Inside COEX Mall, the digital (touch screen) information kiosks can be found at different parts and corners. And they can get pretty helpful when you’re trying to navigate your way through the mall or find a specific store (getting lost inside COEX Mall’s dynamic roadways might be a bit of an urban adventure). Having re-opened in November 2014 after a large-scale remodeling, it has transformed from a “big mall with good brands” into something a bit more special. While there are unique and colorful shops have set up stalls here, an event arena/stage for the occasional special events (including busking, photo exhibitions, among a variety of cultural events) has come into action. Connected to Grand Intercontinental Hotel’s basement Parnas Mall and Hyundai Department Store’s basement food sector, COEX showcases a diverse array of contents for its guests in its fresh look.
Exclusive things to do
It’s Gundam! Where do I even begin? Most guys in their 30’s would know the days of “Mobile Suit Gundam,” which led the era of Japanese animation otherwise known as anime. The Gundam plastic models created due to the popularity of the anime Gundam was indeed a global hit. And lucky for the fans, Bandai's official store can be found inside COEX Mall. It not only showcases but also manufactures all-things-Gundam. You can find pretty much every plastic model from the SD (Super Deformed Grade) to the PG (Perfect Grade), as well as the limited edition models and newest releases, along with the tools required to assemble them. If you’re new to the world of Gundam, you can start with the HG (High Grade) series.
In Korea, the popularity of the Marvel Universe and its myriad of colorful characters is definitely high, thanks to the growing number of Marvel fanatics of this country. In the quiet corner of Megabox (one of the most popular movie theater chains in Korea) inside COEX, there sits Marvel Collection Enter Six. Four months after the opening of the world’s very first official Marvel store inside Park Avenue (located near Wangsimni and Hanyang University station), this official Marvel store had a second opening in June at Megabox COEX. Inside, you can basically find every Marvel character you could think of: Avengers heroes including the Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, and so on, along with the heroes from the Guardians of Galaxy, the most recent Marvel hit Dr. Strange, X-men and Daredevil. Here is a list of Marvel related products you can purchase at the store: Hot Toys figures, DVDs, original comic books, stationery, accessories, clothing, electronic accessories such as portable batteries and headphones, and even skateboards! And as if the awesomeness couldn’t stop there, this store even carries Marvel hero printed face masks. The hottest section here is the Hot Toy Zone where hyper-realistic figures of the Marvel characters are created right in front of you. The detail is amazing, to the point where slight wrinkles and intentional flaws and blemishes are visible. Watching a 1/6th scaled version of your favorite Marvel heroes indeed makes time pass quickly (the price is
What oozes luxury more than a hotel? At Megabox Boutique M, you’ll be pampered with meticulous service and high-quality goods. Upon arrival, you’re presented with a welcome package that includes Evian water, a blanket and indoor slippers to wear in the theater. There are two types of theaters—Suite and Comfort, with the Suite being slightly more upscale. All of the theaters are named after hotel rooms (No. 101 to No. 105) and everything from premium beer to cocktails and desserts are available during the viewing.
TVXQ, SNSD, EXO, f(x) and other SM artists’ contents are all integrated in this space. Take the escalator between the ornate media walls and you may feel like you’re entering an amusement park. In addition to the shop that sells SM products, there’s SMTown Studio where you can train and film music videos and take photographs like a celebrity; SMTown Theatre for musicals, concerts and other performances; an archive café and more. If you’re a SM fan, this is your mecca. Celebrity Shop SUMThis shop sells merchandise with your favorite artists on it, such as calendars and CDs, but it is also a lifestyle shop that sells your artist’sfavorite products and goods that SM artists collaborated on with other designers. There is even a SUM Market where you can buy items, such as SHINee jjajang ramen, Super Junior potato chips and Red Velvet sparkling water. These products fly off the shelves quick so get them while you can.SM Town StudioThis is a space where you can get vocal and dance training like real SM artists do, then have your hair and makeup done for a photo shoot and film a music video. After your vocal training session, you can record your own music to make a one-of-a-kind record. Prices vary, but it seems K-pop fans from everywhere are willing to pay whatever the cost, as the experience is immensely popular.SMTown TheatreThis 800-seat theater sells out almost every day. Eighty percent of the audience members are Japanese or Chinese fans that come to watch the hologram musica
“Where’s this music coming from?” You might ask yourself as you hear live music played somewhere whilst you stroll through the COEX mall. Inside a rather sterile-looking mall, “street performance” may sound quite awkward for most. But once you find the skilled indie bands, vocalists, Korean traditional percussion groups, guitarists and B-boys taking their stage to this unusual venue, you’ll soon realize that your mood and spirits getting lifted. The COEX mall fully supports busking and provides performance venues (a plaza inside the mall) and equipment to amateur musicians, whereby the musicians are provided with free space to perform in, and the audience can enjoy high quality music for free. In addition to the venue and equipment, the COEX mall also provides publicity through its website and network platforms. Is it sustainable, though? At the moment, there are more than 100 shows a month, and more than 1,000 times a year. Artists and buskers who are interested in performing here can apply via the COEX mall website (www.coexmall.com) or the Buskingplay website (www.buskingplay.com). The performance schedule is available on the COEX mall website, the official Facebook page (www.facebook.com/coexmall), or its blog (http://blog.naver.com/coexmall_blog).
