Ok today we head out to Garosugil in Sinsa-dong, which is the trendy hipster fashion street. Anybody who knows about Korean fashion, knows that they’re run online and there, you can find all kinds of cheap and super trendy clothes for both guys and girls. On those websites, you’ll see every piece modeled with like 200 fitpics, for each colorway with uber chic backdrops so they look extra stylish with that clearly ripped off Rick Owens or Ann D steez. And where they take those damn photos is in Garosugil. Matter of fact, 5 minutes into the street, I see this mofo pretending to answer the phone while crossing the street looking the wrong way whilst some photog snaps away with his Canon 5000D or someshit. It’s so hipster, my mate went there last year and told me a dude was giving Tours Les Jours munchies on a bike with a fake moustache.

I like one of the first stores, which sells glasses. It’s called like ALO or somesuch. Apparently, it’s a chain of upscale spectacle shops in Seoul. 5 minutes after I stepped off the plane and met THE DAD, I already had glasses envy and at ALO, I really wanted to bag this pair of pseudo Swissflex frames in a matte black finish, with the screwless, pop in hinges and nosepads. It was about 139000W excl. lens. Not cheap but close to the perfect frame for me. But I hesitate and we go down the street, looking at shops. Mostly I had to look at girl’s shit. There was one big store that had super overpriced Norse Projects and other hipster labels. There’s like a Marimekko store and a lot of other stuff too. Some of it so achingly hipster, I felt like I needed to break out my Walkman just to keep up. This Busker Busker song below is everywhere btw.

Lunchtime provides a welcome break from my deluded and hypocritical anti hipsterism considering I must be what other people would call a hipster. I have a blog. I take photos of food. I like eco/organic/zen/responsible/local… I’m hungry. We go to this “Italian” style place, which generally serves a lotta pasta and pizza. Now, I’ve been told by my friends that if it’s your first date in Korea, you gotta eat like cream pasta, or what people here refer to as carbonara. Pasta is expensive. It’s like 20000W which could get you a good feast at the galbi joint or about 4 McD’s/Lotterias. So it’s not the kinda place hipsters would go unless they’re rich hipsters or food focused hipsters. The place in question is called Blooming Garden. Pretty sure they’ve got no clue how Brits use the word blooming but whatever.

We get the lunch deal, which is entrees plus coffee plus bread plus a main of your choice and you just pay for the main. The bread arrives and it’s just way too much. One’s like squid ink and stuffed with shit and the other one is also stuffed with shit. There’s like sweet flavours and everything with the bread service. So wrong for me. I like simple, good, strong bread, little bit of salt and olive oil/butter. Just by itself, plain simple white/sourdough. They’re clearly trying because it’s nicely toasted and shit but they clearly haven’t had a good bread service. Entrees are weird too. I see all the pastas and pizzas on the menu and I get like a terrine slice with mushrooms, a French onion soup and little salade with a slice of ham. Yo we in a French joint now? Ok onto the mains. Now I had my misgivings about the bread and the starters but my main was good. A pasta with crayfish, bottarga, confit garlic and pancetta. The flavors work well, the pasta’s cooked well. It’s pretty damn good. Probably the best pasta I’ve had in yonks. It’s not knock my socks off great but it’s like a 7/10. I had a lotta shit pasta recently. Anyway, my gf’s carbonara comes with a soft cooked egg and is reasonably tasty but I don’t get why the girls like heavy cream sauce pastas like these. Simple, easy taste maybe. I liked em too when I was a kid. We finish with some coffee and get on with it.

A little bit more traipsing round Garosugil and we’re off to Gangnam, to meet up with a friend at a cafe. There’s like more cafe’s in Korea than there are anything else. Walk a bit and you’re sure to bump into one, proudly advertising new ice blended drinks or the fact that they burn uh I mean roast in house or whatever. Look, espresso stuff in Korea is about as good as Starbucks, which is fine and all until I learn that one of my gf’s besties is a barista in training that has to do a six month course in coffee that includes info on everything imaginable. The kinda coffee course I was looking at in Sydney is like 3 days! Seriously, 6 months and you got the knowledge but you still can’t pull a shot worth a damn. I’m sure there must be decent/good coffee in Seoul. I’m sure it ain’t at no chain store. So I always order what the locals do, an iced americano, mostly because there’s this hipster Korean song by a guy called 10cm, even if he’s on about the hot version.

I think we skipped dinner because I’m having the runs. Since Busan status. Not good. Liquid shit sitch. 5 times a day sitch. Thank god Seoul’s toilets are like clean and nice.

The next day, it’s more hipster BS! We head to Hongdae, which is near a university and is filled with trendy shops, pubs, clubs, restaurants and whatever. There’s a big park and there’s a freakin’ expo of hipstermade goods in some kinda flea market. It’s the kind of place my mom would want to set up shop in selling her jewelry. It’s also very crowded and everyone’s cooler than me. We get some grub. I felt better today for some reason. First up was this little egg pastry thing, like an egg tart ish, kinda sweet but more eggy since it’s not a custard, just literally a baked egg. Next was a winner. The ice cream is like 1500W and you pick like a decent amount of flavors and you can mix up a few select combos as well. The one I had was coffee/cherry. Nifty low level soft serve ice cream. Heaps better than the bread ice cream/wafer in SG. You can also get the same thing but they swirl it like 20 times until you get a tower height ice cream on a cone. Liable to fall but great for dates concept.

There’s a nice design store, where they sell like some Korean designer stationery and misc product stuff. A massive coffeeshop, Coffeesmith is a chain and so on but the 1.5 height ceilings and all exposed everything are impressive. Everyone’s also drinking out of a transparent Capri-sonne bag and we queue up to get some fresh squeezed orange soda. Later, we go to the place that started the trend of using transparent sealable bags like these, Vinyl, a kooky little place that serves cocktails and more in the same bags but with their logo. I actually like the gimmick. We get some hot grub too. There’s something called the crazy/damnit burger with a long queue. It’s two pieces of toasted bread, a slice of spamlike stuff, fresh cabbage, tomato, mayo and bbq sauce. It’s good and cheap. Opposite is a version of Korean toast, with more toasted bread, ham, cheese, egg, cabbage and more ketchip/bbq/mayo. It really feels like street food.

Then we go to this little hole in the wall for some tempura/tteokbokki. It’s definitely a locals/students kinda joint. You pencil out your order on a clipboard menu and then wait for your call. You can try sitting at the counter or huddle up next door, in what must be their prep kitchen because I was sitting at the sink, with the knives in a cupboard below me and the supplies/fridge against the wall. It’s like the most insanely messy place ever and it’s small and confined and people are trying to get in after us. My girl gets the dashi soup, which they always give you free if you ask at any tteokbokki/tempura/oden joint. The tempura arrives and it’s nice, light, crunchy but so does the call to go back to Mokdong for supper with the family again!

We end up stuffed but grab some beers and chickin! Plus I get to chew on this dried and grilled squid that is so chewy, you have to pull in one direction beforehand to rip it into smaller, manageable pieces. It’s interesting and gives me something to do whilst I nod to stuff I have no clue about. Grandfather mentions Goh Chok Tong and Lee Kwan Yew and I’m like, “YEA!!!”. Even in Korea, they know about us. Incidentally, if you ever have Korean beer, get Max. It has some flavor. Cass and Hite are if you don’t drink beer.

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