Of all the places we visited in Korea, from Hongdae to Ewha, Sokcho and even Gwangjang market, Myeongdong is probably the most famous and will ring a bell. It’s the one and only beauty hot spot in Korea, home to the beauty enthusiasts and tourists alike. Here, it’s a one stop shopping destination for everything makeup and skincare related. Do note, however, that many of the products’ prices here are marked up. I personally wouldn’t buy much from here because of the hefty prices (I bought a pack of 10 sheet masks from Holika Holika for 10000 won and found them selling a pack of 20 identical ones for 10000 won at Ewha), but it’s definitely worth visiting and soaking in the atmosphere of perhaps one of the most alive night streets in Korea. If you’re interested to see what Myeongdong has to offer in terms of what you can eat and buy, keep on reading!
3CE PINK HOTEL
3CE pink hotel was on the top of my list of places to visit in Seoul. Being a complete beauty junkie, I obviously wanted to check out this highly talked about and incredibly photogenic shop in Myeongdong. 3CE pink hotel is basically a 5 story building with the 1st three stories being beauty products, the top highest 2 stories stocking clothes from stylenanda, and finally, the rooftop which is actually a decorated place to chill which I, unfortunately, did not get the chance to see having gone at night. I bought a significant number of items from here which you can view in my makeup haul video and blog post here. I absolutely adore 3CE products and visiting the store made me love it even more.
Adress: 37-8 Myeongdong 8-gil, Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, 서울특별시
Opening hours: 11 am- 11 pm daily
Tel: +82 2-752-4546
Nearest station: Myeongdong station exit 6
TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL
Too cool for school holds a special place in my heart as I’ve mentioned before in my Korea skincare haul. It’s one of the first Korea beauty products I’ve ever used and still use till this day. I love their egg mousse range especially the cream masks and have since decided to branch out and try some of their makeup items. You can see what I bought in my makeup and beauty haul and I mentioned above. I really recommend checking out TCFS in Korea as it’s hard to get their products in Singapore and they have some really cool items.
TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL (투쿨포스쿨)
Address: 19, Myeongdong 4-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul 서울특별시 중구 명동4길 19 (명동2가)l
Opening hours: 9.30 am – 10.30 pm daily
Nearest station: Myeongdong station exit 5
I pretty much had a fangirl moment as I stood in front of this booth in Lotte duty-free. Finding this booth was for sure no easy feat but it was so worth it. For those who do not know, PONY is a Korean model, makeup artist and YouTube sensation who creates stunning makeup looks. Her videos are so informative and really pushes creative boundaries which is so exciting and refreshing to watch. She has strong artistic talent and it is clear in her execution of all her looks as she really has so much originality and does not copy anyone else online. When I found out she launched her own beauty line, I was so excited to get my hands on some of the items and of course support one of my favourite artists.
Address: 30, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul 서울특별시 중구 을지로 30 (소공동)
Opening hours: 09:30~21:00 daily
Nearest station: Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station exit 7
Aland is a store that stocks items from many different brands from cosmetics to clothing and homeware items. Some notable beauty brands they stock there would be Heimich and COSRX. I paid Aland a visit mainly for COSRX because of the amount of hype and attention the brand was getting for their acne-treating products. COSRX is known for their skincare products, of which are supposedly suited for acne-prone skin and heals scars superbly well. Since using some of the items, I can’t say it does exactly that, perfectly well, but you can head to Aland if you love those products or would like to try it for yourself.
Address: 53-6 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Opening hours: 10.30 am to 11 pm daily
Nearest station: Myeongdong station exit 6
MEYONGDONG STREETFOOD (Myeongdong station exit 6, turn left)
Of recent years, Myeongdong has also become a one stop destination for street-food. Vendors have come to realise that tourists are willing to pay a little more to experience some good local Korean food sold from these street-side stalls and hence, the prices of food from these stalls are pretty marked up as well. Most items range between 3000 to 4000 won (~SGD $3.50-$5). From savoury snacks to refreshing drinks and indulgent desserts, you can pretty much have an entire meal just walking down the streets of Myeongdong. Below are some pictures and write ups about the food my friends and I tried in Myeongdong, listed in order of what I loved the most to what I felt wasn’t quite worth the price.
