of South Korea, there are several natural wonders that are stunning and sensational. Since South Korea’s nature sites range from attractive mountains to large green landscapes, it is safe to say that it has a wide range of options for adventurous people to choose from. Even though it may take a while to explore all the sites it has to offer, South Korea’s natural beauty will shine through and leave one in complete awe and satisfaction. So, let us explore some of the nature-filled sites that guests can look forward to in South Korea!

  • The Garden of Morning Calm

Located in Gapyeong, The Garden of Morning Calm is an enchanting arboretum that hosts a variety of rare plants and  decorative themes throughout the year. With its vibrant colors and charm, it is safe to say that this garden is beyond beautiful and is perfectly designed. Therefore, it is impossible not to appreciate the nature-filled allure that The Garden of Morning Calm has to offer. Furthermore, if you come at the right time of the year, you will be able to experience a luminous view that is absolutely breathtaking! Overall, The Garden of Morning Calm is a perfect place for those who love nature, serene walkways, and a well-kept garden that displays Korean beauty.

  • Seoraksan National Park

Listed as a World Heritage Site, the Seoraksan National Park is one of Korea’s most beautiful and popular parks. Offering its visitors hiking opportunities along with scenic views, this park provides its guests with many fun-filled activities that they can indulge in. If you do not feel like hiking up the mountain to reach the infamous peak, there are affordable cable cars that will take you to viewing platforms and allow you to see the park from a different perspective. Aside from this, you can also take a walk by the lake, see the Buddha statue, and even visit some traditional temples. All in all, Seoraksan National Park’s natural beauty is a formidable force that will blow you away.

  • Jade Garden  

Due to its unique structure and design, the Jade Garden gives its visitors a European vibe. Boasting its own unique themes and flora, this garden creates a special environment for its guests by pulling them out of reality and into a fairytale European forest. Along with creating an excellent atmosphere, it is very well maintained and remains beautiful throughout the year. This garden is a perfect place for any aspiring photographers who want to obtain inspiring shots or nature-lovers who want to enjoy a scenic view. So, if you want to experience a change of pace that is filled with a lush green view, the Jade Garden will definitely provide you with the setting that you are looking for.

  • Naejangsan National Park

Providing its visitors with an unforgettable view, Naejangsan National Park is a popular destination for people who want to get a look at the crimson leaves in the fall. Aside from the scenic view that it has to offer, this park provides its visitors with access to beautiful waterfalls, traditional temples, and unique animals. Even though many people visit this park to view the crimson leaves, Naejangsan National Park is also worth a visit throughout every season because each changes the park and produces a new kind of beauty each time. Either way, Naejangsan National Park is one of the best places to see nature in action throughout the year.

Nature is a part of our world that we must protect and cherish. As was evident in the places listed above, nature allows us to experience an array of beauty that is constantly changing and allows one to view the world from a different perspective. Overall, if you ever find yourself in South Korea, you should make time to appreciate the beauty around you in any of these locations!

Written by Valeria Voelkl

Let’s Get Physical: Ways to Stay Fit in Korea

Though it’s easy to stay at home all day indulging in Korean snacks, it’s important to maintain a balanced lifestyle—this includes exercise. Exercise isn’t limited to just running on the treadmill or treading on the elliptical. These machines can get boring quickly, and this will only lead to decreased productivity. Instead, here are 4 exercise methods that are popular in Korea!

  • Biking along Hangang

Hangang, or the Han River, is the river that runs through Seoul. Surrounding it are bike paths, picnic areas, and jogging tracks, making Hangang a great place to exercise. Not only is biking a good form of cardio, but it also allows you to appreciate the scenic view of the city. It is also a great social activity, so you can spend some quality time (off of your devices!) with your friends.

P.S. If you don’t have a bike, don’t worry! There are several rental bikes available in shops along the river.

  • Pilates

One of the most popular forms of exercise among women, pilates is a form of intense core workout that strengthens your abdomen and pelvis. The immense popularity of pilates can be accredited to its relative simplicity. You don’t need to be at a specific fitness level in order to participate in a class! In Korea, it is easy to find pilates studios that offer both month-long subscriptions and one-time classes, which is great if you want to try it out.

