On almost any best eats list in NYC, one place you can always expect to see is the Magnolia Bakery. The cupcakes were made famous by Sex and the City, though the banana pudding is also well favoured and keeps queues around the block on any given day. Last year in New York I was lucky enough to visit the original location, but since then they have opened up a store in Seoul!
There are actually two branches open in our fair city, one in Pangyo and this one in Samseong-dong in the COEX mall. The Pangyo branch has been open for at least 6 months so the queues have died down somewhat. However they still restrict you to one banana pudding and one red velvet cupcake per customer, so be sure to bring some friends.
The bakery is located inside the Hyundai COEX Mall on the basement floor on the food market level. The store also hosts a cafe for you to sit and enjoy your treats. Luckily I came on a week day lunchtime when there was no queue and I was able to snag a seat. There are dozens of different cakes and desserts to choose from and in the end I decided upon two cupcakes and two puddings. My first cupcake was the Vanilla (3,800). The vanilla cake with vanilla butter cream not surprisingly had a deep vanilla flavour but it was a touch on the artificial side. However I still preferred it to the White Out (4,300). The red velvet cake topped with meringue frosting was very strange indeed. The frosting had a fizzy taste and the cake itself was very dry. I wish I had stuck with the plain red velvet instead of being tempted by this new gimmicky cake.
I fared much better with the puddings though. The Banana Pudding (4,800) is what they are famous for, and after re-tasting it I can see why. The luxurious rich and creamy banana custard with layers of soaked wafer in between is like a little bite of heaven. I ate this at the original NYC branch and had forgotten how good it was. I was a fool not to go for the large size. My last dessert was the Chocolate Parfait (8,800). I adore a chocolate trifle and the layers of chocolate sponge custard and cream were too much for me to resist. This one was not quite as good as the banana pudding but it was a close second.
Overall I’d still say the Magnolia Bakery was worth the trip across town. The cakes are priced pretty much in line with any other bakery or cake shop in Seoul, and there are more American flavours available. It’s worth coming for the banana pudding alone, but there are dozens of other delectable looking treats too, the hard part is just deciding what to get.
Magnolia Bakery is located at Hyundai Dept Store, B1F & 1F, 517,Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Samseong Station (line 2) and come out of exit 6. Walk straight into the mall heading for the Hyundai food court. You will see Magnolia Bakery in the far bottom right hand corner next to the gourmet popcorn shop. For more information you can call them on 02-3467-8969 or check out their facebook page. The store is open from Mon-Fri 10:30 – 20:00 and Sat-Sun: 10:30 – 20:30.