Study Abroad Files: Dessert Hunting in Korea
Whenever I visit South Korea, one of the things that I love to do is to look for amazing dessert cafes. In Korea, one rising trend is the proliferation of cafes. You name it, there are cat and dog cafes (where you can pet the animals) or boardgames cafes. I'll probably list you my favorite unique cafes in a later post, but today, I'm just focussing on dessert cafes. In Korea, both the young and old have become very interested in coffee brewing and dessert making. What I love about these cafes in general is the uniqueness of each store, as each patissiere takes pride in their own work. They are also usually decorated with a personal twist, making each shop a great photo opp with your friends as well! Here is a collection of places that I've found and absolutely adore!
Hongdae is one of my favorites spots to visit when I'm in Seoul. Not only is the arts scene vibrant in this neighborhood, but so is the food. And Molly's Pops is on the top of my list of things to go when I'm in town. I discovered it last year and have been an avid fan since. Molly's Pops was created by the founder who had created these pops for her daughter, Molly, at home, and decided to open up a shop to share them with more people. All of the ice cream pops are handmade in the store and boasts unique flavors such as Wasabi, Corn, and Injulmi, but also has the traditional flavors such as Vanilla, Chocolate, and Mint Chocolate Chip. Another thing the store is famous for is the assortment of alcoholic pops like Wine + Strawberry, Makgeolli + Kahlúa, and Edinger Beer, so don't forget to bring your ID if you're of age! The store itself is quite small, but it's so cute. Look for the toy giraffe in the front! It'll definitely be a highlight of your trip, I promise you.
Must try: Injulmi, Milk Tea, and Makgeolli + Kahlúa
$ // 서울시 마포구 서교동 332-20| 332-20, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
If you're in Korea, you definitely have to try Sulbing! Sulbing specializes in different bingsu, which is Korean shaved ice. You'll find locations all around the city buzzing with people. My personal favorite is the rice cake sulbing and the strawberry sulbing. The rice cake one is a perfect blend between traditional and new, whereas the strawberry one perfectly satisfies my craving for all things sweet. They usually give out a side of condensed milk, so you can adjust the level of sweetness, especially since some of the toppings include ice cream and cheesecake. The portions are relatively big, so I would recommend going with some friends and sharing one. Also, the more people who go, the more flavors you can try! It's also a great place to go with all your family members, ranging from your little cousins to your grandparents, since the menu caters to all different types of interests. I went with my aunt and mom before, and they had no qualms!
Must try: Rice cake (injulmi) sulbing, the milk redbean sulbing,traditional black sesame bingsu, mango cheese sulbing
$ // Various Locations
Another thing you MUST try when you're in Korea is Softree. It was the first place in Korea to combine soft serve ice cream with honeycomb and set off a huge trend in the dessert world! The vanilla is not too sweet that it allows the natural sweetness and richness of the honeycomb to melt on your tongue. When I first got this, I preferred not directly biting into the honeycomb, but instead crush it so that it's well mixed in with the ice cream, ensuring that you aren't attacked with a spoon full of sugar. Each cup is around $4, which is a bit pricey for ice cream, but it's definitely worth a try!
Must try: Milk soft serve with honeycomb
$-$$ // Various Locations
My cousin and I were exploring the neighborhood and had some time to kill before the play we were going to watch started. As we wandered the streets, we found this really cute cafe, Petite Reine. When entering, it was filled with amazing pastries, decorated with the signature Korean cute touch. When I was there, I had a heart-shaped cheesecake that was absolutely divine. My cousin got a mocha. Normally, I don't like coffee, but I gave it a try and loved it! This place had the exact amount of sweetness to balance the bitterness of the coffee. The cafe is several stories high, so you can find the floor with the noise level you prefer. The decor is very chic, mostly with grey tones. It's definitely a great place for a dessert date!
Must try: Cheesecake, Strawberry tart
$-$$ // 56-126 Daehyeon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea
If you're in Korea and decide to try any of these desserts, leave a comment down below!
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