On my second day in Seoul, I awoke early in the morning at 7, and slapped on the beauty product samples. I was glowing; the beauty products left my skin soft, supple and glowing. I was resolved to not leave Seoul without getting the full-sized bottles. I took a walk around Myeondong, and it was like a ghost town. Shops were closed, streets were empty save for the big cleaning trucks. On a positive note, any opened restaurants were more obvious thanks to their striking front banners and lights. I passed by two eateries, a place that served Korean porridge, and another specialising and serving only Beef Broth that were filled with locals. I knew I had to visit both. Before heading back to the hotel, I passed by unique architecture. My friend and I later decided to go for breakfast at Korean porridge place.
We ordered a Korean Abalone Porridge, Seafood Pancake, and an Omelette. We feasted like kings. The porridge was so tasty. Korean abalone has a soft chewy texture akin to jellyfish although it did not break down as quickly when chewing. The porridge was topped with toasted sesame seeds and a bit of seaweed. It was also served with a side portion of roasted, marinated seaweed. In Seoul, their seaweed variety is more extensive, there is even seaweed marinated in grapeseed oil. It was a very appetizing dish. The omelette and seafood pancake was more than edible but didnt leave a deep impression on us. Another highlight was the three types of kimchi in a box, complimentary for every table. There was the traditional cabbage kimchi, radish, and amazingly, jellyfish with shredded carrots (far right in the picture.) I thoroughly enjoyed the kimchi in Seoul as it was not as jarring and the sourness not as striking as in Singapore. This place was very proud of their kimchi and seaweed and there was a fridge in which one could buy kilograms home.
Then we made our way to Kwangjang Palace intending to visit a Farmers Market but alas, it was not set up as there was a performance held in the same space the day before and the stage and spectator stands were not cleared. Along the way we walked passed a Paris Baguette Cafe (it was everywhere) but I still could not resist entering to snap pictures of their offerings. I feasted on the pictures instead. The Palace was not as magnificent as those in Beijing or Tokyo so we just stood outside to take photographs. Excuse the silly pose, a cleaner volunteered to take a picture for us, and at the same time forcibly pulled our hands up to that position. Then we passed by a street cart where a husband and wife were roasting and peeling huge fresh chestnuts. It was a very healthy pick-me-up after the heavy breakfast set in. Unfortunately after one chestnut, I could feel acid reflux arising in my stomach and needed hot coffee. We passed by a cute cafe called Cafe Maggio and they served specialty coffee beans from South America. I was more interested in the cafe decoration. Menu and price labels were hand-written in the childlike but sweet handwriting, and served plastic cups of cubed fresh fruits and packed sandwiches; very un-Korean, even leaning towards Australian-like.
Already on this second day, Seoul left a very deep impression on me and I am now of the opinion that the society is rather uncivilized despite its modernity and progressiveness in infrastructure. While taking a walk early in the morning at 7, I came across a Paris Baguette in Myeondong and was only too excited to enter and smell the freshly-made-in-a-central-kitchen-but-heated-up-in-the-shop pastries. I regretted my greediness upon entering. There was a ongoing dispute between a customer and a staff. It was loud, sounded vicious and even more surprisingly, every Korean patron who walked into the cafe joined in and engaged in the dispute. It was as if they were trying to mediate the situation but they definitely failed as the customer was not getting any less angry. I slipped out through the second entrance before the dispute ended. In the evening, again in Myeondong, I saw a large crowd standing around watching something and was intrigued until I went closer and saw a few men quarreling on the street. It was like a Korean soap drama. It is unfair for me to generalize the society based on the two events. Nevertheless, I have traveled extensively and never before have I come across such public acts of dispute, much less in the same frequency. If not for the good shopping, I do not think I will visit the city again.