Have you ever looked around and just felt overwhelmed by the ever-accelerating pace of our modern society? Have you ever wanted to take time off from the hustle and bustle of life and take a minute to breathe and collect yourself? Take a trip to Ikseon-dong! 10 Magazine presents to you this trendy spot in Seoul to indulge yourself in serenity.
A place where modern meets traditional, here at the 100-year-old Ikseon-dong Hanok Village, time seems to go slower than the rest of Seoul.
Ikseon-dong, or Ikseon-dong Hanok Village, is a maze-like street located in the very center of Seoul. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods since the village was established during the 1920s. Despite that, it is still very much lived-in until today. The combination of traditional houses and modern interior design is the charm of Ikseon-dong and is the sole reason why it is getting more attention from bloggers and vloggers in this past year.
The place itself is more popular to locals rather than tourists, even though Ikseon-dong is super close to the famous Gyeongbokgung Palace. Every shop, cafe, and restaurant are packed closely by each other, making a hop from one cafe to another restaurant very convenient. You will be able to enjoy slow walking while taking in the retro-atmosphere, which offers the ideal opportunity for one to take their friends and family to hang out as they enjoy photogenic sceneries, traditional architectural designs and it even works as a romantic dating spot for the lovebirds.
Here is a small map of Ikseon-dong to give you the general idea of the neighborhood.
Cafes, Restaurants and Shops We Recommend in Ikseon-dong
This Hanok-themed cafe truly does bring out the best of both worlds with their minimal interior design matched with the old traditional house. Seoul Coffee 1945 isn’t just famous for their looks but they’re known for their bread and ice cream as well! The butter-bread (literally butter stuffed in bread) is a must-try menu!
Feeling a bit fancy? How about visiting this cute little French cuisine, Le Blanseu. The restaurant claimed that they’re a “French Home meal”, one of their famous menus is mussels in a blue cheese sauce and roasted chicken, yum!
Changhwadung is a chained restaurant famous for its mandu and traditional Korean style interior decoration, that’s what makes it fits the hanok village so well. Once you step inside the restaurant it’s as if you have traveled back in time. If you are looking to find a simple Korean meal, consider them!
In today’s episode of Korean Cafe Hopping 101, let’s get to know this simple movie-themed cafe. Uncle Video Town is a cafe that plays a movie through a projector while looking super hip. As it is movie-themed, their menus are extended to even selling menus like hotdogs and corndogs for you to enjoy while watching the movie or just absorbing the atmosphere. Perfect for a quiet and slow day!
What is a vintage area without a traditional clothing shop? Teterot Salon introduces you to “modern hanbok” fashion, just like how the overall vibe of Ikseon-dong is. They promote wearing hanbok in a casual way to the younger generation, as hanbok in Korea was often only wore on certain occasions only. If you want a piece of cute, classy, and fashionable hanbok of your own, don’t forget to visit Teterot Salon.
If you are a frequent visitor or very exposed to the Korean culture, you might have seen, heard, or tried Hotteok. Ssal Sanghoe, here, is a shop specifically for the Long Hotteok (길쭉이호떡). This hotteok served in a paper cup, is made of a 90% domestically grown rice which made them especially chewier! They have the traditional flavored Hotteok, Red bean paste Hotteok, Meat Hotteok, Pizza Hotteok, and even Japchae Hotteok!
Despite being called “Salon”, it is a cafe and pub! Sooknyo Salon serves from coffee, bakery, to wine and beer. This old-fashioned brick house offers you a warm, cozy, and comfortable environment for you to enjoy your day sipping your drink and live in the moment. Their signature menu is the tiramisu drink and castella!
Another Instagram-worthy cafe with a cute interior and great food. Dongbaek’s signature menu is their super fluffy soufflé pancakes, they serve it in different flavors such as Original, Green tea, Apple, and Strawberry. When we say it is their signature menu, we mean it, because they do not offer any baked goods apart from the pancakes!
Pink curtains and pink chair? Sign me up immediately! This restaurant in Ikseon-dong could possibly be the most popular and most mentioned by Korean bloggers. There is almost always a queue for you to line up even on a quiet day, and could even go as long as 3 hours waiting on a holiday. Their most famous menu is Tonkatsu and Hamburg Steak! Try for yourself to see if it’s worth the queue.
Although it is in a walking distance from Insadong, the easiest way to get to Ikseon-dong is to get off at Jongno 3 ga station and the closest exit would be 4 & 6. Since Ikseon-dong is not just one spot but it is the whole area, it is quite tricky to explain where the exact location is, please refer to the map below for a clearer picture of how to get there.