Day 8 (afternoon) in South Korea: Shopping!

It was a really long walk back to Yoogane, which was nearer to where we first started. It did not help that we were famished then.

Yoogane was a restaurant specialising in chicken galbi, and they pride themselves on their unique spicy sauce. Once seated, we ordered two portions of the marinated chicken galbi fried rice, and waited patiently for it to arrive. Our initial impression was that the server would bring two ready-cooked dishes to our table. Instead, what happened was a giant pan with a reddish concoction – sauce, veggies and chicken – was hoisted over. Soon after, another server came over and cooked the reddish mixture. He then added white rice into the pan and cooked it with the mixture, rendering it orangey-red.

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I was not used to someone cooking food for us, on our table, in front of our eyes, but this is a good first experience I guess. When he was done, he flattened the rice out, presumably to give a slightly crisp texture to it. It looked supremely delicious, and we could not wait to begin.

I heaped some pickled radish and kimchi onto small dishes at the free flow counter and brought it to the table. Things we’ve learnt – a Korean meal without side dishes was, simply, not a Korean meal! It was time to eat!

We wolfed down on the fried rice, and what originally thought to be a tad too little for two portions soon became unfinishable. Things we’ve learnt 2 – we always cannot finish our side dishes! The fried rice tasted uncannily similar to the Kimchi fried rice Clara’s mom always makes, and so it was ordinarily unremarkable. Perhaps, for other people who haven’t had the opportunity to try Kimchi fried rice before, this could definitely be the dish to introduce them to what they’ve been missing out on.

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After lunch, we walked around the streets of Myeongdong to aid digestion, and we encountered this dude, who was (very obviously) trying to look like Captain Yoo Si Jin. The extent people would go to attract customers…what I found more hilarious was that a giant balloon was tethered to him, and the corresponding glare he seemed to be giving.

We decided to dedicate our last afternoon in South Korea to shopping! To get the stuff we hadn’t had the opportunity to get in the past seven days. Souvenirs for our family and friends; souvenirs for ourselves to help us remember this amazing trip down the road!

Before we embarked on this trip, so frequently were we disgusted by the prices of stationery products from Artbox branches in Singapore (they conveniently print the Korean prices at the back so that people can realise that they’re being charged two to three times more) that we promised ourselves a shopping spree in Artbox when we came to South Korea! Logically, it meant checking out the Myeongdong branch down the road from Yoogane.

The Myeongdong branch was kind of disappointing though, like a pared-down version of the Ewha Womans University branch we went to on Day 2. We then decided to take the subway to Ewha Womans University station to pay a visit to that branch itself, reckoning that, since students usually patronised it more, the range would be better.

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Thankfully, that branch was much better, and we ended up having a mini shopping spree with the limited amount of money we had left. Nothing like the sort we imagined, but something was better than nothing! What made this Artbox special was the existence of a basement level selling items from Poom, the parent company of Artbox. However, we noticed some of the nicer designs we saw in Singapore were absent, so we made one last pilgrimage to the outlet in Hongdae, after finding from the staff that out there was a branch there. As time was quickly running out, we gave Homilpat a second miss, consigning it to our next trip in the (near, I hope) future.

The Hongdae branch, although boasting a nicer exterior than the other two branches, had more or less the same range to offer. Sadly, that meant that we could not get our hands on some of the designs we wanted, though we did get many others!

Also, the good thing was we got to see Hongdae park minus the free market, its streets minus the weekend crowd (noticeably more peaceful) and … Maenggu and Jjanggu one more time!

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One of them appeared to have its head stuck between the gate railings haha. They were as cute as ever! It was time to bid our final goodbyes to the two sheep who made our trip so memorable!

We whooshed back to Myeongdong to stock up on some face masks and collect our luggages from K-Pop residence (thank you!). Somewhere along the way, we managed to try the strawberry-flavoured version of the famous banana milk! It was just as good! As the evening came, we made our way down to Seoul station to board the Airport Express train – well, to the airport of course!

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