  • Boxing

Recently, many have been leaning towards boxing as an engaging and invigorating form of exercise. Boxing training not only works all of the different parts of the body but also help you relieve stress. There is no shortage of boxing gyms in Korea, with many offering very affordable subscriptions. In a class, you can expect to do some circuit training for around forty minutes, a WOD (Workout of the Day), and perhaps some sparring with a partner. Regardless of how your gym works, you can expect to be kept on your toes!

  • Sports Monster

Sports Monster is a sports entertainment center that offers a myriad of different activities to participants. Equipped with rock climbing walls, trampolines, a high ropes course and more, time flies by when you’re at Sports Monster. If you tend to find structured exercise boring, this place may be the place for you! In addition, Sports Monster is a great place for people of all ages to have fun together away from the stifling heat.

If you have time to get some exercise in when you’re in Seoul, make sure to give these suggestions a try!

Written by Lynn Lee

Savory Korean Stews for All Year Round: Jjigae

Like tteokbokki (떡볶이), jjigae (찌개) is considered a staple of Korean cuisine; an easy to make dish that is highly customizable and available all year round. The dish is similar to Western stew, and is usually served boiling hot, with rice and many side dishes. Usually, a big pot is served and family and friends eat together.

The staples of jjigae are different condiments like gochujang (고추장; red chili paste) or doenjang (된장; fermented soybean paste). Pretty much any vegetable can be used, according to your personal preferences. Typical additions include vegetables such as kimchi and radish, and tofu or mushrooms. For meat, usually slightly fattier pork meat is used as it gives the stew a very rich flavor. Jjigae is comfort food that you can quickly whip up (really, you just season the stew however you’d like and toss all your desired ingredients in, let it simmer for a while and voilà, you have the perfect jjigae). Generally, most of them have a lot of ingredients in common so that you can easily make many, many types of different jjigae with just a handful of ingredients at home.

Here are some jjigae that is very popular and enjoyed all year round – and that you can make at home as well!

  • Kimchi Jjigae

By far, the most popular is the kimchi jjigae (김치찌개). Rule of thumb for the preparation of this stew is the more fermented the kimchi, the better, as it has reached a softer consistency. If you don’t like the sour taste, however, you can simply add a bit of sugar or gochujang. Of course, less ripe kimchi can be used, it just has to cook for a little longer.

  • Doenjang Jjigae

Doenjang is a fermented soybean paste that makes the stew a savory and a non-spicy one, perfect for people who prefer milder stew. The paste can also be made at home as it only requires a mix of crushed soybeans and salt that are then left to ferment for a month (a lengthy process… so if you’re impatient, Asian supermarkets usually sell little boxes of doenjang).

  • Sundubu Jjigae

Sundubu (순두부) is extra soft tofu, also called silken tofu. It is “freshly curdled soft tofu (which has not been strained and pressed)”. This type of tofu is very creamy and soft, which is why it is added last so that it doesn’t fall apart and is only boiled for a short amount of time.

  • Budae Jjigae

Budae jjigae (부대찌개) is special in that it contains various types of food (a Frankenstein of jjigae, if you will). It is prepared with instant ramen and topped with ham, sausages, spam, cheese, creating a hearty and delicious dish.

Have any of these sparked your interest? Be sure to try to make them at home or try them at a Korean restaurant near you! Let us know what you think of jjigae!

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Written by Tran Trieu

The Healthy Vibrance of Korean Salads

It is much easier than you think to fight the summer heat with something refreshing and simple-to-make, especially if you can mix it up at home and not spend every penny in a fancy restaurant. Many people choose salad as an option and for a good reason: vegetables can increase your mood and when you find the best combination, it can become your new favorite healthy snack! Korean cuisine has many perks, paying attention to every detail so that the meal would be not only good for you, but also satisfying, thus creating a variety of unique salads for people to enjoy.

Korean Cucumber Salad (오이무침)

Simple and perfect as a side dish or just a nice tangy snack to munch on when you want something savory. This salad differs from how the usual side dish is made, leaving the seasoning light and the cucumber taste still present and fresh. Just cut the cucumbers into slices, coat them in soy sauce, vinegar, sugar or honey, chili powder or chili pepper paste, season with sesame seeds, some green onions and they’re good to go! Making this will only take about five minutes and leaving it for a day will let the cucumbers soak in and have that wonderful tangy, spicy and sweet taste. You can try it out by following the recipe here.

Cabbage Ramen Salad

Sometimes salad making becomes almost like an experiment, depending on what kind of ingredients you have in your home. If you do not want to go grocery shopping just for a quick breakfast and cannot wait to turn to your kitchen for a food hunt, this salad might be the one you are looking for.

