A week after my first weak attempt at wedding dress shopping, I called a friend to join me at my first real wedding dress shop. In Korea, apparently people go with their wedding planner. My wedding planner (wedit) also offers this option, but I would much rather go with a friend. I made an appointment at Bride & You, another place I found through instagram, located in Cheongdamdong.

I didn’t have high expectations, but still hoped I would at least find one dress that popped up in their look book. Unfortunately, nothing in particular but I still tried on 3 dresses. One annoying thing I’ve found is that there is a try-on fee at the dress shops. Sometimes they return the money if you choose to rent/buy a dress but it makes it harder to try a bunch of different shops. In the end, I wasn’t particularly impressed by any of their dresses since they didn’t fit my body shape or style. But my friend (who is over 170cm!) would have looked great in any of them.

We decided to cool off with bingsoo after trying on dresses at sojukdoo in rodeo street. I was surprised at how dead this street is. Garosugil was disappointing itself with the commercialization, but rodeo street is basically over. The bingsoo here is more traditional and wasn’t bad but it won’t be my first choice to go. While we shared our dessert, we looked for other dress shops and made an appointment at Reehue for a couple weeks later.

最初のドレス探しから1週間後別の友達に頼んで、本格的なブライダルショップに行きました。韓国はアメリカと違い、友達やお母さんと一緒ではなく、ウェディングプラナーと行くそうです(ちなみに私のプランナーも手伝ってくれます)。でも私は正直な意見と楽な雰囲気の方がいいので友達に手伝ってもらいました。お金持ちエリアのチョンダムドンにあるBride & Youというインスタで見つけた店に予約しました(夫が)。



strawberry picking


My first strawberry picking experience in Korea! Near my foodie partner’s parents house, we passed by a bunch of strawberry farms earlier in the year. So a couple weeks later, we decided to pick some strawberries!

So delicious! It felt a little weird to eat non-refrigerated strawberries, but still some of the sweetest I’ve ever tried. All the strawberries had to fit inside the containers so I carefully chose different sizes to take full advantage. There was a woman who piled up huge strawberries but ended up having to eat them because the container couldn’t close!



guksu myeongga


I was starting to lose hope about finding a nice hanok to hold our wedding since the other option, dugohan was completely booked. But my foodie partner found one more called The Hanok Smith Likes. It looked charming and more private than the previous hanok so we headed out to see the place that night. I instantly liked it although the food was Italian, not Korean. The manager wasn’t there that day so we took some photos and decided to grab dinner in the area.

For our wedding meal, we were hoping to have a simple meal. In the old days, Korean weddings would only have one dish but find a place that made it the best. It might be difficult since most venues  provide catering but we hope at least guksu can be added to the menu. So while we were roaming samcheongdong, we found a guksu restaurant right nearby. The broth was flavorful and soothing. The jeon we ordered had really spicy peppers though! I was already full on french fries before we met for dinner so I couldn’t enjoy this as much as I hoped.

The following Sunday, we returned to The Hanok Smith Likes to speak with the manager.  Overall the details sounded good but one minus point was the set maximum. Because the space is small, they can only serve and prepare for a set amount of guests. There was no flexibility which my foodie partner thought could be a potential issue. Especially since the maximum was 65 or 68. Although I really liked it, we had to take it out as an option.

edit: We have found a place! Unfortunately, not a hanok but top of our list for a non-hanok place and recommended by wedit. More details later!





dadam eddeul

So finally about our wedding location search!

Through another blog, I stumbled upon a Korean wedding planner that helps out international couples with small weddings called wedit. We made an appointment to discuss our plans with our wedding directors. My foodie partner and I didn’t have much of an idea since we aren’t that interested in having a wedding in the first place. But we thought holding it at a hanok would be nice because of the beautiful architecture and cozy feeling. Unfortunately, hanoks are few in Seoul and very small. Their website lists a bunch of venues they already have a relationship with but the hanoks were too small for our guest count. However, there was one location wedit told us about not listed called dadam eddeul, located near the Shilla hotel. From the pictures it looked like a nice space with good Korean food.

