Seoul Food: Kpop Entertainment Companies & Shopping (Day 2)

7:30:00 AM

Seoul Ready for Friday

Day 2 of my Seoul trip was centered mostly around… kpop. To be precise, I suppose you could call it a treasure map hunt except we were keeping an eye out for Korean Entertainment companies. Never mind the possible appearance of a kpop idol, which didn't happen to my disappointment.

After getting up bright and early the next morning, the two of us headed down to the lobby to try out the breakfast buffet. And I have to say, it was pretty extravagant. During the few days we were there, the quality and quantity of food they had at the buffet was great and consistent. I wished I took photos of all the food that was there, but I was more focused with eating—and even then I forgot to take pictures of my plates. 

They had an assortment of cold Korean side dishes (kimchi, pickled daikon, pickled small crabs, pan-fried tofu and etc.), dim sum (this area, they were lacking. It tasted like the ones you can purchase from 99 Ranch), udon and omelets (made to order), your standard western breakfast (scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes, sausages etc.) and cold cereals. If that wasn’t enough, there was also a salad bar, fruit bar, cold dessert bar (packaged yogurt, hand mixed yogurt) and baked goods area for those who just want to eat bread in the morning. 

Steamed egg custard, dim sum, bacon and a very small piece of fermented crab

Expertly made omelet. I want those skills.

More bacon (you know me), potato hash, sausage, smoked salmon, pan-fried tofu and silken tofu
Thanks for the breakfast vouchers Seoul Palace Hotel! It saved us the trouble of buying breakfast every morning.

The Game is On!

[Cue the Sherlock song] 

But no, if there’s ever a time to listen to a song while reading my blog post, the time is now.

After the first (and arguably most important) meal of the day, it was time to get down to business. We planned to spend Friday morning tracking down the Entertainment companies around the area. I did some research before arriving to Seoul and that was the only thing that I had on hand besides the subway map I grabbed from the front desk earlier that morning.

The goal was to find: JYP, FNC, CUBE, SM and if possible CUBE CAFÉ all before lunch time. We left the hotel at approximately 10 AM, I believe and took the subway to Apgujeong. 

It was right before the World Cup Series.

Apgujeong Rodeo is a long street filled with brand name shopping. There were high-end department stores and huge “gallery” shops dedicated to familiar names like Cartier, Tiffany’s, Louis Vutton, Tory Burch and etc. Think if they took out all the high-end stores from Valley Fair Mall and gave them a 5,000+ square feet boutique. Out of curiosity, the two of us headed inside a department store and boy, oh boy, for a second there, I thought I was K-Drama chaebol-royalty. There was a doorman who was in impeccable uniform who bowed and opened the door for you and when you enter, everybody bows.

It’s very surreal and I find it odd, but this is a culture difference. A+ on customer service. That’s for sure.

After a brief detour (but really… we got lost), we were finally heading the right direction. During this incredibly long walk down the street, we were also desperately trying to find wi-fi. Now, in America, Starbucks offers free fast wi-fi, but Korea… doesn’t. Okay, well they do, but you need to be a resident living in Korea. So silly me, thinking that wi-fi was readily available, I bought the Yuzu Shaken Iced Tea. The grandé set me back a whopping ₩5,000.

And here I thought Starbucks back home was expensive. I find that food in Korea is cheap, but anything that’s not a Korean brand is more expensive. So basically anything American, like KFC, Starbucks, McDonalds and etc, will be equivalent if not pricier than what you find in the states.

After our first failed attempt, we wandered in and out of various cafés asking if they offer wi-fi until we found it in Caffe Bene. My friend ordered a latte (sweet potato, I believe) and we just sat there for a bit to check on our social media platforms and to email my parents. 

It was impossible to take a clear photo because the trees were in the way.
Not long afterwards, we continued our journey (I use this loosely because really, we were just taking a brisk walk down possibly one of the cleanest streets I’ve seen ever in my entire life).  And eventually, we found it! And by it I mean Cube Entertainment. That was the first entertainment company we ran across. 