All you need is two packs of ramen noodles to break them and roast in a pan, some chopped cabbage, carrots and green onion to mix. The crunchiness of the ramen can also be accompanied by some nuts of your choice and, of course, let’s not forget about the dressing which makes this meal complete. It might not be that light, but it sure is delicious! You can check out the full recipe here.

Korean Acorn Jelly Salad (도토리묵 무침)

Made from acorn starch and called dotori-muk, this jelly ingredient is perfect for people on a diet – it has no fat, no sodium and no cholesterol. The jelly has a slightly bitter taste, so combining it with fresh vegetables and special dressing gives it a unique experience for your taste buds. Dotori-muk originated in mountainous areas, where many oak trees produced enough acorns to be a viable food source each autumn. You can find the full vegan recipe here.

Bok Choy Persimmon Kimchi Salad (청경채 감 겉절이 샐러드)

A collaboration with the freshness of the crisp bok choy and sweetness of a ripe persimmon, complemented by spicy and tangy dressing is a perfect salad to eat with a bowl of rice. As it is common in most Korean salads and side dishes, the dressing usually contains soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, vinegar, chili pepper flakes, and in this recipe an addition of  corn syrup, lemon and fish sauce is also included. You can give it a try and make this wonderful Korean salad at home, following the recipe here.

In Korean the word “salad” is easily recognizable because it sounds almost the same as the English one (saelleodeu – 샐러드), but there is another word that you can describe a dish made by seasoning and mixing edible grass, vegetables, dried or raw fish, etc. – muchim (무침). Some salads are more fit to be side dishes because of the strong taste of the dressing, so it is best to eat them with either rice or meat, but some are perfect as a light and healthy meal option. If you decide to pack a lunch for school, work or just for a picnic with friends, bring a salad that will provide you with vitamins, and if you make your favorite – give you a mood boost.

Have you found your favorite salad or would like to try one? Let us know and comment below!

Written by Ruta Balzekaite

Amazing Themed Shops and Cafes of Korea!

It is no secret that humans love themed places. Some of the most beloved places in the world are themed: any of the World Disney parks are Disney-themed; the cat (or hedgehog, shiba, owl, bunny…) cafes everywhere in Japan; American diners in Europe; French patisseries in Asia; Mexican restaurants in the United States… There are countless of extremely popular places all over the world which are in some way themed. South Korea does not fall shy of this trend, having its own share of themed places. Here we have compiled a list of some of the most amazing themed places in South Korea.

King’s Cross: Harry Potter Cafe

Harry Potter is known globally, and it is no surprise that it has reached the hearts of Korea. Seoul has accommodated for all the Potterheads in Korea, with a three-storey Harry Potter-themed cafe. The first floor includes a Harry Potter exhibition, where you can try on the Hogwarts’ uniforms, and see many objects that we all grew up watching on screen, in real life. The other floors have decors that match the Gryffindor common room and dormitories, the Great Hall and Hogs Head Inn. The cafe makes all sorts of cakes and patisserie, and serves coffee, tea, cold drinks and butterbeer. The only danger of visiting this cafe is that you will find it so hard to leave it!

If you can’t make it to the cafe in Seoul, do not worry as there are two other great Harry Potter themed cafes in South Korea:

  • Hogsmeade Cafe in Daegu
  • PO TID in Busan

  • Cafe Yeonnam Dong 239-20

This cafe is inspired by the popular Korean TV show, W. The show is about two characters that travel between two worlds: the real world and a 2D webtoon world. The entire cafe is painted in a monochrome, 2D optical illusion design that truly makes it seem like you have just stepped into a comic. Even the food looks 2D! It makes for comical, fake-looking pictures, as you will be the only thing in the photo that has another colour other than black and white, and actually 3D.

  • LINE FRIENDS Store & Cafe

We could not possibly forget to mention the LINE FRIENDS Store & Cafe in Seoul, the largest LINE FRIENDS store in the world. These adorable characters have snatched the hearts of millions of people, and this three-storey store is heaven for any fans of the little characters, or for anyone who appreciates cute souvenirs.

