Starbucks Reserve, the chain’s premium cafe, is set to enter the Korean market. A branch will open in (Seoul) Gangnam District’s trendy Apgujeong neighborhood. A coffee explosion has taken place over the last 5 years and chains are exploring ways to differentiate themselves. Single-origin coffee beans and drip-coffee are the new specialties.
Other chains, such as Tom N Toms and Hollys Coffee, are following suit with single-origin coffee beans and boutique type cafes. Cafes provides an excellent social experience and that may be the key to what makes them so popular here.
A hot summer day isn’t complete without a bowl of bingsu. And if you’re in Seoul this summer, you really should try it at one of these hotels. Bingsu is a Korean dessert made with a foundation of shaved ice and topped with: condensed milk, sweetened red beans, fruit, ice cream, corn flakes, green tea powder, flavored syrups, sliced rice cake, and just about anything else you can think of. (Our favorite is still served atop the Hyundai Department Store in Apgujeong-dong.) Continue reading →
After being nearly destroyed in 2008 by an arsonist seeking revenge against the government, the gate will re-open to the public this April. They’ve rebuilt it using traditional methods and seem to have improved security around it as well. I’ve been waiting a long time to take visitors here again.
(Image taken after the scaffolding was removed, credit Korea Times)