Cafés & restaurants for pure delicacies
Over 200 years old, this German brand takes pride in its quality teas. It has three locations in Korea, with two in Seoul (COEX and Sangam-dong) and one in Pangyo. Although ostensibly casual in appearance, it upholds a certain amount of class. The COEX location gives off a cozy vibe with its hardwood tables, numerous filament light bulbs hanging from the ceiling and a wall stocked with more than 250 tea tins. Along with fresh fruit and herbal teas, the brand offers their take on the traditional black, oolong and green teas. To treat yourself to the perfect break, pair your tea with one of their desserts, which includes macarons, éclairs and scones, served on a black stone slate decorated with powdered sugar, cinnamon powder, almonds, chocolate syrup and mint leaves.
The original branch of trendy Korean hand-made burger shop Burger B is in Hongdae, but the one inside Coex Mall is bigger and brighter. The wide selection of draft beer pairs well withthe fatty patties. Order the ultimate BB burger and fries, dipped in the milk shake — it’s a no-brainer.
Spicy tteokbokki with beef brisket? Sounds unsual, but also mouthwatering. Having opened its first location in Hongdae, second at COEX Mall, and the latest opening in Myeongdong, Side Show is a new form tteokbokki joint offering a new dimension to the dish. At this restaurant, the tteokbokki is cooked at your table, and you get a choice between beef brisket and squid. The menu includes 10 different kinds of toppings and a wide variety of side dishes. As the tteokbokki boils on the induction cookers, the gochujang sauce and brisket blend to create thick broth that is rich in taste. The interior design of the space is complete with a massive collection of Marvel Heroes (the owner is a self-proclaimed animation figure nerd). Even the aprons (provided to every customer) have Marvel Heroes printed on them! Even though Side Show is located in a corner of the mall, its popularity will have you wait at least 30 minutes in line.
With a history of over 80 years, Teuscher has been ranked #1 in National Geographic’s list of The 10 Best Chocolatiers in the World. And lucky for the chocolate lovers in Seoul, this Swiss chocolatier Teuscher has joined the pack of high-end dessert brands that have been introducing themselves to Korea (it has only 25 stores worldwide). What’s all of this spiel? Teuscher makes only small batches of chocolate at a time, using traditional methods and all-natural ingredients, without any chemicals, additives or preservatives. To keep its signature quality and level of freshness, all chocolates are shipped directly from Zurich, Switzerland to each domestic and international location via air freight on a weekly basis. Among the great selection available at this Coex Mall location, our recommendation is the signature Dom Perignon truffles, which are filled with a cream form of the premium champagne (you can definitely sense several notes of champagne). It might be a little tricky to find this place, though, especially if you’re too excited (like we were) about this union of premium chocolate ganache and Devil's Wine that’ll happen in your mouth. In that case, make use of one of the digital information kiosks which will guide your way to this out-of-this-world chocolatier.
Shops offering choices, choices and choices
Butter is Korea’s very first SPA living brand created by Modern House (with the E Land group serving as its umbrella company). “Home styling at the price of a cup of coffee" as its motto, this chain store offers a variety of home décor items at a reasonable price. Once you find Butter’s hundreds of kitchen utensils, travel goods, fabrics, etc. here, with each carrying a Nordic sensibility and practicality, you won’t want to walk out of the store empty-handed. From the minimal designs to more creative and innovative products such as the tooth paste-shaped pencil case, shopping cart-shaped storage baskets, Butter’s products will surely fill your wish list in no time (and it will take you about half a day to look through everything in the store). The stock is updated every 2 weeks. Lots of Halloween, Christmas, and other seasonal decorations can easily be found here.
