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The Hidden Gems of Hongdae

November 19, 2015


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OH MY GOD I’M SO HAPPY WE COULD DO THIS VIDEO! Let us show you around Hongdae a bit for this week’s program :D

I have been super excited to do this video for a long time but Simon was always like, “I don’t know, three locations in one video..it might be too long…it might be boring…” and I was like “NO! It’s gonna be great!” I essentially have a huge list that’s got ideas and locations for things I want to film and it’s all safely located in my mind palace. The biggest problem we were facing for filming at shops like Chickalicious and Magpies was that we were worried they would be mega short videos, like, “HERE IS A CUPCAKE SHOP SIMON ATE IT ALL. FAPFAP OVER.” But by putting three locations together in one video, I feel like it was more like a longer adventure video!

So for those of you that don’t know, we’re incredibly biased towards Hongdae. Gangnam Style sucks. Hongdae is where it’s at. Hongdae is a neighbourhood in Korea which we consider to be the actual artsy area. Random breakdancing, rapping, and indie bands fill the local park and the streets on the weekend, and during the day on Saturday there is an art market where local art students sell their handmade stuff. And there are very many little shops all over the neighbourhood that we’ve wanted to talk about. Also, I’d like to mention that none of these locations were sponsored or picked for us to film at; we 100% love these locations but they just happen to overlap with us meeting Diana, the Airbnb2Seoul winner!

But we felt like people are too intimidated to explore Hongdae fully, because it is, after all, really unintuitive. Streets sprout out of other streets without rhyme or reason or any comprehensible pattern. You can’t know Hongdae from a map. You can only know it by walking around Hongdae. But because it’s getting so popular now, the main streets are starting to be ruined (yes RUINED) by big companies that are taking over. The main streets used to have lots of little cute shops, but now bigger franchises are buying out entire buildings and dedicating them to just one big store. The main streets are starting to just look like a shopping mall, really. So, you’ve got to go out to the side streets, the streets within streets within streets. Get disoriented, and you’ll find your way to someplace awesome, which is what we’ve tried to get across in this video.

So I hope this helps all of you guise out with planning a future trip to Korea…and I really hope these locations don’t close down. Hahahahah! I’ve included locations and maps which will help you to find these locations.

Magpie Brewing in Hongdae

There are actually three locations for Magpie. The original one is in Itaewon and the second location is in Hongdae and they recently opened up a location on Jeju Island! Since they’re always changing up their beers, I can recommend our favourites and hopefully they’re on tap when you arrive. I’m a fan of the Porter, The Sinner, The Saint, Hot Tropic IPA, and Raspberry Lemon Wheat. As for their pizzas, they are all fantastic, but we’re big fans of the Chicken Curry (which has cilantro on it) The Hawaiian, and The Vegetarian. For the location in Hongdae, head over to 362-15 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea, or 마포구 서교동 362-15 if you’d prefer a Korean address. Or, if you’re better with maps, we drew one for you.

Bear Bibimbap

Okay, so it’s really called “The Veggie Eating Bear,” but this is a must visit place in Korea if you’re living or visiting. Having done more research on it I learned that they only use local ingredients from farmers that they have a relationship with. You can definitely notice it in their food. You can find Bibimbap in lots of places, but it’s got a much richer taste here than many others, I’d say. And the aesthetics of this place are also really pleasing. The house is gorgeous, the decorations are cute, and it’s a must go place in Hongdae. It’s called 나물 먹는 곰 (Namul Meongneun Gom) The Veggie Eating Bear and you can find it at 367-31 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea or 마포구 서교동 367-31. Or, here’s a map.

Chikalicious 치카리셔스

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is where our cupcake supply comes from. You’ve seen it in our Jenga video, Panty Tug of War video, and Basketball Head video. Well, now you know where we get them from! Don’t get cupcakes anywhere else in Korea. You’d be doing yourself a disservice. This place does it right. It’s actually a branch from a famous place in New York, which we went to while we were on tour, and that place is legit as well. If you’re in Korea, you can find it over at 313-3 Sangsu-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea or 서울시 마포구 상수동 313-3. We also drew you a map of how to get there.

So there you go! If you’re coming to Korea, and want to have the kind of experience Diana had, here, in fact, is where she stayed. All of these places we went to are close by, so Diana had a really local experience, for sure. You can even see Diana’s comment in the feedback there. Yay! Yes, we’re totally gung-ho for Airbnbs, as we use them just about every time we travel, so we were super excited that they wanted to do this contest with us so we could show some of you around Korea. No, we can’t do this for everyone (that’d be crazy!), but we’ve got three more people coming to Korea soon! Woohoo!

For those of you who haven’t won the Airbnb2Seoul contest, here’s a $25 coupon off your first trip with Airbnb. Use it here! Come, spend the day exploring Hongdae. You won’t regret it.

Also, special thanks to Diana for being a good sport and for filming with us for the day. Not everyone is comfortable on camera, but she was great. Thanks Diana. I hope we didn’t bore you :D

Lastly, we’ve got some extra scenes just in case you want more. And remember : Subscribe to our channel because you never know when you could win a paid vacation! It’s that simple! ;)



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The Hidden Gems of Hongdae


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  1. I went to the 3 places last weekend and it was delicious. The bibimbap was super good, although there was too much food for me and my friend to completely eat. It was cool though that even though we both took a dolt bibimbap, they gave us different banchan to share.

