I’ve written about Insadong (인사동) before but I can’t help but continue to go back to the area again and again. It never gets old. I find the most random treasures and eats and treats that instantly become new favorites. I told Kelsey about the area when we first got to meet up with her the other weekend in Seoul. She instantly was intrigued and sent me a text message Friday evening asking if I minded meeting up with her and playing tourist around the area. Of course I couldn’t resist! Plus I jumped at the opportunity for a girls day.
We met at the top of Jonggak Station (Exit 3) staircase. My train arrived about 10 minutes before her’s so I snapped a few photos. Again, I couldn’t help myself! After all, Seoul obliged with the most perfect weather. The sun was out in full force and it felt like it was recharging my own soul and reminding me why I loved this city so much. Pure pre-spring perfection!
Kelsey’s brunette hair finally appeared among the sea of jet black hair climbing the staircase and we set off to Insadong. It had been quite sometime since I last visited the area, I had to re-gather my bearings… it all came back once we walked forward a few blocks. She was such a trooper putting all of her trust in me like that. Thanks Kels!
One of the fun parts about Insadong, or Seoul in general is all of the fun strange street food vendors. The vendors food smells immediately wafted into our noses as we entered the area. It was exactly noon so it was perfect timing to make our way around the area.
I’m sure you are wondering what the above photos are of? They do look quite different don’t they? Well, they are a crispy tube. Think ice cream cone texture, filled with ice-cream. Quite a comical scene to see crowds of all ages carrying these things around. We decided to save ourselves possibly for the end of the trip, or for a tad bit warmer weather.
I took Kelsey to explore my favorite rice cake cafe in the area, Bizeun. This place serves as many as 250 different types of Korean traditional rice cake. The best part was that she loved my favorite rice cake as much as I do! I find that most people sort of turn their noses up at rice cakes because its something so foreign to them at first… especially the squishy one that I love that Kelsey immediately took to. Is this girl my kindred spirit or what?
After leaving Bizeun, we headed up the street towards more of the shops and vendors. On my list I specifically wanted to share the little outdoor vendor that sits on the corner of the center street running through Insadong. It’s all mismatched pottery. Beautiful teapots, tea cups, vases, etc. Each time that I stop at this stand I end up picking something up. Shhhhhh don’t tell Mr. B. Kelsey instantly fell in love with the stand and found an awesome little trinket. She said that she wanted to come back for some future gifts for family members. I was smitten that she loved the place as much as I do.
We jetted down some alleyways and I showed her one of the best steamed dumpling stands that I’ve had since living in Korea. Anytime of the day I have found myself around this alleyway, there’s a line. Always! This place was is so simple but oh so delicious. Good stuff folks!
We shared some poop bread. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s Poop bread ( 똥빵 ). Okay, I’ll digress and let you all in on the joke. Korean youth are obsessed with poop. It’s odd.. you and I know that…but it’s their thing. This bread is filled with delicious Red beans and walnuts inside. It’s actually really delicious and if you’ve had bung’eo (붕어) the fish pastry filled with red bean paste. MMMM… thinking about the warm tasty red bean filling this very second makes me so hungry! I have to stop while I am ahead before I go out and mull a poor street vendor.
When in Insadong you must drink tea! Find a tea shop, visit the tea museum, or Korea’s famous O’sulloc Tea House. We stopped into O’sulloc, I shared with Kelsey that Jeju Island off the coast of Korea has the tea-plant and tea fields that you can stroll through. Another must do while living or visiting Korea.
After O’sulloc we found ourselves wanting to sit down and enjoy some tea and some sort of sweet. Of course because the sun was shining and I was instantly transitioning into a Springy mood, naturally, I had my mind set on Patbingsu. Once I found out that Kelsey loved red bean paste I knew I had to share Korea’s iconic dessert. Ohhhh sweet summer is near and I cannot wait to slurp this stuff up for dinner. No shame, no shame. We indulged in our patbingsu, sipped our hot citron tea and talked and giggled for hours.
130-4, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul-si
서울 종로구 인사동 130-4일대
www.insainfo.or.kr (Korean only)
www.visitseoul.net (English, Korean, Japanese).
Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6.
Go 100m straight, then turn left.
Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 3.
Go straight 300m, and turn left at the 4-way Intersection.
Go straight 100m, and take the left road towards Insadong-gil Road.