At the risk of sounding like a prissy little hipster wannabe, my favorite Seoul hotspot has become Karosogil in Sinsa-dong. Sinsa has even become a regular meeting spot to work on curriculum with my favorite colleague.
I've heard from a number of people that Apgujeong is where all the IT people go, but I think Karosogil in Sinsa is far more interesting. This particular road in Sinsa is full of aesthetically pleasing boutiques, cafes, wine bars, and restaurants. Yes, most of the eateries are foreign- themed. Yes, most of the merchandise is over-priced and can be found at half the price in Dongdaemun. Yes, you have to pay a pretty penny for such pretension. But, you know what? You can only stare at flashing neon signs and poorly designed buildings jam-packed with Love Motels and noraebangs before you starve for a little architectural eye candy.
Karosogil is quite small. It only spans a few blocks, but it feels much more fresh than Apgu. It's also less noisy and not as cluttered. You also don't have to worry about being run over by some foreign sports car leisurely cruising the streets for no apparent reason.
I rarely ever buy anything in Sinsa, but I still enjoy window-shopping and people watching.
I've noticed that the pedestrians (mostly young women) walking along Karosogil are very attractive; even more so that the folks in Apgujeong. In my opinion, the trendy women in Apgu seem like they're headed to a music video shoot, while the women in Sinsa are simply fashionably elegant women out for a cup of coffee or some facial cream from L'Occitaine. Meanwhile, the men like to sit near the window or patio, preening like the prized specimens that they are. It seems, however, that most of the women ignore them in favor of the cute dress in the store next door.
You may have to click on this picture to get a closer look, but I snapped this gang of skinny-jean boys. I say "gang," because the only reason for a group of young men to dress in coordinated outfits is because they're in some team or gang. I'm pretty sure these guys were part of an aspiring boy band. Otherwise, young men have no business wearing jeans that tight.
While in Sinsa last weekend, Cyndi and I had some afternoon tea at a little French cafe. The only other time I've had high tea was at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, so perhaps I'm just ignorant, but our tea platter was aju lame.
The "Tea Platter" consisted of so-called tarts (in America we call these cookies), and a mismatched plate of savory bites.
I'm no tea connoisseur, but I don't think steak goes well with Earl Grey Tea.
Neither does a shot glass of unspecified meat. (I think it may have been pâté).
Despite the disappointing tea, I still enjoy Karosogil. Next time though, I think I'll stick to The Second Factory cafe and their paninis and waffles.
To get to Karosogil, you make take the subway to Sinsa station. Take Exit #8 and walk straight up the street for about 6 minutes or so, until you see a street sign that says "Karosogil." Turn left. You can also take the 1005-1 bus from Bundang and get off at Sinsa Station (Just walk towards Subway Exit 8). Karosogil is also walking distance from Rodeo Drive in Apgu (about 15 minutes). I'm afraid that I'm very bad with directions, so I can't give you any more specifics.