On the first floor you will be greeted by a giant BROWN bear, and behind him there are  shelves full of stationary, figurines, plush dolls and general LINE FRIENDS-themed gadgets. The second floor has LINE FRIENDS apparel, and you will be able to find virtually anything you have ever wanted with these cute characters. The third floor (which is the basement) is where you will find the cafe, which has LINE FRIENDS-themed drinks and food, decorated in the cutest way possible.

  • StyleNanda Pink Hotel & Pink Pool Cafe

StyleNanda is a Korea-based make-up and fashion brand that is very popular in South Korea. Despite having “hotel” in the name, this place will not give you a room to stay in. It is actually a makeup & fashion shop and cafe, with the decor of a hotel. The twist is, you guessed it, everything is aesthetically pink. It is no joke to mention that every photo you take of this place will be Instagram-worthy as everything is set up to be so pretty and camera ready. The place is also massive, with seven floors in total, each with their own themes.

The basement floor is the storage area. The first floor is the lobby, and the second floor is the spa; where you can find 3CE (a popular Korea make-up brand made by StyleNanda) items. The next floor are the rooms, where they sell Nanda made accessories. The next two floors are the Laundry and Pool floors; both floors sell all sorts of items of clothing, and the pool floor has the cafe too (no, there isn’t an actual pool where you can swim in, unfortunately). And the last floor is the rooftop, where you get a nice Seoul view, as well as the outdoor part of the cafe.

Disclaimer: The following section is 18+.

Deulmusae Restaurant

The Deulmusae Restaurant, also known as the Penis Restaurant is a restaurant in the Pocheon Valley (a valley full of art sculptures) with penis sculptures everywhere. Visitors will see phallic things everywhere—from a giant penis oven, to penis (and vagina) tableware, to a map of the world made from hundreds of little penises. The restaurant came to be like this when a Buddhist monk visited and said the place had too much female energy, so sculptors and ceramic workers gave it a more… manly touch. As weird as it sounds, the place has a good reputation for its good food and very entertaining decor.

This concludes this list of amazing themed places in Korea! This list includes the most peculiar and unique places, but there are many more themed places to visit, in and outside the main cities of Korea. Which one is your favourite place? Which one would you LOVE to visit? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Lucille Bamber

For All Your Cravings: Let Them Eat Rice Cake!

It’s chewy, has many flavors and comes in various shapes… tteok! Tteok (떡) is Korean rice cakes that are made with steamed glutinous or non-glutinous rice flour. There is a multitude of preparation techniques, such as pounding the steamed dough or frying it. There are just as many ways to enjoy them, such as in soups, with sauces, various toppings or simply as a snack. Tteok is essential to Korean culture and is offered at almost every special occasion. They’re so delicious and easy to make, so you can cook them at home at any given time!

Hwajeon (화전)

What is hwajeon? It’s a kind of tteok that are shaped like small pancakes and essentially fried. Usually, they’re topped with flowers such as Korean azaleas or pear blossoms in spring or rose petals in summer. The origin goes back to the Goryeo Dynasty where the start of spring (called Samjitnal) was celebrated. On this day, the court would celebrate spring by playing games and enjoying hwajeon.

Hwajeon is made with sweet rice flour, salt, and hot water. They’re prepared with a method called ickbanjook (익반죽). Hot water is gradually added so that the dough slowly cooks while mixing. The dough is then shaped into small balls and pressed flat, then garnished with flowers. They’re then fried and left to cool for a bit before they’re eaten.

These delicious rice cakes can definitely be made at home, but be cautious about collecting flowers outside. You should definitely do some research before topping your rice cake with flowers. Alternatively, you can buy dried edible flowers to top your delicious treats!

Baekseolgi (백설기)

Baekseolgi is a rice cake with a long history, its origin dating back over a century. It is served on special days like a baby’s 100-day anniversary or Hwangap (환갑, a person’s 60th birthday).  It is believed that if baekseolgi is served to a hundred people, the baby will lead a long and healthy life. Although Baekseolgi has such a long history and dates back to the Goryeo dynasty, there’s little record of it. The first recipes only appeared in the 17th century.

It’s simple and easy to make dessert, consisting of only non-glutinous rice flour and a pinch of salt. It is simply steamed and then cut up into small pieces to offer to friends and family. Nowadays, a lot of people top this dessert with nuts or raisins to change up the taste.