We went one weekend to speak with the cafe owner and try the food. When we arrived though, we were surprised to find the location was not as private as we expected. The area the wedding is held sort of faces a public park next to a college. The food however was delicious and we liked that it was Korean food instead of western. We both ordered the lotus leaf rice set which came with soup, salad, and several banchan. The food felt very healthy but well flavored. My foodie partner also bought yagkwa (a sweet honey based dessert) on the way out which wasn’t too sweet with a good texture.

When we had a chance to speak with the owner, his minimum guest count was more than we thought. Originally, we heard 100 but he was hoping for 150 which was larger than what we would. Although the food was really delicious, thinking about the guest count and limited privacy, this was not the place for us.


ウエディングプランナーを検索していたら、家の近くに国際カップルを手伝ってくれるウエディングプランナー weditを見つけました。早速プランナーと会う予約をしました。私と彼は結婚式にはあまり興味がなくて、もともと式を挙げること自体に抵抗していました。でもしょうがないので、やるならは韓家(ハノク)がいいと思っていました。伝統的な建築と雰囲気が気に入ってたので。だがソウルでは数少ないし、あまり広くない。weditのサイトにはいくつか載っているが、人数が少なすぎる。プランナーと話したら、サイトには載っていないもう少し広い韓家カフェ(タダムエトゥル)があると知りました。写真から見る限り広くておいしそうな韓国料理を提供していた。



sweet & spicy tofu steak


sweet & spicy tofu steak

When I was living in New York, this was a dish I would make often for lunch. It’s pretty simple although a bit messy with the potato starch. One key point I’ve realized is after coating the tofu, it’s better to put it on the heated pan right away so that starch doesn’t come off the tofu and crisps nicely. Although with the sauce, it’s not crispy in the end anyways. If you don’t want a spicy sweet sauce, you can eat the fried tofu dipped in a soy sauce ground ginger mix.



patisserie etoile

mogumogu_032717x.jpgTo continue from my last post, after eating gelato, I wanted to stop by a bakery with various madeleine flavors to take home. This was another place I had found on instagram called Patisserie Etoile. There were about 5~6 flavors ranging from classic, earl gray, and glace matcha. I took home the classic, pistachio and green tea. Overall, it was a bit disappointing except for the glace matcha. The syrup coating gave it a nice crunch and the green tea flavor was strong. Other than madeleines there were a bunch of other french tea cakes. I debated but only bought the tarte au marron which was also alright. I’m not sure I will buy from here for myself again but seems good as a gift or home party.


il gelato

mogumogu_032717.jpgAs we’ve been looking for our wedding location, I’ve started searching for a wedding dress on my own. Because of my limited Korean ability and shyness, I have a couple friends helping me out. I was hoping to find a more casual dress at a boutique shop instead of going to an appointment only wedding dress store. Through instagram, I found a shop called Faye Woo in Garosugil with one dress to my liking. My friend and I stopped by but I couldn’t try on the dress! They said something about how it was hard to fit and I could only try it on once I bought it. It sounded a bit odd but I couldn’t communicate so I let it be. Later we would stop by fast fashion stores that wouldn’t let you try on the clothes either. The odd thing was that I saw a Faye Woo pop-up in the Shinsaege department store a week later where I could have tried on the dress! (I didn’t because I didn’t have time.) Back to the dress – it was cute but a bit longer than I expected. It seemed like a good option and could be tailored once purchased. I took a shot of myself holding the dress and left.

After we wandered in and out of shops, I took my friend to a gelato shop I had been eyeing for awhile. Apparently, the shop owners studied and met in Italy at Gelato University! The flavors varied from classic, fruity, and asian. Unfortunately no black sesame this time, but I tried the injeolmi (soy bean) which was delicious! It really tasted like sweetened kinako (soybean flour in japanese). The pistachio didn’t disappoint either. My friend chose the tiramisu and rice. She was surprised and satisfied with the rice flavor. If this place was closer to home, I would want to go more often.. but I found a gelato place a bit closer which will be a future post.





