May 232024

Literally no one cares but I was so excited about going to Mullae!! It’s a neighborhood of Seoul that, DARE I SAY, is a hidden gem. This isn’t something that I ever see listed on your standard “Top Things to Do in Seoul” itinerary lists and I only knew about it from the local vloggers that I watch on YouTube. It wasn’t on my radar AT ALL the first two times we were in Korea and I was stoked to explore a new-to-us area, especially because it’s supposed to be super artsy and industrial, being one of the least gentrified areas and still rife with various factories for metal and textiles, and one street has so many of the metal ones that it’s known as “Steel Factory Street” and as someone who was born and raised in Pittsburgh a/k/a The Steel City, I had to go here. Hometown pride? Eh. Hometown something.

There was a Starbucks right outside of the subway exit and Chooch was being a big baby about wanting, nay – NEEDING, to try some dumb thing that they had that I can’t even remember because I really can’t stand Starbucks, although I HAD to go to Starbucks, I would choose a Korean location all day every day.

Anyway, a big part of Mullae’s charm is its maze of alleys so we immediately ducked off the main drag and started to explore.

One of the gallery streets. The Artfield Gallery had lots of art that I wanted to buy but my bank account was in my ear, laughing, “Yeah you wish, sucker.” The artist whose work was on display while we were there is 조수정.


Mullae has the best murals! I already posted this in real time from that day, but oh well mothercheffers. Cook on.

Shout out to Fårup!

This just in: Chooch verified that he ordered the choux cream latte at Starbucks.

Rust was recommended on every single Mullae vlog I watched prior to this trip. It was P A C K E D.

The process of choosing your treats and ordering drinks wasn’t too bad but it was the dreaded SEAT FINDING PORTION of the cafe visit that gave us anxiety. This place was multi-level and Chooch and I roamed around aimlessly looking for open seats. I bet this place is amazing on a quiet day because there were some really cozy nooks upstairs! Sadly, all taken.

We eventually found seats on the rooftop deck and that was fine by me because it was a beautiful day and it was quiet out there.

As you can see, we had to try their salt bread (it was good but you know, we have tasted the salt bread that was baked in Heaven’s oven and brushed with butter browned by Jesus Christ himself (I dunno what browned butter is or even if it is used on these but I just wanted you to know that I have heard of it and that’s only because Wendi mentioned it in regard to baking cookies one time in group chat at work and I quickly googled “the fuck is browning the butter.”) and then put on GOD’S MENU.

But yeah Jane, I’m not kidding – I am like skibidi* obsessed with these to the point that if we ever make it back to Korea, I am going to go straight there before the hotel after leaving Incheon.

*(I asked Chooch to help me learn how to use this and he said that I don’t need to ever use this because it’s not a word, it’s brain rot, and only elementary school kids use it and when I say that made me want to add it to my vernacular even more….)

Chooch really wanted that thing with the chives on it because it was the seasonal special, some green onion savory croissant thing, but a girl in front of him swooped in and took the last three from the case. He was crying about it in that bitch-boi way of his, but there was an entire cooling rack of them behind the counter so Henry asked the cashier if she could get one for him, and it was a whole thing because she had to first go out to the floor and check for herself that the case was empty, like Henry was trying to scam her into giving him the FRESHEST ONE. I mean, he does look like an entitled douche.

Anyway, all of that and then Chooch didn’t even like it.

My latte was GUD.

fire sex tech zzz, duh. That’s going to be my skibidi.

That was a really nice hang, even though Henry was with us.

And just when you thought we had enough drinks…I remembered that my new friend from our Seoul office – Tomie – had recommended a place that SONG MINO has visited, so I had it on my MUST DO list.

(And then promptly forgot – almost.)

Henry and Chooch were whining about not being able to drink anymore, but I refused to hear it. Cafe culture is a huge part of Seoul! And we were IN SEOUL. So…skibidi dibidi cafe hoppity.

Except that we couldn’t find the damn place. We’re not n00bs to Korea so we use Naver maps like we’re real, verified locals, but the block that it took us to was not it, fam.  There was a Mexican restaurant, a few other storefronts, a sketchy-ass stairwell.

“Maybe it’s down the steps,” Chooch shrugged. I walked closer and peeked into the doorway. It looked like it descended into a dank parking garage. Nope, not doing it.

