Our plan after a long day in Incheon was to go back to the room, rest a bit, look up a spell to cure my eye, procure a virgin and a rib from a centaur to complete said spell, and then head on out to Myeongdong for some street food and night shopping.
I LOVE Myeongdong! It’s street after street of beauty shops and boutiques and kpop merch and loud music and laughter and street food, and and and…it’s just a must-visit on any trip to Seoul. If you’re looking to just shop, then probably stick with going there during the day. But I like being there at night because it’s more of a party, night-market atmosphere and not as many food carts are out during the day.
And really, isn’t it all about the food?!
I didn’t think twice about throwing down some Won on a gyeran bbang (egg bread). This little loaf looks like it would be savory, but it is surprisingly sweet, the kind of sweetness you’d get from French toast, with a delicious egg baked right into the center, and topped with a sprinkling of sunflower seeds.
These things are so good.
Maybe the new Pie Party should be Korean Street Food Fest.
Henry doesn’t hate Myeongdong or anything, but he does get nervous because people will stand outside of various skincare shops, luring potential customers inside with the prospect of free sheet masks or other assorted “1+1” deals. And I’m a sucker. I’ll go in and look at the lip gloss and next thing I know, I’m walking out with $100 worth of premium snail serum for my face and this is not an exaggeration, this actually happened last year at The Saem in Busan. BUT THE LADY WAS SO CONVINCING and that shit actually was amazing on my skin, I’m not even going to lie. I still have some left because it was so expensive that I use it so sparingly.
But I did good on this night! I avoided all those shops and we just focused on socks (there are sooooo many sock shops in Korea but especially Myeongdong and they are fucking CUTE AND WELL-MADE – most shops have 11 for $10 deals. Chooch and I stocked the fuck up…or should I say, SOCKED the fuck up?
They also have kid socks so we were nice and got some for Calvin too.
One of my early observations from this trip is that, in spite of what all the Kpop news articles and social media would have us believe, Bigbang doesn’t seem to have actually been canceled over there. I still heard a good bit of it being played in shops and there was still just as much Bigbang merch as any other group, even Seungri specifically. So I just don’t know. Is it propaganda, do the average Koreans condemn Seungri for alleged crimes he hasn’t actually been tried for? Because if I wanted to buy a pair of Seungri socks, or a Seungri keychain, I could have easily done so at a variety of shops. So that was reassuring!
I also thought it was cool how familiar it felt being back in Myeongdong. How did Seoul so quickly start to feel like my second home!? It really must be hard-packed into my heart.
Before the trip, I was telling my co-worker Margie that we were staying in my favorite neighborhood of Hongdae and she was like, “How do you know all the different neighborhoods?” and I was like, “BECAUSE THIS IS MY LIFE, MARGIE.” But honestly, even before our first trip there, I had spent a year and a half watching vlog after vlog on YouTube of people living in Seoul and you just start to understand and recognize different areas, just like you would in your own city.
One of my favorite stores is Stylenanda, even though I never buy anything there. They sell makeup and clothes, but their stores are SO PRETTY. The one in Myeongdong specifically is themed as a hotel, and it’s like 6 floors of makeup, clothing, accessories, and a cafe themed as a rooftop pool.
Henry hates it there.
This tub is iconic.
I love shops like this because they make Henry uncomfortable and it’s so much fun for me to force him to pose for pretty princess pictures.
This bed and table are suspended over the entryway (lobby) of the store. It makes me nervous.
Stylenanda Pink Cafe.
Also in Myeongdong is an accessories boutique called My Poetry. It’s a Korean brand with multiple locations around the country, but it’s so intimately-themed that you would think it was an independent shop. And the earrings! They are so beautiful that I poured one out in an alley later that night for my closed-up holes. I really need to get my ears repierced and this shop maybe was the boot in the ass that I needed.
I did get a ring for myself there but holy shit I was really coveting some of those delicate earrings.
Also, I love that this brand’s tagline is “I still hide you in my poetry.”
Chooch got one of these s’mores-esque things to cap off the night. It had a chunk of ice cream in the middle and he of course did not let us try it.
On the subway back to Hongdae, I sat in between Chooch and some sleeping, possibly-drunk, older man who kept getting dangerously close to slumping over on me. The guy on the other side of him kept shouldering him back upright, but then at one of the subway stops, Sleeping Guy had enough momentum to fall all the way into my side. So then it was basically me and the guy on the other side volleying Sleeping Guy back and forth like a bizarre game of Subway Ping Pong, until I finally got up and stood because it was too much responsibility for me to bear.
Ugh, I miss the subway so much. :( And Myeongdong. And gyeran bbang. And sock-shopping. And Korea all around.