The heart of Seoul (shopping).
Myeongdong is more than a touristic area for me. It was where my parents met and dated for the first time, came for some of their favorite restaurants (some still exist) and also where I was born. (There was a hospital in Myeongdong back in the 1980s) My first job at The Korea Times was very close to Myeongdong so I pretty much know my way around the busy alleys and streets. It’s also the best place to just sit and watch people. In my opinion, anyway. And if you need to buy anything, there’s a high possibility Myeongdong will have it. Somewhere. I still always find myself taking a deep breath before I walk into the streets. Although I pretty much know what to expect, I still manage to find something new, fresh and weird at the same time.
직장생활의 시작을 명동에서 했다고 해도 과언이 아닐정도. (코리아타임즈는 지금은 서대문쪽에 있지만 전엔 충무로에 있었다) 부모님이 결혼 전 데이트하던 곳이기도 하고 즐겨 찾는 식당들도 많아 나도 어릴때부터 자주 다녀서인지 명동은 정신없어서 “에이” 이러다가도 “명동이니까” 하면서 다시 찾게 되는 곳이다. 그리고 역시나 사람 구경은 명동이 최고.
Japan used to be the masters of package designs, but I feel Korea is also stepping up its game. Brilliant idea for displaying hand creams. I don’t know about the quality, but they sure did a great job in making you want to buy every single one of them. Good job, Mamonde. I hope local designers don’t stop at cosmetics. I don’t know what to say about the new Samsung Galaxy S5’s design, but I’m pretty sure the designers didn’t see this coming.
FYI: Mamonde is part of the Amore Pacific brand, which is also popular in other countries, especially the U.S. I believe Mamonde is a local brand under AP. I couldn’t find any information about Mamonde in English. Nevertheless, their flagship store in Myeongdong is amazing.
패키지 디자인은 일본이 훨씬 앞서 있었던 때가 있었는데 지금은 한국도 대단히 발전했다. 굉장했던 마몽드 플래그쉽스토어에서 발견한 핸드크림들. 사실 유럽, 특히 독일은 세련된 느낌보다는 투박하고 솔직한 디자인이나 패키지를 더 선호하는 경향이 있는데 오랜만에 한국 혹은 일본 제품을 보면 눈이 즐겁다. 이렇게 화장품으로 시작해서 천천히 더 대중적인 핸드폰 디자인에도 제발 발전이 있기를. 얼마전 반창고를 닮았다는 삼성 스마트폰에 대한 기사를 읽고 안타까움을 감출 수가 없었다.
Many restaurants or shops start their businesses in Myeongdong, obviously because it’s the main shopping area for many people, both Koreans and tourists. Some may not be right on the street, but they are bound to be somewhere near the area. (Softree ice cream is inside Lotte department store near Myeongdong. Yes, I checked.) Like Hara Donuts, which I found as I was walking around.
명동거리를 걷다가 발견한 하라 도너츠. 너무 생소해서 들어가서 몇개 사고 이것저것 물어봤다. 명동이 본점이고 일본에서 건너온 브랜드. 하루두부라는 두부집의 두부로 만든 도너츠로 우리나라에서는 비슷한 맛과 질의 두부 재배지를 찾아서 그 곳의 두부만 사용해서 만든다고 한다. (참고로 소프트리는 명동에는 없고 롯데백화점 명동점에 있다. 먹고 싶어서 찾아봤다.)
The brand Hara Donuts is from Japan and was part of the “well being” trend of Asia back in the early 2000. The creators wanted to create a healthy doughnut, and they figured out a way to make them with tofu. The tofu came from a very old and famous tofu shop called Hara Tofu, hence the name Haru Donuts. The Korean shops use a specific brand of local tofu, which apparently has the similar taste and texture.
I’m more used to sweet doughnuts, but these were not sweet at all. There was just the right amount of sweetness but it’s very faint. Some might even say they are bland, but that’s the charm, I believe. Plus, they’re supposed to be super healthy! Their most popular is their original Haru donut, but they also have vegetable donuts, chocolate, green tea, cinnamon and more. They told me it’s best to eat as soon as possible, preferably the day you buy them and maybe even until the next day.
굉장히 담백하다. 엄청 단 크리스피 크림과는 정반대의 컨셉. 두부맛이라고 해서 약간 싱거울줄 알았는데 담백하고 고소하다. 방부제를 전혀 넣지 않아서 구입한 당일과 다음날까지 먹어야된다고. 매장 2층엔 카페도 있었다.
- Mamonde Flagship Store: On the main Myeongdong street, near the Frisbee store. It’s huge and white and yellow. The address is: 17-2 Myeongdong 8-gil, Chung-gu, Seoul.
- Hara Donuts: Right across the Myeongdong Theater, next to Shinhan Bank. You can also find them at Hyundai department stores in Ulsan, Shinchon, Mokdong and Apgujeong.
All photos by rachelsanghee