After doing the fan girl touristy thing where I snapped a few photos, we headed down the street and found JYP. Now JYP Entertainment was right across from Dunkin Donuts and whereas Cube was pretty empty (fans wise), there were a couple girls who were seated inside Dunkin Donuts who didn’t seem like they were just there for the donuts—if you know what I mean. 

A little more walking got us to FNC Entertainment. There was a humungous CN Blue banner hanging off the building, so it was hard to miss. 

Last but not least was SM Entertainment. The idols must be out and about because the only fan I saw at SM was the girl who was sitting by herself in the photo. What I noticed was that FNC and SM were in a residential area. At first I thought we were heading the wrong direction, but they were tucked in such a private residential area. Right across from SM Entertainment was a park for goodness’ sake. 

So as we were heading back from the direction we came, we decided to search for Cube Café as well. Since we were in the area. But well… lets just say we took a small detour before finally location Cube Café. Sadly, we did not run into any of the idols while we were there, but I did grab a refreshing green tea latte and I will never turn down free wi-fi in Korea. 

By this time, it was already past 1 PM in the afternoon. So by the time we made our way back to the Express Bus Terminal Station, we needed to eat something. Jet lag does weird things to my appetite. I'm almost never really hungry. Stopping by one of small restaurants in the “food court,” we shared a roll of mixed Kimbap (anchovies, kimchi and beef) and a bowl of oden. By this time it was close to 3 PM. 

The Aftermath
This was when I decided that since we were so exhausted from all the activities from earlier that morning, we would skip out on the Ultra Music Festival today and instead go tomorrow. After all, it was two days and we didn’t know any of the acts that were playing on Friday. That was a mistake that eventually cost us the Ultra Experience.

But… more on that on Saturday!

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Instead, we went back to the hotel, freshened up and decided to explore and shop til we dropped at the Express Bus Terminal Shopping Mall. And for all of you out there who like to shop, this place has the best deals when it comes to clothes. We soon figured out that all the small shops out there with the exceptions of “specialized” boutiques carry the same clothes, but just varies in the price. But the best deal was in the Express Bus Shopping. I’ve seen clothes that they sell in Hongdae or Ewha, but 1000 - 5000 more expensive than what I saw in the Express Bus Terminal.

Needless to say, a lot of damage was done that night. 

After a few hours of shopping, we finally made time to eat. Going back to the food court area, we stopped by another stand and ordered dinner. I got an order of Tonkatsu and it was one of the best tonkatsu I have ever eaten. It had the right crispy-ness from the bread crumbs and yet it was still succulent when you bite into it. I don’t know if it was the thickness of the pork or just the coating or everything combined, but it was delicious. 
Your standard radish & kimchi combo

THIS was awesome.
Even if I did find the frosted corn flakes on my salad a little odd, but nevertheless I scarfed it all down. And if I remember clearly, it was pretty reasonable too. I think it was around 6500 and the beauty of Korea was that there was no tax and no tips. 

For desserts, we ordered shaved ice from Eskimo Hawaii. Or shaved snow? It was a very fine milky texture topped with a lot of red beans and two pieces of pumpkin. Pricing-wise, it’s similar to what you may pay in America for shaved ice. I find that desserts and drinks in cafes don’t vary much in price between Korea and America. 

Coming Up Day 3: Ultra Music Festival. KFC. Myeongdong. Street Eats

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  1. hi. i passed by your blog and was curious if you know a cheap hotel in gangnam or near in kpop agencies. my sister and i are diehard fangirls and are planning to go to Seoul next month. hope you can help me. thanks so much!

    1. Hi! Thanks for checking out my blog! I'm afraid I can't really help you with specific suggestions, but I can offer you some general suggestions. They're not "hotels" per say, but you might want to look into share houses or Airbnb for accommodations if you want something on the cheaper side. Otherwise, you can try to find a hotel near the subway lines and just take the subway over to Apgujeong. Hope that helps! (: Have fun in Seoul!