The name of this tea-café, “Suyeonsanbang” literally translates into “a small home in the forest where literary people used to meet” and the title’s appropriate as it was once home to late Korean author Lee Tae-jun. This hanok home served as the backdrop to several of his short stories and was the main setting his 1943 novel, "HaebangJeonhu" as well. Hidden on the side slope of a hill and tucked behind a rainbow of flowers and a small forest of trees, it’s not hard to imagine how a writer could draw inspiration whilst in this charming hideaway. Talked about on media outlets in Japan, France and the UK, the home consists of several rooms and chairs around the space. The tea collection on the menu is impressive and their ability to take something like medicinal herb ssanghwa-cha and make it delicious, even more so.
December's things to do
List up of the best things to do in Seoul in December
This vintage flea market is located near Dongmyo, a shrine built in honor of Guan Yu, a Chinese military commander. Exit Dongmyo Station exit 3 and walk straight for about 30 seconds until you reach the entrance of this bustling market. Hundreds of street stalls open up along the stone walls of the shrine, all the way to Cheonggyecheon Stream. This flea market literally has everything you need— from second-hand clothes to antiques, vinyl records and miscellaneous goods. Clothes are only 1,000 won a piece, with leather jackets in the autumn and faux fur in the winter. This traditional market has become an unusual hot spot in Seoul, with people carrying around their newly purchased items in black plastic bags and sellers pushing around carts full of antiques. We advise that you bring a lot of 1,000 won bills with you, as it makes bargaining easier. Another tip is to go early when the market opens in order to dig through the piles to find the best items. Dongmyo Flea Market opens at 2pm on weekdays and 10am on weekends. They close before sundown and on every 2nd and 4th Tuesday.
Following the availability of small American craft roasters including Intelligentsia and Stumptown Coffee Stumptown Coffee, we now have the Berlin-based artisan roaster Bonanza in Seoul. Even beyond Berlin, Bonanza Coffee is one of the fastest-growing roasters in Europe, with its original location selected by National Geographic as one of the “25 coffee shops around the world you have to see before you die.” This new international location is in Itaewon, but the surrounding area of Hangangjin (near Downtowner burger pub and Pizzeria D' Buzza’s Hannam Dong branch) is quite serene. Although the café is located inside novelty merchandise retailer Morethanless, its seriousness towards extractions has been attracting even professional baristas and humble home brewers alike. As I open its large glass doors and step inside, sturdy La Marzocco Linea machine first catches this aficionado’s eyes. A specialty coffee icon established in Florence, Italy, it grew with Starbucks’ early expansion, and since been an inspiration for most of the high-end espresso machine brands in the world including Synesso and Slayer. The overall atmosphere of the café is quite refined and modern (which is appropriate for its identity as a fashion retailer as well). The staff is kind and friendly, while the audio system involving a powerful amp and a fancy set of speakers are adding another tasteful element to the space. The star of the show is, of course, the coffee. The roasted beans selection available for