Caramelised sweet potato
Definitely my favourite buy from Myeongdong street food. These seemingly unexciting and humble sweet potatoes actually have a perfectly caramelised and gooey outside with the most velvety and smooth sweet center. I got a bit of a shock when I first bit into it having thought it was just like any other unassuming sweet potato. It was baked perfectly and thinking about it now is making me salivate. Definitely give it a try when you’re in the area, you’ll love it I guarantee.
When I saw these I got so excited. If you’ve never tried Taiyaki before, they’re basically a fish-shaped cake with filling on the inside. The typical fillings include red azuki bean or sweet potato while some places offer more unique flavours such as chocolate, cheese and even green tea. The last time I had Taiyaki, was in Osaka, Japan, and they were served freshly baked with piping hot filling. I fell in love with it there and couldn’t wait to taste it again. Personally, I felt like the taste of these Taiyakis were on point. These were crispy croissant Taiyakis with a tart, flakey, sugary crust on the outside, different from the usual cake like texture of traditional Taiyakis. They had a smooth, flavourful filling on the inside as well. I chose the red bean one while my friend chose the cheese one and they were equally delicious. My only issue with the ones here is they were left on the stands after baking and ended up being cold when we ate them which was disappointing. It’s a good thing I’m going to Osaka again in a couple of months! Can’t wait to get my hands on these beauties again when I’m there.
These dumplings, fantastic. Pan-fried to achieve a nice crisp bottom with a hot meaty center. Accompanied perfectly with a drizzle of hot chilli oil mixed with vinegar. I’m honestly not a person who loves dumplings very much as a whole, but I must say these were good. You can check out the video above to see some of the cooking of these dumplings and how great they honestly look in real life.
Cheese and Tteobokki (Rice cake)
These I also really liked. Not because of the particular way they were cooked, but because I really enjoyed the flavour. I’m someone who generally really enjoys a mix of sweet and salty in my food, along with a good texture. The cheese provided a nice saltiness contrasted to the slightly sweet rice cake. The rice cake has a chewy texture matched with the gooey cheese and I loved the way the textures merged in my mouth creating an explosion of flavours. I will say, however, that it is a very oily dish and I can understand why some people don’t appreciate it very much. Due to the cool weather and how the street vendors cook them and leave them to cool, the cheese hardens a little and it’s not piping hot when you bite into it which is a little disappointing. I can imagine when it first comes out straight after being fried, it’d be heavenly.
I love mochi! Green tea, fresh cream, red bean, chocolate mochi, you name it, I’ll eat it. When I discovered they sold strawberry mochi wrapped with red bean paste and mochi coating, I immediately pounced on it. At a hefty price of about 4000 won (~SGD $ 4.50) per mochi, you get a large, incredibly sweet and fresh strawberry, coated beautifully with red bean paste and a soft mochi flour. It was good, but I wouldn’t buy it again because of the price. I also wished the mochi coating was thinner with a chewier texture which I thought was lacking a little in this item.
Rose gelato ice cream
This is one of the more recent shops that has come up in Myeongdong. It’s actually sold at a physical shop rather than at a booth like the other street-side stalls. It’s definitely an ‘Instagram-worthy’ food which is probably why I’ve seen it all over the internet before trying it in real life. As for the taste, the consistency of it is more like frozen yogurt than actual rich and creamy ice-cream. It was good, but not anything exceptional that I’d highly recommend trying.
To be very honest, I’m not sure if this was actually okonomiyaki or not. To me, it tasted like the okonomiyaki I’ve had in Osaka, Japan which is why I came to that conclusion myself. It was mediocre, nothing much to shout about. I’d say save your money for some other items that are really worth it.
This beef steak was honestly not too bad, but once again as with the Taiyaki and cheese tteobokki, it was not served hot. To me, it’s not worth to eat it at a street-side store and I would rather have it in a restaurant, pay a little more and have it served piping hot.
Walking down the streets of Myeongdong, absorbing in the lively atmosphere and chomping down on some local Korean street food is definitely an experience I won’t forget. If you’re going to Korea and are going to have some Myeong dong street food, do let me know in the comments below and feel free to share with me your experiences! Do recommend me some other places I can visit as well so I can get ready for my next trip there. Happy eating!
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