The weather is suddenly much warmer now. Strawberries will be out of season soon too. We went strawberry picking this year which I’ll write about later. And the wedding venue is set as well!


bean brothers

As I’ve mentioned before, Hongdae is the hip area for high school & college students. So even though there are lots of cafes in the area, it can be tiring for my foodie partner and I. But we recently found out that below Hapjeong station (basically south of Hongdae) is crawling with cafes and restaurants with a calmer atmosphere.

One weekend the car needed a desperate washing but our usual place was closed. We found a hand washing place below Hapjeong station and on our drive there is when I noticed the cafes. After giving the car a good scrub, we had some spare time to check out a cafe. Bean Brothers looks like a renovated warehouse that you would find in Brooklyn. And already crowded with hipsters working on their laptops. We ordered the strawberry fraisier cake and grapefruit juice. Unfortunately, we were running out of time for our appointment with the wedding planner. I don’t think I’ve ever rushed eating a cake that quickly. I wish I could have relished it more…




A while ago, my foodie partner was craving for old style pasta (by old style, I mean Korean old style). He told me about a popular pasta restaurant in the gwanghwamun area. We didn’t go that day but a few weeks later, decided to stop by.

The restaurant itself is a small square but crammed with tables. Even though there was a line, we only waited about 10 minutes until seated. The menu is seafood heavy and a bit pricier than what I was hoping. But when the food came out, it looked like it was about 2 servings worth. Maybe if I hadn’t eaten all day I could eat everything. I ordered the seafood risotto and was disappointed. But only because I don’t like tomato sauce. Tomatoes are the one food I really despise. Since it’s a risotto, I was expecting a white sauce or something more cheesy. But this was like bloated rice in a light tomato sauce with lots of seafood. Most of the pasta choices were tomato based too. So even though I wanted to like this place, there aren’t many options on the menu for me. But the food has a very nostalgic home meal feeling.



apple yogurt cake


I’ve always been more of a baker since I was little. But the funny thing was that I could never bake pre-made baking mixes – they always turned out bad. I remember my cousin and I tried to use a brownie mix and they came out rock hard! But whenever I baked from scratch, the outcome was tasty.

My mom isn’t a frequent baker but the desserts she made were always easy and delicious. One of her repeat recipes for pot luck parties was an apple yogurt cake. It’s very moist and the apples add a nice soft crunch. I’ve since baked this cake countless of times and it’s always popular with everyone. Instead of regular yogurt, I use greek yogurt to add more density. Even if you use regular yogurt, straining the water overnight should have a similar texture.



gontran cherrier

For our last full day, we grabbed lunch at the Gontran Cherrier in Parco. The hotel provided us breakfast, but we were in the mood to try something else. I tried the food here before at one of the stores in Tokyo, but the green tea scone here is amazing. It can’t be compared to the one at the bakery near my house. My foodie partner ate the kouign-amann and french toast. Both good but the kouign-amann was crunchier than I expected. I ate the almond tart on another day which was filled with almond paste! They have a couple stores in Seoul too which I need to check out.

After breakfast, we met up with my friend’s sister to receive our wedding rings from Cherry Brown. Unfortunately, my foodie partner’s ring was too small so it been sent back to be adjusted. But thank you for delivering our rings to us!

For lunch we went to a sushi place in Hakata station. Eating sushi in Japan at a proper restaurant is DELICIOUS! And the price can be reasonable too. After a tiring day of last minute gift shopping, the day ended with dinner at an izakaya near our hotel. Even though our hotel was disappointing, it was a great area for quiet upscale izakayas and restaurants. The food was delicious and my partner enjoyed a local sake tasting.

I hope next time I visit Fukuoka, I’ll get out of the city center.