Apart from my beloved Itaewon, my favourite neighbourhood in the city to hang out in is probably Mangwon. It is a a treasure trove of small independent shops, cafes and restaurants and is very conveniently only a 20 minute train ride away from Itaewon or a short walk from Hongdae. Unlike many of the trendy neighbourhoods, it has retained all of its all old-school Korean charm, thanks to the fact that it still boasts a traditional Korean market. Whilst I have written about Mangwon before (click here for link), it has changed so much since my first write up that I wanted to come up with an updated version.
Salt House – If I could only eat in one of the spots that I have listed today, Salt House would probably be it. They started off as a delivery deli service but last year opened their own store selling sandwiches and other delicious goodies to showcase their amazing smoked meats. This is not a spot you want to miss.
Cafe Avocado – If there is one ingredient that almost everyone loves, it is avocado. The creamy green veg is celebrated to the max at Cafe Avocado. Almost every dish on the menu includes avocado. There is a real medley of dishes, and the avocado toast (pictured above) is probably the best.
Lao Piak – You are more than likely familiar with Vietnamese and Thai food, but if you haven’t tried Laotian then you have have been missing out. This adorable restaurant serves up South East Asian cuisine at very reasonable prices. If you can’t afford a summer holiday this year, a visit to this restaurant is the next best thing.
Hula Hula – If you are looking for something a bit tropical and Hawaiian, look no further than Hula Hula. They offer classic dishes such as poke bowls and a special brunch menu on weekends. We tried their Bacon & Shrimp Eggs Benedict (15,000) which was pretty yummy indeed.
Ola Shack – While I love to indulge, I also enjoy eating healthily. At Ola Shack they have a menu filled with natural yet delicious dishes such as salads, sandwiches, and smoothie bowls. The food is delicious but also healthy enough to make you feel virtuous while eating it.
Chez Simon – Mangwon is a down to earth kind of place, but there are a few high end spots too. Chez Simon offers one of the best set menus around. The five course lunch which includes a steak as the main course runs at only 40,000 per person. However it is a very small place, so bookings must be made in advance.
Zapangi – This little cafe is super famous, all thanks to its vending machine door. On any given day, you can often find a group of girls hanging around outside trying to get the perfect shot. Inside you will find some adorable drinks and desserts which are also worth a picture. If you are on the Mangwon tour it is not to be missed.
Midnight Seoul – If you are looking for something uniquely arty and and Korean, this museum/salon is a a real treat. The whole room is filed with art work and hand made crafts and beautiful items from the owners life. They also make a hell of a cocktail and do a superb charcuterie platter if you get peckish.