TRAVEL & EXPERIENCE

[LOCAL TOUR] Euljiro Tour, Secretly, Hiply
When the sun sets on Euljiro 3-ga, people start to gather in the hip neighborhood, all ready to turn the area into ‘Hipjiro.’
Areas surrounding Euljiro 3-ga Station are home to printing shops, interior design shops and electrical tool stores, each occupying their own sections. In particular, you will find a wide range of print shops in ‘Euljiro Printing Alley,’ between Euljiro 3-ga and 4-ga. Then cafés, bars and other shops with nary a sign started popping up in this area. New shops would replace older ones and some others would move around the area. With an increase in foot traffic among people frequenting bars and diners, the neighborhood came to be called ‘Hipjiro,’ The term has long settled into our daily lexicon. Let’s take a look at some old guards and new faces in Hipjiro.

❶ Louis Collections
‘Louis Collections’ is a café tucked among pump and electrical tool shops near Euljiro 4-ga Station. And if you’re visiting for the first time, you may find yourself hesitating before entering the café because it’s hard to find the sign. But once you’ve spotted a small poster with illustration and the tiny ‘Louis Collections’ letters, then you can confidently take the narrow stairs up to the third floor.
This is one of the old guards of Hipjiro, before the neighborhood had even earned the moniker. The seemingly abandoned concrete exterior walls, large speakers, vintage items, plus cups, plates and plaster casts of varying designs strike a somewhat strange balance to make Louis Collections the café it is today. You can pick out cups and plates of your choice to order beverages and desserts. You can rent or purchase cups and plates. You can also take pictures of anything and everything around you inside the café. Louis Collections also hosts art exhibitions and rents its space for other functions.
Address 3rd floor, 172-1 Cheonggyecheonro, Jung-gu, Seoul
Instagram @Louis_collections

Louis Collections

❷ Hotel Soosunhwa
‘Hotel Soosunhwa’ also dates back to early days of Hipjiro. It’s located on the fourth floor of an old building that stands at the foot of the Printing Alley near Exit No. 10 at Euljiro 3-ga Station. Look for three red triangles piled on top of one another to form an arrow-like figure. This place is famous for its vintage-looking counter that seems straight out of a small hotel. It’s a café by day and a pub at night. It may seem a tad dark inside, and the wooden tables and chairs look as if they will all make squeaking sound. Lights above are decorated in colorful flower prints. In terms of its interior design, Hotel Soosunhwa sits somewhere between old school and stylish.
You will see patrons take photos with their smartphones in one hand and coffee or beer in the other. Hotel Soosunhwa used to showcase works by local designers and host exhibitions and performances. The COVID-19 pandemic put a stop on that for the time being. But Hotel Soosunhwa was once a thriving example that cafés in Euljiro didn’t just sell food and beverages, but could also provide a platform for cultural exchange.
Address 4th floor, 17 Chungmuro 7-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
Instagram @hotel_soosunhwa

Hotel Soosunhwa

❸ Eulji Jangmanok
Among 20- and 30-somethings today, ‘Eulji Jangmanok’ is perhaps the diner of choice in Hipjiro. The place is named after a popular Hong Kong actress Jeung Maan Yuk (Maggie Cheung), and it exudes vibes of 1960s Hong Kong, inspired by settings from some of Cheung’s films such as and . And it’s not just the ambience; dishes served here bring you authentic taste of Hong Kong. Eulji Jangmanok has long made its name for delicious food. You can grab lunch there, but the real fun begins after the sunset.
Once the green sign, showing the name of the place in Chinese characters, is lit, you will be transported into streets of Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong. The exotic vibe of the storefront has made it a highly Instagrammable place. And this isn’t your ordinary Chinese eatery serving black bean noodle or sweet and sour pork. Mapo tofu and fried chicken are among the few familiar choices. The popular items here are Shandong-style garlic scape noodle, mala egg plants and chilled spring cucumber. You can wash them down with cold beer or kaoliang liquor. You will invariably see a long queue outside the restaurant in the early evening hours. Eulji Jangmanok offers craft beers, Chinese liquors, cocktails and whiskey. One cocktail is named after a Maggie Cheung film, . Maybe the bartender had 1980s Hong Kong in mind for this.
Address 323 Euljiro 3-ga, Jung-ju, Seoul
Instagram @chinese_tapas_jangmanok

