Korea Diary | Edae Street Eats & Saturday Night in Sinchon (Day 14)After a day full of sightseeing, my friends and I chose to have a more chill Saturday. For us it meant shopping, eating, and singing.
Yonsei University and Ewha Women's University are right across the street from each other. Sinchon and Edae are basically each school's "college towns". In fact Edae is basically a shortened version of Ewha and University (daehak) in Korean. It is fairy easy to walk from one neighborhood to the next as they're right next to one another.
On days where we didn't want to walk a big circle around Sinchon to get to Edae, there was the graffiti tunnel shortcut. (Of course there is the option to just walk through Ewha University too. But...in the name of exploring! Right?) It can look intimidating, dark, and scary. If this was a tunnel in New York, I would definitely think twice about going into there. But Seoul is a pretty safe place. Plus, it looks much longer than it really is. You'll get out in no time!
Once you reach an area where there are tons of shops and restaurants, you will know you've reached Edae. Since Ewha University is a women's college, the streets surrounding it are filled with:
- small and relatively inexpensive clothing & accessories shops
- road shop Korean cosmetic brands
- nail and hair salons
- and tons of chain and mom 'n pop restaurants & food stands
(Not to sound sexist or anything but that's just the types of stores in this area has a lot of.)
There are so many side streets and alley ways to get lost in but there is almost always food to be found. The street food selection isn't as wide as that in Myeongdong but there are a few good eats that you just can't say no to at Edae.
The first is egg bread. It may look similar to the poop bread from the last post and/or taiyaki (fish bread) yet it is very much different. The bread half of this snack is more pancake like in terms of softness. The golden brown coloring isn't as crispy, although it can be depending on the vendor. The other half is not bread at all but a whole egg cracked and cooked right on top of the pancake-y bread. Sometimes the yolk might still be a tinge runny. Other times it is more akin to a perfectly boiled egg. Simplicity at it's best! I think each one probably costs around ₩1,000 or maybe even less.
The second is cup chicken. No gimmicks here, literally fried boneless chicken, fried rice cakes, and fried tater tots in a takeaway hot drinks cup. Crispy fried goodness! I don't know what Korea does but they have their frying game on point. I don't think I have had anything fried there that was an oily mess. Cup chicken is generally tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce and topped with what looks to be mayonnaise. The small (well technically large or keun 큰 according to the menu) is ₩2,000 and the larger size (king or wang 왕) is just ₩3,000.
The third is ice cream, in general. There are many places to get ice cream in Edae. Options are abundant. Whether it is a patbingsoo, liquid nitrogen ice cream, or a big chain like Baskin Robins, Edae will probably have it. Even though your home country might have Baskin Robins, go and try it in Korea anyways! It is almost a guarantee that there will be flavors you won't have back home.
The above two are two flavors that I had at one of my many Baskin Robins visits and probably arguably my favorites. Puss In Boots is a chocolate and vanilla ice cream mix with chocolate malt ball candies. Pralines 'N Cream is a vanilla ice cream with caramel and nuts.
After an afternoon of shopping, we headed to Sinchon to grab some eats before our Saturday night activities.
Our friends recommended we try this braised chicken dish at this particular restaurant chain, Bongchujjimdak. I knew this would be something right up my alley once the big plate of chicken was set on the table. Meat! Scallions! Tons of sauce! Just as I expected...it was delicious. At the end if you have a lot of sauce and veggies leftover, ask for a bowl of rice. Mix it in and it is instant bibimbap!
But really don't be fooled by the color of that sauce. Just because it isn't bright red, doesn't mean it isn't spicy! There were dried chilis thrown into the mix. I think I would have enjoyed it even more if it was just a tad less spicy. If I remember correctly, there was no other option to adjust spiciness (only the portion size) on the actual menu itself. However, the friends who recommended it said they've had it less spicy before. Just that someone they knew had requested it in Korean for them. Since none of us at the table were at that particular level of Korean language mastery, our wish was ultimately not understood.
Once our bellies were filled, we went out to the streets in search of a karaoke spot or noraebang 노래방. I don't remember if it was this particular night but on one of our singing frenzy sessions, we karaoke-hopped to at least 2-3 different places. While shops in Edae are more geared towards the female demographics, Sinchon is catered towards college kids in general. Yes you'll still find the cosmetics shops. But there are more big brand clothing shops and department stores in this area. There are much much more bars and noraebangs here than in Edae, but not as many as Hongdae.
Korean style karaoke rooms still have the old-school number punching system. Each room is equipped with disco lights and a few music instruments (tambourine and/or maracas). If you're lucky it may have a strong AC. But what's really different in Korea is the singing scoring at the end of the each song. Costs at most places are usually ~₩20,000 per hour. If the noraebang you picked isn't particularly busy, whoever is working the shift may actually give you free time to continue your singing mania.
We may have sung our hearts out that night but street performers were still going strong on the streets of Sinchon. There's already a very limited amount of cars and vehicles near the streets of Sinchon but every weekend they are completely restricted. This means all the dancing crews, indie bands, and budding artists can strut their stuff to the college kids and couples in the area. While it isn't quite as rowdy as Hongdae music performances goes, it is a nice break in pace to just sit and enjoy a small, intimidate outdoor jamming session.
I don't remember who's idea it was or who bought them. And no, we didn't have any alcohol to drink that night. Somehow we ended up trying to set off sparklers and small fireworks near the SK Global dorms late at night. All I remember is, it wasn't very successful. Of course with the exception of a small jet of sparks and a slight POP from one of the fireworks.
And the late night in Korea isn't complete without a midnight snack! Convenience store kimbap is every college students' friend. Cheap, variety, and pretty tasty. Could American 7-11's start selling these?