Not too long ago, I spent an afternoon in Insa-dong. Insa-dong’s one of Seoul’s most artistic and tourist friendly neighborhoods. I went there with my friend to have a delicious meal, eat some more, walk around, and take pictures.
The afternoon began with a detour by Gyeongbok Palace because I wanted to explore the streets around the palace and I also forgot where Insa-dong was. While wandering about the palace, we encountered a concert with a pre-historic theme and a flee market. In Seoul, there’s something interesting going on every day, everywhere.
Our first stop was a restaurant with a traditional Korean atmosphere, Insa-dong Gu Jip (인사동 그집). I ordered bibimbap with gang doenjang, instead of gochujang, the red chilli paste it’s often served with now. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the food because I deleted them. Just know that my dish both looked and tasted delicious. My friend ordered cold noodles. They were okay.
After the meal and before our next food stop, we decided to walk around to let what we’d just eaten digest. One of the more interesting things we saw was a take-out cocktail stand. On a Sunday, this is something you’d never see in parts of the States as alcohol can only be sold in certain stores and it’s illegal to sell on Sunday. But in Seoul, you can buy hard liquor on the street and walk around sipping it from something resembling an IV bag.
My friend is a big fan of O’sulloc’s (오설록) green tea, so we went to the cafe they have in Insa-dong. There, you can get green tea flavored ice cream, cake, mochi, &c. They also have other tasty teas.
I ordered a green tea float because I wanted ice cream and a drink. It was good, nice and smooth, and nothing like the powdery green tea that’s offered at places like Starbucks.
Our next stop was Ssamziegil (쌈지길), a winding building with more than 50 little stores in it. I bought a few beautiful postcards and envelopes from water drop sonata’s booth in the third picture. I can’t wait to mail them out.
On the top floor of Ssamziegil, there’s a wall where couples leave charms. There’s also a poop themed cafe.
On our way out, we stopped by the take-out cocktail stand. I was also randomly interviewed by students with a camera. They asked me several questions about various Korean political scandals, which was fine.
Intrigued by the uniquely shaped ice cream cones that many people had, my friend bought one. The verdict is that it looks cool, but tastes like ice sprinkled with sugar.
As an artistic neighborhood, Insa-dong’s streets are filled with people who paint and do calligraphy. If you visit Seoul as a tourist, it’s a great place to go.
On a final note, here’s a video of a flash mob in Ssamziegil that was made earlier this year.
Let me know if you want me to do more entries like this. This one wasn’t planned and came from me taking photos I didn’t want to put in a gallery. When I went to Insa-dong, I didn’t think much about composing my shots. Instead, I had fun and “shot from the hip.”