    Chikalicious was full (there are only three small tables so it’s easy to fill up) so I took 4 cupcakes and one brownie (which seems to have an oreo in the middle) home… and the cupcakes got ruffled up on the trip back to Incheon (next time I think I’ll insist on them putting my cupcakes in my glass container (which will tumble less in my bag than their cardboard box)). I ate 3 out of the 4 cupcakes (lemon, red velvet and ricotta cheese) and they’ve been uber delicious so far.

    I just went to Magpie to have a Pepperoni pizza (because I was depressed because Chilli Cha Cha (the croquettes place) seems to have closed down, at least at the location where everyone has been going for the past years). I must have been the most boring customer ever for having a very Western pizza, alone, and with only a glass of water. But the pizza was really good. Next time I’ll sit at the counter to see them make the pizza *_*.

    4 years ago
  2. Thank you for the nice suggestions, I’m going to Hondae tomorrow to find those cupcakes. They all look delicious. :) I’d be happy to know the rest of the eating places Martina has on her mind, I bet you guys have come across a lot of good restaurants in Seoul. ^^

    5 years ago
  3. Wooo – this is perfect timing! I’m coming to Seoul from December 18th and will stay until January 8th. I am considering Airbnb, and I also know I want to stay at least one week in Hongdae, so this is great! Although I don’t eat gluten I will still check out Magpie and the Bibimbap, and hopefully other hidden awesome places while I get lost in the streets

    5 years ago
  4. Me and hubby will be in seoul from november 30-december 5.
    We would love to have Simon and Martina company for dinner as long as is somewhere reasonably priced (we are not rich) that is if your schedule allows. I love watching your videos and thank you for all the seoul foos and places hints! They will e really helpfull. If the meeting doesnt work, fans of yours will be thinking of you guys while they staying in seoul!

    5 years ago
  5. I bet there was no corn on the pizza since Simon was doing his happy dance! LOL

    Corn = no dance

    5 years ago
  6. I’m so excited to check these places out! Do you have maps posted for some of y’all’s older videos? I’m finally here in Korea and I wanted to go to some of the shops y’all talked about a year or two ago… And maybe attempt to run in to y’all! ;] Anyway, great video!! Thank you!!

    5 years ago
  7. DD

    Chikalicious have their own shop in New York, probably as main branch. But Chikalicious 홍대 seems bit different from New York Chikalicious. It is interesting. To recall my memory, my favorite cafe/bakeries around Hongdae area was likely to Japanese style (be sweet on, peony, snob … ) and they were probably “too light” for western people. But if you are familiar with this kind of dessert, you probably able to enjoy.
    …I’m personally desire this and visiting Chikalicious in NY. Cream in US is seriously creamy and rich and..can only have 1 piece at a time while I want three more!

    5 years ago
    • We went to the Chikalicious branch in NYC and talked to them about their Seoul branch! It was a weird culture crossover moment…haha! Yes the dessert selection at the NYC one was more like an entire meal of mini-desserts but in Seoul they focus more on the cupcake. They have some banana pudding available in the side fridge but the focus is THE CUPCAKE OF GLORY~

      5 years ago
      • DD

        I definitely need to visit Chikalicious Seoul when I’m back to Seoul as well as You Are Here cafe!

        5 years ago
  8. I don’t see why you don’t like the word “moist,” it’s based on the Latin word “muscidus” which means “slimy,” “moldy,” “musty” and gave us the word “mucus.”

    Come to think of it, a mucus cupcake doesn’t sound that good.

    5 years ago
  9. This reminds me of when my sisters and I were in Hawaii. We were looking for a place to have dinner and decided to just walk around ’til we found a place. We ended up walking down this tiny, dark alley and found this nondescript Korean place. We never would’ve known it was there otherwise!

    5 years ago
  10. ET

    Loved the song used in this video! Can I have the name and the artist, pretty please? Thanks!

    5 years ago
  11. I don’t know how much you guise follow news in the US but san francisco is trying to pass laws limiting short term rentals like airbnb. booo

    any suggestion for new years eve?

    5 years ago
    • Aw man that sucks! Our airbnb in San Francisco was UNREAL! Two stories of antique detailed furniture glory and it had a real brick pizza oven, a BBQ, and a crazy fire pit all in the backyard where we roasted marshmallows. HHrrmmm New Years eh? We spent ours at Southside Parlour (we did a blog post on it) last year. A lot of places will have set menus with cheap champagne and crap food for a high price, so we stick to the plan of heading out early, grabbing a seat at a favourite pub or cocktail lounge, and watching it fill up. :)

      5 years ago
  12. Really love the new art, aka the cartoon heads!! Great job Martina! :D

    5 years ago
    • Oh man I wish I could draw that well! We hired a professional illustrator who we discovered because she made amazing fan art of us. We totally fell in love with it, so we hired her to draw a whole collection of us! She’s amazing. Check her out: http://maudbeurskens.com

      5 years ago
  13. Your updated art is adorable!

    I was wondering, do you know if there are any good places where they serve cocktails? I don’t even know if those are popular in Korea or not, so I figured I’d ask you guys.
    (I’m definitely keeping an eye out for those vacations)

    5 years ago
    • Yeah! We did a blog post on it once:


      It’s our favorite :D

      5 years ago


      Cocktails in Korea tend to be pricey BUT there’s actually a place right around the corner from our EYK studio called “The Lounge” that serves really affordable and surprisingly delicious cocktails! I go there a lot. ._.

      I could go on all day about where to get cocktails. Really.

      5 years ago
      • Webmistress Rose, please do share. Definitely not a beer person (though Magpie’s pizzas look amazing) so since I’ll be in Hongdae in January, I need some cocktail recommendations :)

        5 years ago