I cannot tell you how much I LOVE the cafes and dessert shops in Asia. Not to mention the spectacular-looking desserts, most cafes express a unique personality. What’s better way to enrich your day than surrounding yourselves with desserts and coffee? Even if you’re alone, sitting in a cafe can bring peace and inspiring ideas to your mind 😉
In Seoul, you could find a coffee/dessert shop every 100 meters. They are ubiquitous. Even though popping in on cafes and dessert spots weren’t the main goal of our trip, we found a few that are well worth a visit!
- Sulbing (설빙): Originated from Busan, Sulbing is a popular chain dessert cafe in Korea specializing in shaved snowflake dessert. Similar to shaved ice, the white crystal flakes have the powdery snow consistency that instantly melt in your mouth; however, instead of ‘ice,’ they use frozen milk, giving the dessert a sweeter and creamier taste!
Another popular dessert here is the injeolmi toast (인절미토스트) which is prepared with sticky rice cakes sandwiched between toasted white bread, then topped with sweet or savory goodies such as honey, ice cream, garlic cheese, or citron.
Not speaking a single word of Korean? That’s okay, simply point to the photo or model that looks the most appetizing to you! Prices range from 4,500-9,000 won for desserts. Pay attention to any set meal they offer, e.g., the value set we ordered came with premium strawberry sulbing, garlic cheese injeolmi toast and a beverage at a price of 16,000 won!
Besides Busan, Sulbing has various branches all over Korea. We visited the one in Sinsadong when we were hitting the shops, but you could find out the complete list of locations here on the official website.
About Sulbing (설빙) – Sinsadong Garosu-gil Branch (가로수길점)
Address: 2F, 45, Gangnam-daero 152-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 강남구 강남대로 152번길 45, 2층)
- Hello Kitty Cafe: Located in the lively Hongdae area, this pink mansion decorated with Hello Kitty merchandise is a must-not-miss spot for Hello Kitty fans. The cafe serves coffee, sandwiches and dessert for hungry visitors. Since it is a tourist site, the menu has English translation, making ordering easier for foreigners. A word of advice – don’t put too much hope on the food, as we all know that the selling point here is princess Hello Kitty, not the food or drinks 😉
Take a tour as you enjoy afternoon tea and immerse yourself in the cuteness of the Hello Kitty world! Get your camera ready 🙂
Don’t you just want to take all the furniture and items back home with you? Don’t worry, there is a gift shop connected to the cafe, selling the cutest Hello Kitty products. If you have friends and family who are also a Hello Kitty fan, don’t forget to stop by for souvenirs!
About Hello Kitty Cafe
Address: 364-14, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul (서울시 마포구 서교동 364-14)
- Cacao Green (카카오그린): Filled with deep, sensual coffee and chocolate aroma, the serene cafe is a cozy spot to rest your feet and take a break from the shopping spree. As a cacao expert, Cacao Green serves the best chocolate drinks and sweets in the heart of Myeongdong. It is a little secret in Myeongdong where you could find cure to any chocolate craving. From cookies, brownies to chocolate gelato, the store offers various chocolate desserts. Take your pick! As we looked through the menu, the colorful, luscious strawberry gelato pie (13800 won) caught our attention. As we poured down the hot strawberry sauce, the icy ball-shaped strawberry gelato began softening and moistening the flaky pie and chocolate crumble. The sweet-and-sour sauce was irresistible and had a nice depth of flavor!
The shop doubled up with a frozen yogurt chain called Red Mango, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds 😛
About Cacao Green (카카오그린)
Address: 3F, 32-5 Myeong-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울 중구 명동2가 32-5 3층)
- Gahoe Hankyunghun Gallery Cafe (가회한경헌): Nestled inside Bukchon hanok village, this gallery cafe features a traditional Korean exterior in contrast to the modern interior design. By giving traditional Korean architecture a more modern feel, the cafe strikes a balance between tradition and modern aesthetics! Even though we came in to escape from the summer heat, we ended up spending much time admiring the unique beauty of this hanok house. The fact that it is situated on the slope of a hill gave us a fantastic view of the hanok village 😉
About Gahoe Hankyunghun Gallery Cafe (가회한경헌)
Address: 170 Changdeokgung-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 창덕궁길 170)
- Jeon Kwang Soo Coffee House (전광수커피): Serious coffee connoisseurs who appreciate the nuances of delicious coffee should pay pilgrimage to Jeon Kwang Soo Coffee House. Following the bitter-sweet robust aroma of espresso, we accidentally stumbled across this cute little hanok-turned coffee shop in Samcheongdong.
Specializing in hand-dripped coffee, the cafe is capable of providing top quality coffee, under the hands of skilled baristas, for coffee fanatics. With the sophisticated Dutch coffee maker and awards displayed at one corner, you could tell Jeon Kwang Soo not only provides a suitable caffeine fix but is also dedicated to making the perfect cup of coffee drink.
Not a coffee drink? It’s okay. You should have no problem finding herbal/floral drinks or other beverages to keep yourself hydrated. Oh, did I mention that they made delicious oreo cheesecake as well? 😉
About Jeon Kwang Soo Coffee House (전광수커피) – Bukchon Branch (북촌점)
Address: 16, Bukchon-ro 4-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 북촌로4길 16)
Other locations: http://jeonscoffee.co.kr/franchise/house/shop
Ya Kun Coffee & Toast: For some reason, when we were in Seoul, Kev had a sudden craving for kaya toast, a well-known breakfast dish in Singapore and Malaysia that is prepared with kaya (coconut jam), sugar, coconut milk, eggs, pandan, and margarine or butter. He begged me to find him a place in Seoul that serves it. (Yes, in Seoul. Was he out of his mind??) Without any expectation, I searched online for a spot that would satiate Kev’s weird craving. Surprisingly, there is really a cafe in Seoul that offers delectable kaya toast, giving people a perfect dose of nostalgia.Founded in Singapore, Ya Kun has expanded into multiple countries in Asia to make it accessible for foreigners to experience a Singaporean style breakfast or for Singaporeans to have a fix of kaya toast.
Toasted bread enveloping chucks of salted butter and a generous spread of kaya – it is the perfect snack that goes very well with a cup of local coffee or tea! The toast was so soft and crunchy – it’s melt in your mouth goodness! The salted butter counteracted the sweetness of the kaya jam perfectly. I promised you that you would fall in love with kaya jam instantly 🙂
About Ya Kun Coffee & Toast – Seoul Financial Center Branch
Address: 136 Seoul Finance Center Sejong-Daero, Jung-Gu, Seoul