So Far, Seoul Good Day 4 – The Cookshop, Paris Croissant, 10 Corso Como & Noryangjin Fish Market

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

The day started rather late, as we both slept in to compensate for the night out we had in Itaewon the day before. I also realised that with the passing of age, “sleeping in” becomes relative. When you are used to wake up at seven in the morning, waking up past nine is considered luxury. We did take our time and decided to spend our day doing what Seoulites love to do on a weekend – shopping!

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

The destination of choice was the Gangnam district area, made famous partly thanks to the Korean pop star Psy who took the world by storm. To reach Gangnam, we took the metro up to the Apgujeong and started walking from there. The moment we hit the ground, it took us less than three seconds to realise what else was the area famous for, besides shopping.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

Yes, that’s plastic surgery. I mean, I know that the Koreans are famous for it, and their passion for surgical enhancements was partly to blame for the cookie-cutter looks the Koreans seem to have. But it wasn’t until I reached Apgujeong to be bombarded by endless advertisements that it hit me how monstrous the industry is in Korea.

Kinda like real estate in Hong Kong, only that the result is way prettier.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

By then, we were downright hungry and not wanting to confine ourselves to traditional Korean “well being” food, we decided to do Western. We hit paydirt with The Cookshop, apparently a popular family-eatery sporting craft food and beer. Oh yes, readers, I had beer at noon that day. A first for me in Seoul! The food – a bacon & cheese burger, a fish & chip set, and some cheese sticks – was nothing to write home about, but it was real comfort to us after days of Korean food. At the very least, everything is better with IPA (Indian Pale Ale) which I ordered for the day.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

We started to walk around the area, not really sure what to look for but to follow the crowd. To be honest, for a shopping district with some very promising looking fashion stores and luxury outlets, Apgujeong wasn’t even that crowdy. I was expecting hordes of shoppers going in and out of shops burning cash as they go. Heck, I was even hoping to see throngs of mainlanders doing their thing.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

But it was all serene, peaceful and calm in the world of shopping at Gangnam that day. We saw some well-heeled shoppers at some places, but that’s the extent of the shopping crowd went. I was half relieved, half disappointed with the situation, but let’s face it, given a choice between a packed shop and an empty one, I would always choose the later.

Damage was done at 10 Corso Como, a very hip and stylish place packed with designer goods over three stores that was shouting class and style. It was a world of luxury and trendiness like I have never experienced before. Granted, I knew that I wouldn’t be splurging on shopping in Seoul, but even I was seduced enough to buy myself a Freitag man-purse.

I didn’t know what got into me. I just knew that I was very, very happy with my purchase.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

After some wondering around the Gangnam area (and no, we did not do any Psy-like dance video, but that wasn’t for the lack of trying), we took a break at the wonderfully artsy Paris Croissant, a two-storey building offering the best of French bakery (downstairs) and a chill out longue (upstairs).

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

It was moments like this that I loved the most about traveling – in no particular hurry to go anywhere, enjoying a cup of coffee, nibbling on some fine pastries and watching the world goes by. It was a rainy day in Seoul, and I see the fine people of this city hurry about their business, I can almost close my eyes and imagine myself in Paris.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

But of course, all good things must come to an end, and since the weather forecast wasn’t particularly encouraging, we decided to head off to our next destination early. It took us almost an hour by metro train to get there, no thanks to a drunk old man who staggered onboard blocking my way and making me miss the train… with the better half already onboard. It was a silly thing to have happened, but I couldn’t get that panicky, heart-racing feeling out of my mind just yet.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

Despite all that, Noryangjin Fish Market was certainly worth the trouble. An extensive farmers fish market in the neighborhood of Noryangjin-dong in Dongjak-gu, Noryangjin packed a punch when it comes too all sort of seafood dead and alive, with hundreds of stalls all trying to sell you everything under the sea you can think of – fishes, octopuses, clams, sea cucumbers, conch etc.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

What tarred my experience a little was the touting action that was going on at Noryangjin. If you are a follower of this blog, you would have known that I hate – HATE! – touting. Though to be honest the folks at Noryangjin was miles milder than those at, say, Instabul or Morocco, and I truly understand the difficulties to do business when one stall looked very much like another, that didn’t stop me from feeling rather disappointed with the whole experience.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

You would think that being an experienced traveler like yours truly, I would have known how to deal with this, but seriously, I don’t. So it was after much hassle we settled on a stall with an English-speaking owner, and we bough a platter of oysters, a huge tray of assorted sashimi, two live octopuses plus some prawns… all for KRW30,000!

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

That’s only some HKD200, which was a serious bargain. What we needed to so was then to walk into any of the restaurants adjacent to the market to have our purchase cooked and/or served. I thought we would be ripped off at the swindling merchants, like my experience at Lei Yue Mun in Hong Kong, but to my shock the entire bill at the restaurant was a shocking KRW8,000. That’s HKD50, including some drinks, Soju, condiments and vegetables.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

It was after all our food was served that I realised pretty much everything on our table was raw… including the live octopus. I read much about eating live octopus in Seoul, and here I was facing a plate of octopus tentacles and parts that were still moving, and I was expected to pick up a piece, dip in some sauce and tuck in.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

It took me a few tries before I got comfortable with it, no thanks to an instance when the octopus sucked onto my spoon and I imagined how it might be if that damn thing got stucked half way down my throat. I would have to saw raw octopus is certainly an acquired taste. I have been known to be a very adventurous person when it comes to food, but it does seem like I have found my limit.

Probably because most of our food was stone cold, and it was raining non-stop during the evening, we craved for something warm and comforting before going back to hotel. Which found us at this Japanese-system-inspired Korean fast food place just two lanes away from our hotel.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

This was how it works. You place your order at a touch-screen system, which efficiently tabulate what you wanted to have and at which you’ll make payment with cash or card. The system then will ping the kitchen with your order, while you sit down at one of the numbered seat.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4

Within minutes, your food will be served in front of you. I was so impressed with this system because, when done right, you only need ONE person to man everything, from cooking to serving to cleaning up. Granted, the food wasn’t earth shattering but it was what we needed after a chilling day at the fish market.

Soon we were back in the warmth of our hotel room. As I typed this, I think it makes more sense to stay in and sleep early, rather than braving the rain to explore (read: shop) the wet, wet city.

See more of my So Far, Seoul Good posts:

Eating Out & Restaurants

The Cookshop
강남구 신사동 620-101, Seoul

Paris Croissant (in Gangnam area)
Can’t seem to find the address, but here’s the number
Tel: +82 2 344 74044

Exploring Around & Attractions

10 Corso Como
79 Cheongdam-dong Gangnam-gu Seoul
Tel:+82 2 3018 1010

Noryangjin Fish Market
688, Nodeul-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul

So Far, Seoul Good Day 4 - The Cookshop, Paris Croissant, 10 Corso Como & Noryangjin Fish Market by

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