Seoul Walks: Sweets & Shopping in Sinsa, Part 3

This is part two of a three-part Seoul Walks series. In this segment, I’ll introduce to you Sinsa-dong’s best dessert cafes, nightlife spots and a Korean-style spa fit for a princess. For the previous post, click here.

Dessert Alley 

No visit to Sinsa is complete without a visit to one of the area’s many dessert cafes, and Narosu-gil abounds with the neighborhood’s best.

The display cases at the counter of Dore Dore are hypnotizing and lure customers like moths to a flame. Stocked with mile-high layered cakes of every color and flavor, it’s impossible not to order a slice.

Most patrons go straight for the rainbow varieties, of which there are two kinds: Precious, made of rainbow-colored cake layers separated with fresh cream, and Feel Good!, a similar concept that uses thick slabs of Philadelphia cream cheese. Other options include red velvet, chocolate, lemon and carrot. The industrial but airy atmosphere also makes Dore Dore a nice place to unwind as the sun sets.

Nearby Pumpkin Terrier is yet another famous Sinsa-dong cake house, famous for its layer cakes and terrier motif. And while the cakes are memorable (especially the Nutella Banana Cake), their rather unexpected signature item, banana pudding, is what draws in the crowds.

Custard, cream, Korea’s version of vanilla wafers and fresh banana slices take diners back to the days of childhood. Their coffee is just as tasty and is brewed with the fragrant and full-bodied Butter Fat Trio Blend of Seoul-based Anthracite Coffee Roasters.

For healthier treats you can eat on the go (which no doubt allows for more time for shopping), continue walking down the road.

Left: Pumpkin Terrier; Right: Mercy Juice

Detox juices, which are becoming increasingly trendy, can be ordered at Mercy Juice. Greek yogurt, another favorite snack of the health conscious, can be ordered by the cup or bottle, in frozen or smoothie form at Yollo. Add-on options include granola, agave syrup and mint.

Sambazon Boto Açaí has only one item on their menu: the açaí bowl. Generous portions of pureed açaí berry are topped with nutritional ingredients such goji berries, chia seeds, cacao nibs and a variety of fresh fruit; the bowls are as healthy as they are tasty and refreshing.

Dinner and a Movie

If you’re into independent films, then don’t pass up the chance to catch a flick at Indie+. The theater features a number of both domestic and international art films that you won’t likely see in the bigger theaters. Be sure to inquire at the ticket box about the language of the film, as only particular movies contain English subtitles.

Don’t fill up on popcorn, though, if you plan to pig out at Muneo Chicken, one of the biggest neighborhood hotspots for dinner. Although the popular eatery serves up a good selection of fried treats, their most popular dish is the platter which shares the name of the restaurant: a large portion of fried octopus (served whole) and chicken, accompanied by a salad and potato wedges.

The unusual chewy-crispy texture combination and tasty flavors of the dish pair well with Muneo Chicken’s signature frozen beer, a refreshing adult beverage topped with a frosty swirl of foam. The dining experience is only enhanced by the pocha (street food tent) atmosphere, where diners of all ages can be found chowing down on this unusual but ingenious dish.

Photo: Korean Tourism Organization

When you’re completely stuffed, head to Spa Lei to soothe your aching shopping arms. Unlike most jjimjilbang (public bath houses) in Korea, Spa Lei is for girls only (sorry, guys!) and goes out of its way to accommodate its female guests.

The rock sauna, which is essentially a bed of heated stones that contour to the curves of the body, is particularly relaxing, and the massaging jets of the hot tubs will have you never wanting to leave this place. But, there’s so much more to see in Seoul, so soak it up, enjoy and get ready for some more exploring!

To Get There: Take the Seoul subway to Sinsa Station (Line 3, Exit 8).

Guide Map (Includes locations in entire Seoul Walks: Sweets & Shopping in Sinsa)

Words by Mimsie Ladner of Seoul Searching. Content may not be reproduced unless authorized.