7 Oct 2011

by Bi Lee

The season for patbingsu, or shaved ice dessert, is almost over with the harbingers of autumn appearing. I first encountered La Maison Kayser in Paris and chanced upon it again in Seoul. This French boulangerie in Samcheong-dong is a three-storey cafe with the terrace over-looking the roofs of Korean traditional houses (hanoks). Although it is serving patbingsu to cater to the locals' taste bud, much of its French authenticity remains, especially in the eclair.

Samcheong-dong also houses some of Seoul's blue-chip art galleries including the Artsonje Centre that showcases experimental contemporary art. The aA design museum is undergoing a revamp to the four-storey establishment. Upon its opening, it would exhibit products, mostly furniture, rarely found in Korea. The museum's cafe is operating as usual. 


La Maison Kayser in Samcheong-dong serves up the last few patbingsu of the season

 The aA design museum entrance to cafe 


aA design museum's cafe interior 

There is a panoply of night-life districts in Seoul but perhaps the trendiest is the ginko-tree lined Garosu-gil in Gangnam area.  Cafe des Arts, with its beer and flea-market vibe, holds a wide collection of vinyl records (not for sale, unfortunately). Located on the second storey of 545 Sinsa-dong, the segregated balconies  are perfect for those wanting an intimate conversation.


People sitting on the balcony of Cafe des Arts, a bar on Garosu-gil

The Old Tea Shop serves a wide selection of tea, including a concoction of jujube, honey and pine nuts.


Insa-dong is the cultural arm of Seoul. The surprise that awaits a tourist is not the main street of Insadong-gil - that contain shops selling antiques and porcelain wares - but the multitude of alleys that branches out. The Buddhism vegetarian restaurant, Sanchon, located at the end of one alley has been serving Korean temple cooking since 1986. The fixed-menu dinner costs about USD$40 and consists of 20 dishes including tea. There is a daily performance of traditional Korean folk dance that starts at 8.15 p.m. Go earlier than that if you do not want the dimmed-down lights during the performance to distract you from your meal. 

Do not go any further than the Old Tea Shop just next door if you need tea to aid  digestion. This quaint tea house serves a wide selection of tea, including a concoction of jujube, honey and pine nuts. Past visitors have penned messages and pasted them everywhere in the shop using sticky tape. 

Next Page (To be updated) 

This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola