The weather is the hottest its been in almost 20 years in Seoul. What can you do? Where can you go? Because sweating your pits in this smothering heat melts your bb cream away and leaves you crankier than being on your menses days.
I'll tell you where! Head to DTower in Gwanghwamun! It is the blocky building next to Gyobo building. You will know what building it is right away by the swarm of folks like you who are retreating to stay cool and eat at hip restaurants - they will congregate around the building because the first floor also has some cool cafes and little eateries that's attracting people like magnet. No doubt it's a cool space.
DTower to describe is a mall of well established restaurants. I mean this as in - you wait to be seated kind of restaurants. There are a few big chains there, but there are also the unique cool tasty ones that we have yet stepped foot in.
If you want to be safe, you can head to "power plant" - an area where you wait to be seated to choose from mini stalls(restaurants) of eats, like Manimal(bbq). The beer selection is also decent. It's like entering a special club, not a dance club, but "food club". The music blasted to ear drums sensitive mode and the temperature is cold(even for summer). It feels like you're at a hip club, but you are also chomping down on those Manimal ribs while you're trying to listen to what your friend is saying behind the loud music. Not family friendly unless you've trained your young ones to listen to metal and electronic music.
My husband is fond of Manimal. I am not. This was my first time trying their chicken bbq and much to my hyped up anticipation that it would be good as my husband says it would be, all is lost when I bite into the rather dry salty not unique in taste chicken piece.
The salad, cranberry sauce and cuts of pork was better than the bbq. I took solace in the salad. That's more of the type of food I prefer anyway. More veggies than meat. I appreciated my husbands enthusiasm for the food, but perhaps it was the elevation in expectation that proved it harder to be worth the price (foreign foods in Korea is so expensive than it should be).
It's also hard to eat when the music is so loud that everyone is pretty much yelling around you. But if you like that atmosphere this is the place to be.
The overall atmosphere is "cool" - but I'm not fond of paying for the packaging than what's inside.
It was fun to try a new atmosphere though. Korea is opening up to new food and ways to open up everyone's pockets. I applaud their creativity.
After finishing up at DTower by going up and down the escalators and sneaking a peek at the restaurants (the building is fun to troll around), we took a walk behind the building to digest the remaining food in our stomachs.
It was our first seeing this part of the town. Some cute restaurants and buildings away from the main road makes you feel like you're a tourist. Getting lost in the city you live is a good refresher.
There are small restaurants around that serve probably tastier bbq than the American bbq in Manimal. Sorry I'm still bitter.
Sometimes you just gotta eat local. Local stuff and ways. That's what's been lacking in Korea. Still have yet find unique and authentic foreign eats here - unless they cost an arm and leg - I'll skip that - despite being desperate for authenticity I am not one to go all out to cheat myself for such comfort. I'll just stick to authentic Korean food, thanks.
Gwanghwamun has been our latest favorite area to hangout. We've gotten tired of Hongdae and Itaewon. It used to be cool those areas, until giant corps started tearing down side alleys to make it their own by calling it American bbq by putting cowboy hats and flannel shirts on their staff.
I love this place because it's more Korean than the other crowded areas. I also like seeing families out and about with strollers, babies, and couples hanging around in leisure.
It also adds to my favoritism that two giant bookstores are right on the CheongGye stream - Gyobo bookstore is connected to the subway and YongPun bookstore is on the other side on the end of CheongGye stream in GwangHwaMun station.
You might also get lucky on a good day (as seen on the photos) with beautiful hues of the sky changing right in front of you! This was a rare day - we just sat on a bench and stared at the natural air show. That was some treat!