Sep 092013

Book Street, Nampo, BusanBy Emma O’Flynn

Nestled in the narrow little streets just beyond Gukje Markets, is the cute and quaint, and adeptly named Book Street.  This place is all about the books.  Tiny little stores are stacked from floor to ceiling with books and magazines of every shape and size. Though the selection of English books available is pretty limited, it’s more about the ambience, then any serious book shopping!   The odd coffee shop and vintage store are also thrown in the mix.

Perhaps not something you’d make the journey for specifically, but if you are in the area, the cool shady streets and quirky shops make a welcome relief from the crazy buzz of Nampo and Gukje.

Directions: To get to this area, take exit 7 from Jagalchi Station and walk straight until you reach the next main left turn (the one with Artbox on it).  Take the left and walk up the entire length of this street.  At the top there is an intersection wish an Angels-in-us-Coffee at the other side. Cross over to the coffee shop and bear left, and you should see the narrow entrance of the beginning of the alley starting there.  Alternatively, if you miss that, keep walking and there will be a post shaped like a big stack of books, turn right up into the area from there.

Jun 212013

By Emma O’Flynn

2013-06-16 13.38.37

When it comes to dining out in Nampo, budget vegetarian options are pretty limited. So this little place was a great find, even though it’s not strictly vegetarian. Located in the basement, with a very unassuming entrance, Korean Banchan (side-dish) Heaven awaits. One does not go to this place for the Kimchi Jigae, or the Dwen Jang Jigae (although they are pretty good!). The major selling point for this restaurant is the buffet of sides that you can help yourself to, as much as you heart (and stomach) desires.

2013-06-16 13.05.44You must order something from the menu, before you go to the buffet. It’s a fairly short list (an English version is available), and includes the aforementioned jigaes, plus things like the donkasu (pork cutlet) and ice noodles. Once your order is in, you are free to hit the side dishes! They vary slightly each time, but almost always have the following in the selection: chap chey, padjeon, dakboki, kimchi, some fish (species unknown), salad (spicy and mayo), fresh lettuce and chilies, and the sweet rice stew porridge stuff. So there is something to everyone’s taste.

2013-06-16 13.21.30All this is available for the bargain price of 6,900 won. I have visited several times, including a weekend, and the place ranges from steadily busy, to choc-a-block, which I always take as a good sign. There are plenty of tables in the place, and the staff are very friendly and helpful (though not a lick’o’English between them), with a nice buzz at all times. A great place to take the weight off your feet and fill up your belly.





Directions (map below): Subway Line 1 to Nampo (111). This restaurant is located on same street as Arun Thai. It is a lot further up away from the main Nampo drag. As you walk up and one of the intersections there is a store on the left hand corner with a white header, conveniently called ‘Corner’. The entrance for the restaurant is almost on the opposite corner from this (just one or two more doors up). You will see the sign (pictured), and some food pictures at the top of the stairs.




Apr 102013

Loving hut 1



Note, this location is closer to Dongdaesin than Nampodong!

By: Emma O’Flynn

Calling all vegetarians!  Life in Korea can be challenging as a vegetarian, even more so as a vegan.  So when friend introduced me to Loving Hut in Seomyeon, I was thrilled!  And then I was equally devastated by it’s recent closure.  The following week I was summoned to a teacher’s lunch, and as we all piled into a couple of cars I was informed that we were going to a vegetarian restaurant.  Now, when a group of Koreans announce such a thing to me, I take it with a pinch of salt!  Perhaps they mean no beef or pork, or perhaps only small pieces of meat mixed through the dish, but not PROPER vegetarian!!!  So imagine my utter surprise, and delight, when we pulled up at a Loving Hut!


Loving hut 2Decorated with all the cuteness of a Korean coffee shop, this branch of Loving Hut provides a more homely feel than that of the former Seomyeon branch.  There are tables hidden in a number of little nooks and crannies to inhabit, and there is even a small hairdresser shop attached!  There is a decent selection of organic/vegetarian products for sale also, and an organic ice cream deli too.


Loving hut 3The menu is totally in Korean, but the owner was happy to translate for me.  Items include Indian style curry, a chilli, fried rice dishes, and soy-protein steak or Donkasa served with roast veggies.  They also had a pizza and salad.  The usual coffee, tea and juices are available.  I ordered the Donkasa which was served with roast veggies and brown rice, but also I was came with a small tomato, potato and veg soup, and a salad that included walnuts and blueberries, and balsamic dressing.  Additionally I had a coconut water, which is the one thing I would NOT recommend!  The food is a little pricey, however, when you consider the sides that come with the food, it is reasonably good value.

Loving hut 4

Directions: The restaurant is located in the Dongdaesin neighbourhood, not far from Jalgalchi.   The area can be reached by subway (Line 1, stop 108).  The street entrance is adjacent to the Gudok Baseball Stadium, where buses to/from Seomyeon leave from.  The street for the restaurant is next to a large chimney stack painted blue and white, there is a small hiking gear shop on the right hand side, it’s a short distance up at that turn off.  


Map coming soon…


Aug 222011

View along the coast of Taejongdae Park, Busan, Korea

After several visits solely for the purpose of eating at the clam tents, I finally took a few hours to hike around the famous cliffs of Taejongdae Park. As far as hikes go, this one doesn’t compare with Igidae or Amnam Park, but it’s still a nice little walk. It’s particularly suited for those who want to see some nice cliffs, but aren’t especially interested in a strenuous hike to get to them. It’s an easy walk along a paved road to get to the short path to the cliffs. If you don’t feel like walking, you can take the cute mini-train around as well. It cost around 1500 won.

Taejongdae Park, Busan, South KoreaThe highlight of the park is the cliffs near the lighthouse. On the day I went it was pretty windy and I saw at least three people have their hats blown off, so you may want to leave your more cherished head coverings at home or secure them safely in your backpacks. The cliffs are beautiful, though there is a rather small area from which to enjoy the views. If you are looking for any sort of inspirational solitude, this is not the place. Like most easy to reach spots in Korea, there are usually a few hundred others right there with you.

Aside from the short (maybe 3km?) loop around Taejongdae park, there is also a 17.8 km trail to goes from Amnam Park to Taejongdae. I’ve passed the wooded walkways on the way to both parks, but have yet to attempt the long walk. I imagine it would make for quite the scenic walking or running spot once the weather cools down.

temple at taejongdae park, Busan

So if you feel like taking in a few scenic views, but don’t feel like doing a long hike in order to find them, Taejongdae is a pretty nice place to go. It’s easy to get to, easy to get around and the cliffs and ocean are beautiful.


FROM JAGALCHI: get to Jagalchi metro station exit 10 and take bus 8

SEOMYEON: get the 88-B or 88-A across the street from Judie’s Taehwa. The ride is about an hour.

Nampo:  Take buses 30, 88 or 8 from Nampo metro, exit 6

FROM POINTS EAST (east of Seomyeon): Metro to Daeyeon station, exit 2 and take the 101 all the way to Taejongdae. OR you can take the 139, 1001 or 1003 to the Munhyeon stop and transfer to the 101 there. The ride from Daeyeon will take about an hour.
FROM BUSAN STATION: Bus 101, 88-A or 88-B will do the trick.

Take the bus to the END of the line (TaeJongDae) and you’ll get off in a parking lot. Turn left and you’ll see the entrance to the park. 

View BUSAN! AWESOME! in a larger map