Savor the Season at Strawberry Dessert Buffets in Seoul

Lotte Hotel

It may sound odd while it’s still freezing outside, but strawberries are in season in Korea during this time of the year. Thanks to advanced agricultural technology, strawberries are available from winter through spring in the country – in fact, winter strawberries tend to be sweeter than those from their natural season.

To savor the seasonal fruit to its fullest, many of the renowned hotels in Seoul hold strawberry buffets in winter through spring. Although they tend to be expensive, easily exceeding 50,000 KRW, many wait for the seasonal buffet for its wide variety of strawberry desserts and the availability of the freshest seasonal fruits. Most importantly, it’s a great way for food lovers to savor the season and greet the New Year!

If you, too, want to dive into the pool of strawberries, here is the full list of Seoul’s hotels offering strawberry buffets. Many of them open during weekends only, so make sure to check the websites.

 

Banyan Tree Seoul – Very Very Berry

Banyan Tree Seoul

At Banyan Tree, secluded in a tranquil neighborhood near Namsan, you will find the full variety of strawberry desserts. Their dessert selection includes Strawberry Chocolate Fountain, Strawberry Cream Puff, and a number of cakes and pastries using strawberries as main ingredients. You can also find enough number of savory dishes.

2018.12.7 – 2019.4.14
59,000 KRW
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Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Time Square – My Strawberry Farm

Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Time Square

Strawberry Cream Puffs, Strawberry Pavlova, Strawberry Macarons, and Strawberry Tarts are the highlights of the strawberry buffet at Courtyard by Marriot Seoul Time Square. Bottomless sparkling wine and strawberry cocktails add much joy as well.

2019.1.5 – 2019.4.28
39,000 KRW
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Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas – Strawberry Gourmet Boutique

Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas

This year, Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas opens up their annual strawberry season event along with 6-course dinners. In addition to the strawberry semi-dessert buffet, you will be served a luxurious 6-course dinner.

2019.1.5 – 2019.3.31
40,000 KRW
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Grand Walkerhill Seoul – Very Berry Strawberry

Grand Walkerhill Seoul

Renowned for its “Strawberry Tower” Grand Walkerhill is one of the first hotels to bring the strawberry buffet trend to Korea. This year, strawberry pairings with foie gras, truffle, and caviar are newly added, in addition to the expanded variety of cooked-to-order dishes. As a part of a room package, the hotel also offers strawberry picking experience.

2019.1.12 – 2019.4.28
68,000 KRW
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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square – Salon de DDALKI with Barbie

JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square

Celebrating the 60th birthday of Barbie, JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square’s Salon de Strawberry invites people to the buffet decorated with the iconic pink color. Their deal includes one strawberry beverage and one savory dish, in addition to the strawberry dessert buffet.

2018.12.14 – 2019.5
59,000 KRW
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Lotte Hotel Seoul – Must Be Strawberry

Lotte Hotel Seoul

Hotel’s seasonal dessert buffet is known for its perfect food and drinks pairing. A glass of dry sparkling wine and fresh strawberry bites must be the best way to bid goodbye to winter and welcome the warmer season.

2019.1.5 – 2019.4.21
55,000 KRW
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Sheraton Seoul D Cube City – All About Strawberry

Shraton Seoul D Cube City

Sheraton Seoul D Cube City’s strawberry buffet shows strength in cakes, which are served in every imaginable size, flavor, and shape. You can add extra 9,900 KRW for unlimited sparkling wine and beer.

49,000 KRW
More Info

 

 

By Heewon Kim

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Korea’s Most Delectable Doughnut Shops

Who can resist freshly fried dough that’s covered with colorful sugar frosting? Unfortunately, doughnuts are not the most common breakfast items found in Korea. However, a small number of quality doughnut shops are there to fulfill our cravings for everyone’s favorite sweet breakfast choice, late-night treat, or a random mid-day snack.

 

Old Ferry Donuts

66, Hannam-daero 27-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Old Ferry Donuts

Originally renowned for its much grammable “donut float latte,” Ferry Roasters launched a cafe specialized in doughnuts last year. Located in the quiet back alley of Hannam-dong, the stylish doughnut shop is always packed with people – and dogs, as this dog-friendly cafe is visited by many dogstargrammers.

Ferry Roasters

What Old Ferry offers is not one of those conventional doughnuts. Instead, you can find large fried dough bombs filled with cream or jam. The cafe is also enthusiastic about creative flavors. Their dessert-inspired doughnuts, which include tiramisu and crème brulee, are must-try.

 

Fluffy Doughnut

163, Seongmisan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Fluffy Doughnut

Fluffy Doughnut is Yeonnam-dong’s new hottest cafe. The doughnut shop, which opened only about a month ago, is already visited by hundreds of people every day.

Fluffy Doughnut’s fried delicacies are characterized as conventional doughnuts with creative twists. Flavors like Mango Glazed & Caramel or Vanilla Glazed & Orange Jam make doughnuts more like delicate desserts by using unexpected flavor combinations. The raspberry-flavored “Simpsons” doughnuts and Maple Bacon doughnuts are some of the customers’ favorites.

