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Seoul Searching | Hey, Hongdae!

I fell in love with Hongdae the moment I stepped on the platform of Hongik University Station. The place was bustling with energy, and you'll get a feel of this as soon as you join the throng of people making their way out of exit 9. You'll literally rub elbows with strangers as you ascend the stairs to get to the main street. Take note that we visited on a Saturday, Hongdae's busiest, liveliest, most crowded day of the week.
Hongik University Station.
Once you escape the nightmare that is exit 9, you will be greeted by a warm and youthful, oftentimes artistic vibe. Hongdae, after all, is the home ground of Hongik University - one of the best art institutions in South Korea.
Little man ready to explore Hongdae!
More of our trip to Hongdae after the jump!
We found this row of colorful artworks on display as we made our way to the Children's Playground, where the flea market was supposed to be.
Fly, turtle, fly!
Artist at work.
Along the way, we also got to see buskers in action. Street performances have become part and parcel of Hongdae culture, and have become a major source of entertainment for locals and tourists who visit the area.
A group of boys dancing in heels.
Impressed, and very curious as to why the boys were wearing 'girls' shoes'.
A magician draws a huge crowd.
Buskers everywhere!
Aspiring girl group, maybe?
As a bonus, we even got to see San E perform live, smack dab in the middle of Hongdae's Walking Street! He's a popular rapper in South Korea, and his popularity is evidenced by this massive crowd.
Spotted in Hongdae - rapper San E!
After watching San E perform, we continued our quest of Hongdae. This neighborhood has rows upon rows of kitschy fashion stores, unique cafes, and trendy shops, that it was such a delight to discover them, look at their facade, and check out their goods.
I reckon their menu is inspired by Descendants of the Sun?
Old school arcade games!
Just another standee of Song Joong Ki. He's practically all over Seoul! :)
Plushies of varying sizes. Pikachu is popular even before the advent of Pokemon Go.
Cute tops at bargain prices.
Cath Kidston feels.
Bohemian-kinda cafe.
More coffee shops, and a beer pub, too.
Belgian Chocolate and coffee make a good combination. 
Hello Kitty Cafe!
Even the walls are a joy to look at as they have been transformed into colorful works of art.
Cats come to life in this mural
And more murals down this alley.
We saw even more artsy fartsy stuff at the Free Market, a marketplace for young artists. Unlike the typical flea market which sells second-hand goods, the Hongdae Free Market sells only handmade, genuinely creative artwork.
The iconic Hongdae playground.
The market is abuzz!
The market is open from 1pm to 6pm every Saturday from March to November, and is held at Hongdae's iconic Children's Playground. Take note that there's no Free Market during the winter, as this season is not conducive for such outdoor activities.
A balloon dart game, with huge stuffed animals as prizes.
Market schedule.
Buyers checking out the goods.
At the Handmade Flea Market, we found these super cute scented figurines made by Kim So Hyun. I specifically took one of her business cards, so that I may remember her name and mention her when I finally blog about our trip to Hongdae.
Handmade scented figurines.
The Moomins!
I was so enamored by her work that I bought this Totoro figurine, which comes in a refreshing, cotton scent. I paid 5000 won (around Php 200) for this; a pretty reasonable price considering they're handmade and well-crafted.
Yue was impressed by Ms. Kim's Moomins and Totoros that she wanted a picture of them together. Ms. Kim gamely smiled for the camera, although her initial reaction was a mixture of surprise and disbelief. Haha. :)
Hello, Miss Kim! :)
In Hongdae, I also made a monumental discovery. I found the best churros in the world - Churro 101.
Making our way to what would be a monumental discovery, lol!
I've tried other brands of churros before - including the churros from McDonald's Korea and the churros sold at N Seoul Tower - but none of them come close to the ones from Churro 101.
Churro 101!
Their churros are beyond delicious, I kid you not. And they have a variety of flavor options, too. They have the original churros (plain, sugar-coated, or cinnamon-coated), the chocolate-coated churros (eight different chocolate flavors to choose from), and the filled churros (four fillings to choose from).
So  many flavors to choose from!
We had a hard time choosing which flavor to get, as we wanted to try them all. Yue and I ended up choosing Set Menu #4 priced at 4500 won (around 186 pesos), which includes a Deep Fried Oreo Churro and a cup of vanilla ice cream.
Deep Fried Oreo Churro + vanilla ice cream.
Three other set menus are available, with prices ranging from 4000 to 5000 won. When bought ala carte, this Deep Fried Oreo Churro costs 3900 won.
This churro is heaven on earth.
We loved their churros so much that we bought a few more pieces to-go so that we can enjoy these yummy treats at home together with my husband. We bought the Top 4 Take Out Set, sold at 9900 won (around Php 410), and comes with Churro 101's best-selling flavors - Original Cinnamon, Sugar, Milk Custard and Chocolate
Enjoying his churro!
I swear, my mouth is watering right now as I write. Those Deep Fried Oreo Churro created a lasting impression on my taste buds that I wouldn't mind making that 25-minute trip (that's 14 subway stops away from where we live) to Hongdae just so I could sink my teeth into them.
Their tagline is for real. :)
Hongdae is now officially my most favorite place in Seoul, and I will definitely be visiting this neighborhood again on my next trip - even if I have to brave the freezing cold winter weather and the throng of people at exit 9.
Hongdae, how we miss you so!
To get to Hongdae, take the subway to Hongik University Station Exit 9.

5 replies:

Julie Syl said...

I love Your Travels and Family fun times. What an amazing University, so colourful, full of energy, full of activity. I like it!

Xon said...

This is my kind of place! It's great if you want to experience their culture first hand. I love that there are people performing everywhere and the food looks great as well. The shops definitely has my attention!

Unknown said...

Hongdae sounds like a wonderful place. I wish I can explore out of the country places.

Unknown said...

Sounds like it is fun to be in Hongdae! I would like to go there too, I will put this on my bucket list!

Lisa RIos said...

I am just loving it, Hongdae sounds like a wonderful place to visit & it is great to know they have a famous university as well. The pictures are so exciting and I am sure you had a wonderful experience out there! Those super cute scented figurines are just amazing!