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INSA-DONG is the culture & art capital of Seoul where artists, painters, craftsmen, and art lovers converge. This is a street where tourists can get a taste of traditional Korean food, culture, and arts. 

Here’s a look at what you can experience in Insa-dong….

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The main entrance of the street is marked by a sculpture of a painter’s brush.

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You are greeted by artsy decorations with a cool bohemian vibe.

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This frog sculpture and man-made river is one of Insa-dong’s signature sights.

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It’s a super busy street during the weekends, with lots of locals, tourists, and street performers.

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We turn into the alley marked by this signage.

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There are lots of paved alleys coming from the main Insadong-gil street.

 

Traditional Korean Restaurant

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We visited a popular traditional Korean restaurant serving set courses.

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Love the modern contemporary interiors!

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There are different nooks and spaces for big groups like this long wooden table setup. 

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There are three set menus of Traditional Korean meals with rice, soup, and side dishes to choose from: Nam Chon Jung Sik (KRW 15,000/head), Seo Chon Jung Sik (KRW 23,000/head), and Book Chong Jung Sik (KRW 28,000/head).

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We ordered the Seo Chon Jung Sik set. Here are some of the side dishes and food that were served.

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I love their vegetables with Gochujang (Korean Hot Pepper Paste).

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Pork with chili peppers.

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Green Salad with sweet chili dressing.

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Mixed greens with sesame sauce.

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Japchae — sweet potato noodles cooked in sesame oil with vegetables.

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Another glass noodle dish with vegetables.

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Fried fish with chili sauce on top — yum!

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Caramelized squash.

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Sashimi slices.

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Seafood cakes with sweet chili sauce.

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Seared Tuna.

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Kangkong greens? 🙂

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Of course — Kimchi!

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Mixed vegetables.

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More leafy vegetables.

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Salted fish with nuts.

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A bit sour soup.

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Yummy fried fish.

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Some rice.

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Sweet soup with rice (like am).

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A sweet red drink.

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The food is really good, but everything is written in Korean so just order the set you want based on your budget. I forgot to get the English name of the resto but its facade is easily recognizable.

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You can buy hanbok (traditional clothing) and bargain clothes…

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…and other folk crafts around Insa-dong.

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You can also try different kinds of drinks like Rice Punch. 

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You can also check out the different traditional art galleries…

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…and the contemporary ones.

 

Ssamzigil

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Make sure to pass by Ssamzigil, a multi-level, open courtyard mall with some hidden gems at the basement

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On weekends, there are pop-up stores like this caricature shop.

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You can find unique and cheap places like the Uglydoll store.

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The stairwell is vandalized with a giant rose installation art rising through the stairs.

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The mall is designed in a zig zag manner so you won’t miss any shop as you explore it.

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Don’t forget to visit the Hanging Gardens of Ssamzigil, which is a rooftop terrace garden.

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You can put love messages on the wall…

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…or have coffee while waiting for the sun to set.

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Make sure you also visit the National Souvenir Center for high quality Korean-made products.

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There are snack food vendors along the street…

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Best to explore the different food shops as you walk down the street.

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Check out these wooden samurai sword and bow and arrow toys for your kids.

 

Jipangi Ice Cream

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As you continue walking, you’ll notice people eating this yellow ice cream.

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There’s always a long line of people who want to try out this latest Jipangi Soft Ice Cream hit in Insa-dong.

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It’s like kropek shaped into a stick with soft ice cream pumped into it from both ends.

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The line is organized and fast. You just order how many ice creams you want for KRW 3,000/each. 

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They use a special pressurized tube to pump the soft serve ice cream.

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So which end should you start eating this? 🙂

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Next time, I’ll allot more time to explore the secrets of Insa-dong while eating Jipangi ice cream. 🙂

Check out more information about Insa-dong

Awesome Korea Experience: Be Inspired Series

Live an Awesome Life,

Anton 
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com

P.S. Thank you to Korean Tourism Organization of Manila for the Asian On Air Program: Asia Power Bloggers Tour of South Korea! 감사합니다 Kamsahamnida!