Hong Kong's leading footwear brand Stakkato’s first Seoul flagship store is located inside COEX Mall. With nearly 1,500 stores being operated worldwide, this brand is known for its “5 seconds shoes,” meaning their products can be spotted every 5 seconds in every fashionable district in Hong Kong. And once you visit this branch showcasing more than 250 kinds of shoes, purses and special collections, you’ll understand the reason why: Stakkato’s wide range of selection incorporates trendy designs and comfort, but the price is highly affordable. The most popular item here is the unique pair of wedge flats. They’ll serve you well especially if you’re looking for both style and comfort to complete your latest office look.
Do you consider value, quality and the latest trends at the same time in choosing your outfit? If so, Oysho is the perfect place for you to purchase your next collection of homewear and undergarments. Founded in 2001, the fashion forward women’s clothing retailer’s products include lingerie, sleepwear, gym wear, beachwear, accessories, and footwear. As marketed, these products are “made with love”: they are not only stylish but comfortable made with quality materials. As it is part of the umbrella company that owns Zara, Oysho's decently priced items are much more toned down on the sexiness level in comparison to Victoria Secret while definitely maintaining a level of chic. Some items seem suitable for the Korean clientele as the adjective "cute" is the first descriptive word that pops into mind. The light gray bathrobe with white polka dots or the faux fur slippers might be the case in point. Currently there are 2 locations in Seoul: one in COEX and the other in the new Starfield Hanam mall. While it is not as well known in this domestic market yet, Oysho may be the perfect hidden gem to complete a contemporary Spanish inspired look.
Kosney at Home has set up store at COEX Mall. As one of Korea’s first generation lifestyle stores, it first gained public attention for being way ahead of its time in terms of concept and design. Although the shop was nowhere to be seen in Seoul for a while, it has made a big comeback in the lifestyle retail scene. And as expected, Kosney at Home is once again at the forefront of trends, blending the antique, modern and Nordic design selections. It might sound a little awkward, but Kosney makes it work beautifully. From modern tableware to antique furniture, this place caters to a wide range of clientele (so don’t be afraid to look around). While big brands like Ikea is taking all the craze right now, Kosney at Home has its own unique vibe that is hard to be found elsewhere.
Once you're here, don't forget Parnas Mall
Located in the basement floor of the Grand Intercontinental Hotel, many consider the Parnas Mall to be an extension of COEX. But FYI, that’s not true—while Parnas is small in size, the brands it holds make it just as significant. From Dean & Deluca and Il Bisonte to New York’s celebrated Junior’s Bakery and the Danish juice brand Joe & The Juice, many of the rare brands we love are clustered here at Parnas.
You would’ve seen Joe & the Juice if you’ve traveled around Europe, and now they finally opened up a shop in Korea for the first time. It all started in Copenhagen, Denmark, and they sell all kinds of juices as well as coffee and sandwiches. Most of the juices here are made with apples to add sweetness to their healthy blends. Everything is the same in every store around the world, from the music to the ambiance, but the only difference is the Korean store sells ice coffees.
Come lunch time, you will notice that of all the restaurants at the Parnas Mall one shop will have a noticeably longer line. While it will test your patience, the traditional Japanese curry udon at Konaya is definitely worth a long wait. Even in Tokyo where the brand is originally from, every single one of the 5 Konaya branches requires long lines. Once you try the food, though, you understand that such popularity lends itself to the curry, specially made with added coconut milk. For those who aren’t exactly into strong spices and tastes of curry, there’s Konaya’s udons which are equally delicious. If you consider yourself a foodie, try the Kima curry udon with pork and chicken cooked in hot sauce. The spiciness of the taste and the softness of the texture all work together in your mouth. Also, each table is provided with curry salt and shichimi (Japanese spice mixture containing 7 spice blend). The mushroom samgyeopsal curry udon is limited only for this branch, so those who are curious can head to Parnas Mall.
This establishment is the Seoul outpost of the famed Pierre Hermé dessert shop that has spread from Paris to locations around the world. Pierre Hermé, known as the “Picasso of pastry,” is lauded for raising dessert into an art form. He received the Légion d’Honneur in 2007, one of the most prestigious awards in France. In other words, he's kind of a big deal—and with good reason. This luxurious dessert shop not just another brand name on a department store wall, its an art gallery in its own right. The most famous item is, of course, the macaron. They come in a variety of flavor like rose and pistachio, but his signature touch is the combinations like the famous Mogador macaron, a mixture of passionfruit and chocolate. Already an expensive confection in their native France, these macarons are priced at 4,000 won each, which is perhaps more understandable when you learn that they must be shipped daily from France to Korea. It's always a balancing act between quality control and logistics, but this shop is certainly doing its job of sharing world-class macarons with eager Seoulites.