 

Cafe Knotted

53, Apgujeong-ro 46-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

 

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If you’re attracted to the famed “Mr. Holmes” style doughnuts rather than colorfully glazed doughnuts, Cafe Knotted has something like that. The whole variety of cream-filled and sugar-coated doughnuts are available at this cafe in Cheongdam-dong.

Flavors range from the predictable ones like Vanilla and Nutella to the more creative ones like Tiramisu, Pistachio Fig, or Red Bean Butter. The available flavor options look various enough to satisfy any palate.

 

Noe Bakery

25, Udong 1-ro 20beonga-gil, Haeundae-gu, Busan

 

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Noe Bakery in Haeundae, Busan, is known to make healthy and delicious baked doughnuts. The showcase is filled with baked dough coated with colorful frostings.

Noe Bakery’s doughnuts tend to reflect trends well. The stellar “Galaxy” doughnuts and cream cheese topped red velvet doughnuts, as well as some seasonal flavors, are all available at Noe Bakery.

 

 

By Heewon Kim

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Visit Huam-Dong for the Best View of Seoul

There are two spots in the northern part of the river most tourists to Seoul don’t miss – Namsan and Itaewon. While the former is a significant landmark of the city topped with N Seoul Tower, the latter is popular for its cultural diversity and trendy atmosphere.

If you too are planning to visit the two locations in Seoul, we highly recommend you to stop by Huam-dong (후암동), perfecting your day in the area.

Namsan Park

Geographically, Huam-dong connects Namsan and Itaewon. Wedged into the steep valley of Namsan Mountain, you can find the hillside alleys of Huam-dong on the way to Itaewon from Namsan. Find the exit from Namsan Park that links to Sowol-gil (소월길). The road would look bleak during this cold season, but it turns beautiful in spring and especially autumn, as the ginkgo trees planted along the sidewalk turn into vivid yellow.

Look to your right to find this view from Sowol-gil.

Once you’re on the right track, walk along the sidewalk until you find the stairway on your right connecting to Huam-dong. When you’re done navigating the steep alleys of the neighborhood and to move to Itaewon, you can either walk through Haebangchon or take a bus – Green Bus 02, Blue Buses 421 and 405, and Yellow Bus 03 will take you back to the packed area.

One of the greatest charms of Huam-dong is the panoramic view of Seoul the neighborhood offers. Due to the neighborhood’s positional advantage, interesting cafes and bars find their homes in Huam-dong.

The Royal Food and Drink

37 Sinheung-ro 20-gil, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

The Royal Food and Drink is famed for the astonishing view from rooftop seats. Stepping inside the brunch cafe, you might be disappointed by the narrow interior. Hold that thought and climb the narrow staircases to the rooftop, where you’ll find the VIP seats with a panoramic view of the whole southern part of Seoul.

The rooftop seats are very limited so they are usually occupied, sometimes with some queues. But it’s always worth the wait for wine with a view, right?

 

Lala Like

38 Huam-ro 28-gil, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Cafes in Huam-dong also stand out for the compact and cozy atmosphere. Lala Like, located in a rather random area, is a great example.

If you value how your dessert looks as much as its taste, this cake boutique will be a perfect choice. Lala Like is renowned for its colorful cake designs and desserts decorated with Peanuts characters. It’s a great spot especially for your Instagram feeds.

 

The 100 Food Truck

45-1 Sinheung-ro 20-gil, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

 

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This burger shop is one of the first places to pop up when you search for the rooftop restaurants in Seoul. You can spot an exclusive view of the city, either indoors or outdoors.

 

 

Visit also…

Avec.El  41-1 Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Known for signature toast and apple latte. Cozy atmosphere and usually long queues.

Oriole  43 Sinheung-ro 20-gil, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
A cocktail bar operated by R&B singer Jung Yeop. A great place to visit, especially in the evening.

Siempre Como Domingo  11 Huam-ro 34-gil, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
The colorful and sun-kissed cafe is an ideal place for a quick bite. Try Egg Omelet Sandwich and Soup combo.

 

By Heewon Kim

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5 Must-Visit Places in Ikseon-Dong

Ikseon-dong must-visits

Ikseon-dong must-visits

Ikseon-dong must-visits

Ikseon-dong must-visits

Ikseon-dong must-visits

Ikseon-dong must-visits

Ikseon-dong must-visits

Ikseon-dong must-visits

Ikseon-dong must-visits

Ikseon-dong must-visits

Ikseon-dong must-visits

Be a Member of “Produce 101” at This School Uniform Rental Store

Image in courtesy of Ehwa School Uniform

Have you ever dreamed to go to school in Korea? Even if you haven’t, those cute school uniforms shown in recent TV shows like “Produce 101” and “Idol School” certainly have special appeals.