Yaksik (약식)

Yaksik, or yakbab (약밥), is steamed a sweet rice cake dish mixed with nuts. Translated, yaksik means “medicinal food or medicinal rice.” The reason for this was because honey was believed to be medicine or a remedy for illnesses. Traditionally, these sweet rice bars are eaten on special occasions like Seollal (설날, Lunar New Year) or Chuseok (추석, Korean Thanksgiving).

The story of how yaksik came to be, dates back to over a thousand years to the Samguk dynasty. The dessert was created to show gratitude to a crow that had saved the life of the king by warning him of traitors that were planning to assassinate him. The king asked the public to create a dish as a token of gratitude. It should include rice, chestnuts, and jujubes—those were the ingredients that crows like.

This dessert is made by steaming glutinous rice and mixing it with honey or sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and cinnamon. Nuts such as chestnuts, jujubes, and pine nuts are added in the next step. The whole mixture is then steamed again before it is served. Yaksik is a tasty and healthy snack that you can make in advance and store for several days—they last even longer if you freeze them.

Have these desserts piqued your interest? Tell us what you’ll try out! 

If you want to read more about desserts, you might like these posts:

Written by Tran Trieu

Food Tour with Park Hyung-sik 🍑

Ever wonder what your favorite K-celebs are eating lately? Look no further than their social media! The familiar faces we know and love from Korean entertainment occasionally turn to SNS to share photo-worthy foods, delivering a double helping of aesthetics and taste, and giving fans a closer look into what they’d most likely be found eating for lunch. Let’s take a trip through treats from Korea and beyond, and who knows? Maybe we’ll find our next spark of snackspiration!

Park Hyung-sik is a much cherished celebrity in South Korea, being in the idol industry for almost ten years now. There is pretty much nothing he cannot do—he’s a drama actor, singer in the popular boy band ZE:A, a dancer, a theatre actor, and as of 2019, he has started starring in films! Hanging out with him is something many of us could only dream of, but luckily, he is active on social media, and there is constant material with him being released. Through his instagram, we are gifted with a sneak peak of what he eats, in and beyond Korea. So, let’s take a peek into Hyung-sik’s life through his food adventures.

Clam Chowder: San Francisco Style

America is known for many of its foods and reinventions of food. One of these reinvented dishes is clam chowder (originally from New England), but served in sourdough bread, something that was allegedly created in a bakery called Boudin in San Francisco. Hyung-sik did not hesitate to upload a picture of the famous meal when he visited America, making many of his Korean fans wish to visit San Francisco to try out the delicious looking dish.

Parisian Crêpes

Korea has a deep appreciation of French cuisine. It is not uncommon to see French-style bakeries all over the streets, so it is not surprising that Hyung-sik would upload a photo on instagram, enjoying delicious, authentic, French crêpes near the Eiffel Tower, with his friends in Paris. And who can blame him? The Parisian crêperies and food trucks are impossible to resist with their sweet aroma when you walk past them.

Food Truck Mania

True friendship is when someone sends you a food truck to your film set in support of your new show, and that is what BTS’ V did for Hyung-sik when he was shooting his new show, Suits. Hyung-sik took a moment to thank V on his Instagram, using the hashtags #ThankYouTaehyung #ILoveYouTae. Fans of the show Hwarang, which they both starred in the previous year, got to enjoy another moment of bromance these two idols shared.

But this isn’t the only food truck promoting Hyung-sik’s shows.

A churro van for Strong Girl Bong-Soon.

And one for the Korean remake of Suits.

Prestigious Birthday Cake

In November, he left thousands of fans mouths’ watering when he posted a picture of his birthday cake. The cake was made by Bvlgari, who not only makes designer watches and jewellery, but now they make designer cake! In 2018, they made one for Hyung-sik’s birthday, whilst he was modelling for them. It’s impossible to tell if we prefer the vivid cake, or Hyung-sik’s dyed hair. Either way, the colours definitely match!

ZE:A Meal Prayers

It’s hard to forget this heartwarming video Hyung-sik uploaded, of fellow ZE:A member Kim Tae-heon saying prayers before they begin eating their take-out feast. Not only do we see a typical Korean lunch—bap, banchan and doenjang-guk. All that is left to say is “bon appétit,” or as they say in Korea (and they all say in the video), “jal meokgesseunida!”

Honourable Mentions

Frappé and sunglasses selca…nothing else could give off a more summery vibe!

It’s hard to tell who is sweeter in this photo: Hyung-sik or the peach slices he’s snacking on!