So then I went back to the map that Tomie made me and clicked on the Naver page for the cafe.

“It says it’s open, and that it should be,” I glanced up from my phone, “RIGHT HERE.”

Henry was already starting to retreat, like, “Oh darn, one less cafe, boo hoo, let’s go get real food plz.” But then I started looking through the customer pictures on Naver and some PRECIOUS SWEETHEART posted a picture of the STAIRWELL and drew arrows to it.

“Chooch, I think you were right,” I whispered, and we tentatively tiptoed down the steps in case we were about to interrupt a scene from Saw Part 187.

Also from Naver:

And then at the bottom and to the left, we saw this ^^^!!

It led us into a small corridor and we could hear bass emanating from the other side of a door. However, it felt way too VIP. Were we too square to be here?! I was so nervous when opening the door, expecting a roomful of super edgy Koreans looking like they stepped off of a street fashion Instagram page to whip their heads around and glare at us.

Also from Naver:

But instead, we were greeted by a REALLY KIND AND COOL barista – he apologized for not having an English menu and asked if we could speak Korean – I said “a little” in Korean and it was actually OK because reading menus is what I excel at in Korea, lol. But then another barista came over and assisted as well even though I told Henry what it said – he had no faith in me.

I can see why Song Mino likes it here!

Loud hip hop was playing and it was a whole vibe. So dank and basement-y, it reminded me of this hidden bar / after hours club that this dude Freddy (Fredrick von Hamilton from Vampire Nation lol) took me to in the early 2000s, pre-Henry where even then, when I was way cooler than I am now, I felt like I was in over my head, lol.

LOL now I’m dying, thinking back to those days. HOW DID I EVEN MEET THIS GUY?? I remember going back to his apartment on the South Side (it was a really cool spot) and turning down his advances and how lucky I am that he was a nice (enough) guy to let it go. Jesus.


Our dranks!

Chooch, thinking my every action is so annoying and an embarrassment.

Anyway, it was a really – and I mean REALLY – cool time. I loved sitting there, listening to the music, drinking my good-ass ah-ah (iced Americano for you non-Koreans), and thinking about how Song Mino was once where I now was.

Life is so cool sometimes.

When we left, we had just made it out of the little corridor and back into the creepy garage when the first barista came running out after us. He wanted to give us stickers!!! I legit almost cried, I thought it was so nice and cool of him! Anyway, I started following the cafe on IG and they followed me back and liked a bunch of my photos from the trip!

What a great rec, I thanked Tomie profusely for that on KakaoTalk later.

We started to make our way back to the subway after this, totally jittery and in need of real food.

On the way, I spotted a little alley with some tables of jewelry set up. I immediately veered off to get a closer look and could sense Henry mouthing FML to the skies. While I was looking, a man came out of a nearby art studio and asked if he could help me. YUP, I wanted to buy all of the rings I saw! But instead, I chose two:

Fucking obsessed. The one on the left says, “My mom says I can’t play with you” – I was proud of myself for translating it on my own, and the guy was kind of struggling to explain the meaning. He said it’s a Korean joke and I was like, “OK great, I’ll take it!” Because regardless of the full joke getting lost in translation, that is definitely something snotty I used to say to other kids when I was trying to be a dick back in the day.

Trying to be?” I can hear Future Henry saying out loud if he ever reads this.

But yeah, I cherish these rings, and they were handmade in the studio where I paid for them! I regERT not buying more.

And, that was Mullae. We only just got our toes wet on this quick little jaunt. If I ever make it back there, it will definitely be on the list of unskippable neighborhoods, right up there with Hongdae, Insadong, Ikseondong, and Jongno. There were a lot of brewery-type places there so maybe that will entice Henry to go back, because I can’t be certain he was sold on this neighborhood (too hipster for him probs) but he did agree that Geukrak was a really great cafe. So there’s that!

Oh, and he bought more salt bread from a bakery in the subway station as we were leaving, lol. Always room for salt bread.

I know you’re like, “Come on, this has to be the last post for Easter Sunday, right?” WRONG. We still have one more before we get to the saddest posts of this whole series: The Last Day Posts. :(

Say it don't spray it.

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