Right next to Lotte World in Jamsil, there is a special clothing rental store which evokes the nostalgia you didn’t even have. At Ehwa Gyobok, which is also alternatively called Ehwa School Uniform, you can try a wide variety of Korean school uniforms that will make you feel like one of the local students.

Image in courtesy of Ehwa School Uniform

The variety of uniforms available at Ehwa Gyobok includes some of the real-life ones from a selected number of schools known for their uniform designs. What truly appeal to many, however, are the replicas of the uniforms from the popular idol group audition show, “Produce 101.”

Turn into the 102nd member of “Produce 101” and head out to take selfies. The nearest destination, Lotte World, is only minutes away. The bridge in front of the castle and carousel are the two signature photo spots. If you prefer a less crowded place, Seokchon Lake Park and Han River Park are great outdoor options as well.

The rental store itself has great selfie studio as well. A corner of the store is decorated just like the studio of “Idol School,” perfectly matching the whole theme. Ample lighting and pink walls make the powder room a great photo zone as well.

Image in courtesy of Ehwa School Uniform

Visit Ehwa Gyobok’s website for further details about the rental fee and other information!

 

By Heewon Kim

Visit Jjimjilbang and Train Yourself to Survive Seoul’s Heatwave

Seeking a refuge from Korea’s deadly heatwave? A Jjimjilbang, which is Korea’s bathhouse literally translates to a “heated room,” may be a great idea.

We understand how it sounds ironic that we suggest somewhere artificially heated when the outside has already become a place basically like a natural spa. However, if you’ve been to a Jjimjilbang, you’d understand that the true appeal of it is not in its high temperature, but in many other things.

Different from what the term “public bathhouse” makes you think, Jjimjilbang is not simply a huge bathtub. Instead, it’s a place where people of all gender and age gather – of course, fully clothed in pajama-like uniforms – to sweat out and enjoy food, feeling relaxed and recharged.

If you’re a newbie to Jjimjilbang, you may need some time to adapt to its atmosphere. However, once you get used to all the unfamiliarity, it’s the very space where you can experience the unique communal culture of the country. Plus, at the end of your day in Jjimjilbang, going back and forth between a heated room and a cold room, you could come outside being trained to the heat and humidity of the city.

 

Spa in Garden 5

10, Chungmin-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul

The 6600 square-meter space is known to have the most luxurious Jjimjilbang facilities in Seoul.

 

Waterkingdom

111, Songpa-daero, Songpa-gu, Seoul

This newly opened place is a multi-purpose space where visitors can enjoy Jjimjilbang and water theme park at the same time.

 

Dragon Hill Spa

40, Hangang-daero 21na-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

The 7-story spa located near Itaewon is distinguished with its luxurious outdoor spa.

 

By Heewon Kim

Visit This Neighborhood in Busan for an Ultimate Cafe Hopping Experience

It’s hard to deny that Korean coffee shops have special appeals. Many of the cafes come with creative and cute desserts and coffee is also improving day by day, thanks to the expanding specialty coffee market. Sipping coffee surrounded by walls and furniture ideally stationed for Instagram feeds, you will understand that the coffee shop culture in Korea is formed with complexity, involving not just the food and drink, but much of environment and atmosphere as well.

If you want to explore the culture furthermore, there is no better place than Jeonpo-dong. Once an industrial district where hardware stores and old residential buildings housed, the neighborhood has now turned into a “Cafe District” where the trendiest coffee shops welcome visitors.

There are numerous cafes in Jeonpo-dong, but sometimes it can feel tricky to select only a few when so many options are given. So please feel free to use the list below as a basic guide and explore the neighborhood to find hidden gems!

 

Before Sunset

80, Seojeon-ro 46beon-gil, Busanjin-gu, Busan

One of the pioneers of Jeonpo Cafe District, Before Sunset is widely known for its stylish presentation of desserts. The facade changes color once in a while, presenting a great selfie wall.

 

Cafe Ethan

12-5, Jeonpo-daero 176beon-gil, Busanjin-gu, Busan

Cafe Ethan is an ideal place in Busan to explore Korea’s expanding specialty coffee scene.  The owner and barista here uses selected beans from renowned roasteries, which rotate every week. The week’s selection is used for all the coffee-based drinks, ranging from pour-over to signature coffee cocktails.

 

Werk

115, Seojeon-ro 58beon-gil, Busanjin-gu, Busan

Werk must be the hottest roastery right now, not just in Busan, but in the country. The three-story building as a whole is operated for a great coffee experience: a roastery lab on the ground level, a coffee “curation” space on the basement level, and a cafe on the second level each serve to present the most pleasant drinking experience.

 

Alike Coffee

39, Seojeon-ro 47beon-gil, Busanjin-gu, Busan

The Australian coffee industry has a great influence on that of Korean. Alike Coffee, which is hidden on the second floor of a shady building, shows a great example of that. Using coffee beans from Australia, the coffee shop offers a piece of Melbourne to its customers. You will nod your head once you take a sip of their coffee and a bite of Australian desserts.

 

 

By Heewon Kim