One of the most confusing videos in Hyung-sik’s instagram. It raises so many questions. Why is he using a sausage as a mic? Who is holding it for him? How did the whole thing start? Although it will remain a mystery to us, we can enjoy this hilarious video and his beautiful voice.

It is clear Park Hyung-sik thoroughly enjoys food, and is unashamed to post it on his Instagram (quite rightly so!). We cannot get enough of his sense of humour, his love of food and his wonderful adventures. Have you ever tried any of these? What food appeals most to you? What food would you like to share with Park Hyung-sik? Let us know in the comments below!

Cover Image: Park Hyung-sik (Star Empire Entertainment)
Written by Lucille Bamber

A Guide to Thrifting in Seoul

When people think of Seoul, one of the images that pop-up is one of its many shopping districts. Although famous for keeping up with the latest trends in fashion, Seoul is also catching up with the world of resale. We’ve compiled a handy list of some of the thrift stores that are worth checking out plus some helpful tips to get the most out of your shopping.

  • Beautiful Store

Our first stop is the Beautiful Store which is also known, unofficially, as the Goodwill of South Korea. The store, which also a nonprofit organization, offers donated clothes and household items at very affordable prices. It then uses some of the revenue to support local social programs and small business in developing countries. Saving money, the planet, and supporting a good cause, who says you can’t do it all? Beautiful Store has four locations throughout Seoul.

  • 21, Bukchon-ro, Jongno-gu,
  • 327, Changgyeonggung-ro, Seongbuk-gu
  • 35, Seocho-daero 56-gil, Seocho-gu
  • 34, Nambusunhwan-ro 351-gil, Gangnam-gu

Thrifting Tip #1: Make sure to wear comfortable clothes and easy to remove shoes when shopping because trying is a must at thrift stores.

  • Vin Prime

Vin Prime’s yellow walls and neatly organized racks of clothes will make sure to lift anyone’s spirit. Although slightly a bit pricier than the thrift stores we are used to in the States, Vin Prime sure has something for everyone whether they’re looking for clothes, accessories, or bags. The best part about this store? It has eight locations in Seoul so no matter what you have planned for the day you can probably find a Vin Prime nearby.

Most popular location:

  • 802-40 Yeoksam 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu

Thrifting Tip #2: Go early! Thrift stores usually restock in the morning therefore you’ll get first dibs on new merchandise plus you’ll avoid the afternoon crowds.

  • Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market is one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in South Korea, with more than 5,000 shops and 20,000 employees in an area of 42,000 square meters. You’ve probably heard of it because of its popular street food but if you head to the second floor you’ll find an assortment of vintage clothes and accessories. It is worth checking out to find some pretty affordable pieces.

  • 88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno 4(sa)-ga, Jongno-gu

Thrifting Tip #3: Don’t forget to check the men’s and kids’ section while you’re at a thrift store. You’ll probably find something that fits, looks cute, and that is totally in style at the moment.

  • Page One

Page One is a quirky little vintage store with thoroughly curated items. It has mostly women’s clothes featuring a lot of 80s Japanese style. Its accessories section is quite popular too; you won’t find designer names but there’s a lot of unique bags and earrings to choose from. You don’t have to worry about breaking the bank here because Page One has reasonable prices.

  • 67-14 2F Dokmak-ro, Mapo-gu

Thrifting Tip #4: Take your time to go through every rack and every pile. It might seem a little tedious but that’s how you find those little gems that you can’t believe no one else saw before.

That is all we have for now but let us know in the comments below if you’re planning to stop by these stores whenever you’re in Seoul.

Written by Dianelys Fuentes 

EXO as Boba Tea 🥤

As summer approaches many around the world, it is important to stay hydrated in this tremendous heat. A refreshing beverage that adds a bit of flavour to your summer is boba (or bubble) tea, a cooling drink that has ball-shaped “pearls” sitting at the bottom. With endless flavours to choose from, including the original milk tea, strawberry, taro, mango, and coffee; boba tea was first introduced to Taiwan in 1983 by Liu Han-Chieh, who saw the idea of adding tapioca “pearls” into the fruity drink that was sold throughout Taiwan’s cities. When speaking about its name, the word “boba” actually refers to the bubbly foam at the top of the drink after being shaken, and not the pearls at the bottom.

