Last year I predicted that Roti Bun was going to be a huge hit. Lo and behold, roti buns are almost as ubiquitous as coffee in Seoul. Despite being featured in KBS' megahit, Boys Over Flowers, I think the popularity of roti buns are on the decline (Sorry, roti buns. Korea is a fickle, fickle market.) Move over roti buns. Here are my picks for the next big trend items.
1. Turkish döner kebab
Anyone's who been to Itaewon a few times has probably discovered the awesomness that are Turkish kebabs for him or herself. Kebabs joints have probably been around in Itaewon for quite some time. I would say, however, that kebabs have only recently become popular amongst Koreans. Case in point, they now sell kebabs in MYEONGDONG. Once an item hits the streets of Myeondong it's no longer on the cusp of trend, it is a trend. The Myeondong kebabs have even been Koreanified, i.e., lots of mayo and cabbage. Also, if you've seen any of the newly renovated kebab joints in Itaewon, it's evident that the kebab business is poppin'.
2. Forever 21
This trend item probably seems redundant given that in Standard American Mall English, "Forever 21" means "trendy." In my opinion, Forever 21 is a whole different animal in Korea. First of all, I don't know if it's just the merhcandising, but the clothes in Forever 21 Myeondong seem a lot more chic. It's definitely more expensive. Also, the Myeondong store is flanked by bodyguards in black suits and ear pieces, who all take their job very seriously. I loves me some Forever 21, but I think bodyguards are a little much. Anyhow, I've been seeing those horrendous caution-tape yellow bags all around town. Seoul folks are definitely loving Forever 21.
3. BBang Faces.
I'm not sure what they're called, but these little cellphone buns are so adorable. They're also made out of some rubbery foam that make them so squishably lovely.
Brunch has been around for ages, but I definitely think that brunch is this year's roti bun. Everyone restaurateur and their umma is now serving brunch. Stroll around Itaewon, and you'll find that nearly every eatery now offers a brunch menu. It doesn't matter if it's Italian, French, or just a little cafe, they got brunch. Of course, brunch might consist of pasta and sausage, but it's called brunch.
Our latest brunch hotspot is Richard Copycat's All-American Diner in Itaewon. It's a cross between Hooters (without the "hooters") and a diner. Portions are very American, and the food's not half-bad. The staff all speak English.
This isn't quite a trend so much as a trend I'd like to see blossom. Cupcake bakeries have been popping up around Seoul, but I've been pretty disappointed by all the cucpakes I've tried. This weekend, while cruising the food hall at Hyundae Department Store (in the Coex), we discovered a new cupcake bakery called "Good Ovening." I have to say the cupcakes there are the prettiest I've seen thus far in Seoul. They definitely look like they could be delicious. Unfortunately, I had just started my obscene diet, so I couldn't sample a cupcake. Instead, I made Seong and Cyndi try the red velvet cupcake while I looked on :(
Cyndi & Seong said that the cupcake was tasty, though skimpy on the sugar and butter. The cupcakes, are apparently, lower in calories than most other cupcakes, hence the shortage of fat and sugar. The cupcake appeared a little too dry for liking, but I won't be able to taste them for myself until after my exam next week.