Apr 092024

Sunday, March 24, 2024: I woke up bright and early rearin’ to go. We let Chooch sleep in while we went out to various convenience stores in search of the veggie “triangle kimbap” which is really called samgak kimbap. It’s one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast and this time, Chooch was fully on the bandwagon too. Only GS25 (as far as my experience went) had the “veggie garden” variety which had tofu in it and was delectable. Ya gotta be careful though because in Korea, even if something is billed as a “veggie” version, there could still be some meats in there. Or fish cake. Chooch and I did a lot of “picking out” every time we’d procure kimbap rolls, but what are you gonna do.

Henry and I decided to walk around a bit and see what the surrounding area near our hotel had to offer. It was so quiet and peaceful out.

I liked that this cafe was called Wth. Fun fact about South Korea is that while their cafe culture is….percolating (LOL I AM SO COOL), a lot of the cafes don’t open until 11AM on average. I think if it’s a chain (local Korean chains are Holly’s, Tom n Toms, Ediya….), you have a better chance of grabbing a morning coffee, but the more trendy, stand-alone, dessert-focused ones are likely not going to be open for your morning pleasure – BUT unlike idiotic Pittsburgh, cafes are open late into the night there.


I look like a dumbo but I have been obsessed with these storefront gate things since our first trip. You know me and stripes.

Our hotel! We all really liked this place. It was very conveniently located.

The good triangle kimbap! I’m drooling right now. Henry just made a bunch of kimbap rolls (NOT SUSHI!!!! THEY ARE DIFFERENT!!!) yesterday but these samgak ones from the convenience store just hit different. They’re so satisfying. I wish we had good convenience stores here.

Chooch immediately busting the blinds in the hotel hallway.

SUBWAY TIME!! The morning plan was to go to Hongdae because I was still on a hunt for a good T-Money card and I remembered the last time we stayed in Hongdae, the subway exit closest to our guest house had a good T-Money Card machine with like, I dunno, Kakao Friends designs and stuff. Plus, Chooch wanted to walk down the main shopping street in Hongdae to look for an airpod case.

I think this mirror message translates to something like: Customer! Have a happy day!

The Pittsburgh trolley stations don’t give a shit if I’m having a happy day or not. They also don’t sell me delicious treats and even if they did, I’m certain I wouldn’t feel safe to ingest anything purchased down there lol.

STREET TOAST IN HONGDAE! Also, no cute T-Money machines were found.

Hongdae is a really lively college town, and at night it really comes alive with buskers and bars and clubs. However, we noticed that the stretch of area where the buskers usually perform was all dug up and looked to be in the works to be repaved. We came back a few days later, and it was almost completely renovated, but there was no busking going on. Henry wondered if they still needed to bring in electricity or something, I don’t know but he is a wise white man when it comes to construction things so he may have been correct.

Anyway, this street in the picture above was eerily quiet since it was so early in the day. I liked being able to walk around and take in everything in the daylight without swarms of crowds. (The Hongdae crowds never bother me though, FYI! It’s always so exciting and vibrant there.)

It’s so strange for a literal foreign country to feel so familiar and comfortable to me! This subway exit especially brought back the warm feels. I have a picture of that Hogndae Street mural on my wall!

Arguing over a map. All is right in the world.

We decided on a whim to go to Mangwon Market after our Hongdae excursion, where I forgot to mention but Chooch goaded Henry into doing one of those punching games with him and when it was Henry’s turn, he totally whiffed on the little punching bag and the secondhand embarrassment was real, you guys. I wish I had been recorded when that happened but also I’m glad that I wasn’t. It was painful to witness. LOL. My big strong almost-husband!

We first found this market by accident on our 2018 trip. The market that EVERYONE goes to when they come to Seoul is Gwangjang Market and that can be fun if you have never been to Seoul but it is so much of a tourist trap now that many locals have begun to boycott it. It was already popular and bustling when we first went, but since then, it was featured on some Netflix street food series and now every effing travel vlogger has to set up shop there. We didn’t go there at all this time but I have watched YouTube videos from locals who say that it’s become very overpriced and they give you less portions now.

Still, it’s an experience! But for us, Mangwon Market was more of what we wanted.

And we stopped at Mega Coffee for the first time too because there were signs for some Minions drink but then it turned out that the event had ended so Chooch had to settle for some other kind of apple-y drink and I got a refreshing green apple kombucha and Chooch got a green apple ade with pearl from their new spring menu.

The cup sleeves had Itzy on it so of course I had to save mine :)


We also got a selection of sweet tteok and other types of songpyeon, etc. I always forget the actual names for those but I love every single kind.

Wow, look a little happier to be eating twigim.

Then we headed back toward our hotel because we had a lunch reservation in Insadong at a Buddhist restaurant, 100% vegan! I really tried to write about this while we were still in Korea because it was such an immediate highlight but too many distractions.

I just perused my vacation journal to see if I missed anything pertinent from Hongdae (other than Chooch using all of Henry’s loose change in claw machines) and Mangwon Market (other than Henry being a see-u about everything I wanted to get and then me almost getting annihilated by a guy on a bicycle and I do mean it was a very close call and it could have potentially ended our trip if contact had been made) but apparently we’re all good!

I will continue this in another post because GUESS WHAT. It’s my blog and I can!

Say it don't spray it.

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