As boba tea has become widely-known around the world, it has gained popularity in the West, just like K-pop! Many groups have been given the spotlight from the media, getting new opportunities and increasing their fandom. For those who love to K-pop and discovering new things, EXO and boba tea are something you need to consider to have in your life. For boba tea lovers and EXO-Ls everywhere, find out which flavour the EXO members would represent in this bubbly and tasty world. Make sure to also give these flavours a try, especially on these hot summer days when you can’t get “Ko Ko Bop,” the nation’s favourite summer song out of your head!

Which Boba Tea does each EXO member represent?

  • Suho – Coffee Boba Tea

For the beloved leader of EXO, the coffee boba tea is a fitting drink! Having to make sure each member is living a healthy and happy life, giving out the endless love to EXO-L’s, travelling around the world for the groups and solo schedules. Suho is one strong and hardworking man, the energy from this coffee boba tea is sure is a great match to keep him motivated and thriving!

  • Xiumin – Honeydew Boba Tea

Xiumin, who enlisted on May 7, 2019, for the military, is truly being missed throughout the fandom.  EXO-L’s love his cheeky smile and the sweetness his whole aura. With his powerful but yet charming vocals, the honeydew boba tea is sweet just like his lovely image. Even when wearing green clothing, all it screams is honeydew!

  • Lay – Honey Boba Tea

Inspired by his single “Honey” that was released on June 14, this drink is just meant for the beloved Lay Zhang. Lay is a lovely man with a fond smile, making him a charming and sweet man like honey.

  • Baekhyun – Thai Boba Tea

Baekhyun, a man who glistens with his admirable cheeky smile, the Thai boba tea is sweetened to perfection with a burnt orange colour making it a perfect match for Baekhyun. This drink is great for those with a sweet tooth, even a greater match for those EXO-L’s who are head over heels for this kind-hearted man, giving many a small taste of Baekhyun’s sweetness.

  • Chen – Green Boba Tea

Inspired by Chen’s solo debut album April, and a Flower that gave many an introduction to the start of the new season with gorgeous ballads. Between his album, decorated with trees, and his music video for the title track “Beautiful Goodbye” being set in the middle of nature with mountains, trees and rivers surrounding him; Chen truly does radiate a down to earth vibe, making this drink ideal for the great vocal man.

  • Chanyeol – Strawberry Boba Tea

The rapper of the group delivering his raspy and deep voice when singing and rapping may give many the wrong idea. Although he has a bad boy aura, don’t be fooled when he acts the cute and clings onto his members. Being caring and gentle, many EXO-L’s describe Chanyeol as a giant baby because of his tall height and child-like personality. This drink is sweet and can be sour at times depending on the ripeness of the strawberries, just like the rapper’s duality. Of course, Chanyeol would need a large-sized drink to fit his figure.

  • D.O. – Hazelnut Boba Tea

This powerful vocal king can give many the wrong impression at first glance. Underneath his stare that can intimidate many is actually a wholesome person who cares deeply for his members and fans. D.O. has recently confirmed his enlistment date for July 1, 2019, leaving many fans and his members with heartaches. This tea is rich in taste and giving a smooth and satisfying taste. A great match for D.O.’s personality and for those looking for new flavours. Don’t be deceived by the warm brown shade of this drink, it sure will surprise you at the first sip with its pleasant taste.

  • Kai – Original Milk Tea

The original milk tea is many favourites and the most popular flavour. With an iced coffee look, this tea is not overly too sweet but also has a nice milky flavour. When comparing to Kai, the amazing dance king, the duality from the playful side to him to his serious concentrated side is a great match to the original boba tea, giving the drinker the right amount of sweetness and leaving you satisfied.  When you’re indecisive on which flavour to choose, this tea will never let you down.

  • Sehun – Taro Boba Tea

Sehun the beloved maknae of the group, is what you can consider a big gamer boy. Being a master of PUBG and League of Legends, two video games the maknae loves, you might think he spends his time playing as many adolescent gamers do. Taro has a taste of sweet potato, starchy and can be described as a sweet or a vanilla nutty flavour.  Sehun even looks great in purple, just like the colour of the taro boba tea, it truly is a match.

These drinks will surely hit the spot this summer. Which EXO-inspired boba tea flavour will you try? EXO-L’s, next time you’re out and about, grab a cool boba tea and listen to your favourite EXO playlist, the only right way to spend your summer!

Cover Image: EXO (SM Entertainment)
Written by Andrea Villarreal