Eulji Jangmanok

❹ Mind Things
‘Mind Things’ is a place that sells everything from the heart. You will find stationery, mugs, stickers, brooches and coin purses with cute designs. Mind Things offers you a wide variety of items by professional designers that you won’t find in average stationery store. The shop is located near Seoul Jungbu Police Station, and it’s a bright and upbeat place. In just a few minutes, the small store enjoyed a constant flow of 20-something college students with eyes on fancy stuff. Postcards, posters, stickers and mugs are some of the most popular goods at Mind Things.
Located above Mind Things is ‘Zero Things,’ a zero-waste shop selling eco-friendly products. You can have your laundry detergent and shampoo refilled there, too. Just bring your empty bottles or containers to the refill station. Toothbrushes made of recycled materials, solid toothpaste and multi-use straws are among other eco-friendly items.
Address Jeodong 2-ga, Supyoro 32-1, Jung-gu, Seoul
Instagram @mindthings_shop

Mind Things

❺ Opal
‘Opal’ is a vintage select shop opened by a former merchandiser at a fashion brand who used to explore her mom’s closet. The shop that sells classic items is appropriately located in an old neighborhood that often shows its age. You will find clothes and vinyl records of vintage variety. Opal has developed a cult following among those interested in fashion and small products. It also offers vintage items by high-end brands.
Opal has a simple appearance but you will notice some delicate, subtle touch by the shop owner across the shop. Large steel frames, such as the shop’s logo, hung from the ceiling, the vintage speakers on top of a dresser, and antique furniture create unique harmony. Chain hangers also stand out. The vintage interior design, clothes that hang almost casually from up top, and other small items blend in quite nicely with each other. Opal seems to breathe new life into time-worn products.
Address 2nd floor, 2-1 Euljiro 16-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
Instagram @opalseoul.k

Opal

❻ Wonhyeongdeul
Sometime last year, a photo of a cake with light-green cream with leaves and long branches on top, featuring the caption, ‘Cake that even mint chocolate lovers won’t eat,’ went viral. This was a cake with cilantro in it. ‘Wonhyeongdeul,’ the café behind this one-of-a-kind cake, quickly burst onto the Hipjiro scene. Take the stairs up in a building near Jinyang Mall, and you will run into a long line between the third and fourth floors. They’re all on their way to Wonhyeongdeul.
Wonhyeongdeul pushes the limits on what ingredients to use on cakes and how cakes should look. Their photos on social media always pique your curiosity and generate buzz. On top of cilantro, Wonhyeongdeul makes cakes with sweet laver, anchovies and dill, the kinds of ingredients that you wouldn’t think would go well with cakes. Its cilantro cake, with cilantro cream and lemon cream on top of genoise sheet, shattered the stereotype that a cake has to look pretty. Once you taste it, you would think even people who usually avoid cilantro would enjoy this cake. Tomato kouign amann, with cream cheese and garlic stalk, is also a popular dessert, as are Pink dill cake with raspberry and monte cream, and strawberry matcha.
Wonhyeongdeul has been breaking down barriers when it comes to desserts, and its offerings aren’t just exotic looking. They taste great, too.
Address 4th floor, 38 Changgyeonggungro 1-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
Instagram @wonhyeongdeul   

Wonhyeongdeul

April 2022 Editor:Lee Hyunjung
Photographer:Kim zun

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  • April 2022
  • Editor: Lee Hyunjung
  • Photographer: Kim zun
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