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[Seoul] Seoul's Oldies But Goodies

Published Date : Dec. 01, 2017 / Edited Date : Feb. 13, 2019
Written and photographed by Robert Koehler

서울의 오래된 가게들

Old stores keep history alive in a frantically transforming city. In the highly competitive commercial environment that is Seoul, shops come and go at a dizzying pace. Some stores, however, have managed to stand the test of not only time, but also of Korea’s dramatic recent past of colonialism, war and breakneck industrialization. These old stores exude passion and charm, but they are more than that. They are important pieces of Seoul’s heritage that testify to the sometimes arduous path the city and its people have traveled. In this issue of SEOUL, we’ll introduce just a handful of them.

서울의 오래된 가게들 2
서울의 오래된 가게들3

Dol Record

Dol Record is a bit like a labyrinth. A labyrinth whose walls are lined by LP records. Hidden in an aging arcade in Hwanghak-dong’s wonderfully chaotic flea market, Dol Record seems at first to be little more than a narrow corridor lined by old vinyl records and CDs, the smell of dust and cigarette smoke in the air. Owner Kim Seong-jong, whose mother founded the shop in 1975, sits behind a computer monitor at the far end of the corridor, the appearance of customers rousing him from his game of online baduk. “Hey, get a picture of the inside, too,” he says, opening the small door next to a water filter surrounded by records, old newspapers and other artifacts. Through the door is yet another musty storage space lined by row upon row of vintage LPs. On the far side of the room, doors lead to yet more spaces full of music and dust.

Several decades past the golden age of vinyl, Kim is one of only a handful of merchants left in the city selling phonograph records, the medium prized by aficionados the world over for its warmth and personality. His eclectic collection of somewhere around 200,000 albums – nobody’s quite sure of the exact number - includes everything from Von Karajan’s recordings of Beethoven to Seo Taiji and Boys. He’s especially proud of his collection of early recordings of Korean folk music and early Korean pop and rock. With their flamboyant colors and bad hair, the album jackets alone justify a visit to this museum of Korean pop music.

Most of Dol Record’s customers are middle aged or older, not surprising given its location – Hwanghakdong attracts a senior crowd - and its merchandise. Young people stop by, too, especially nowadays with vinyl enjoying a renaissance, as do foreign collectors with an interest in early Korean rock and rare LPs.

More Info
- Dongmyo Station (subway line 6) exit 5. Walk straight, cross Cheonggyecheon Stream and swing a left at Seongdong Industrial High School. Just past the school, swing a right and then a left - the shop is on that alley. 
- Telephone: +82-2-2235-7130

서울의 오래된 가게들4
서울의 오래된 가게들5

Itaewon Foreign Bookstore

This Itaewon institution is what is claims to be – a bookstore selling foreign books. A lot of them. Itaewon Foreign Bookstore’s owner, Choi Ki-woong, got into the used book business in 1967, a time when foreign books and magazines were a rare and precious commodity. He scoured U.S. military dumps around the country for discarded books, which he sold to bookshops in Myeong-dong and Jongno. The leftovers, he sold himself. As it turned out, there was a thirsty market for used English books, and before long, droves of university students were seeking him out. Jewelry makers, clothes designers and other artisans came, too, searching for U.S. magazines and department store catalogues to research.

Choi set up shop in his current spot near Noksapyeong Station in the 1970s. The humble two story home with a veranda and two arched windows on the second floor has changed little, at least in the 20 years that this writer has lived in the country. The place is bursting with books, almost literally so, its collection so extensive that it now pours outside. Inside, narrow aisles in between crowded bookshelves several layers deep guide you through what could be called a museum of 20th century publishing. Book lovers will have found heaven. The place even smells like paper.

Being a used book store that gets its merchandise from wherever it can, Itaewon Foreign Bookstore boasts an inventory that is mind-boggling in its eclecticism, from old guidebooks to a U.S. Army manual for non-commissioned officers. Though the shelves are broadly divided according to genre, don’t expect the books to be arranged according to author or title. You’re going to have to explore, which is a lot of the charm. Connoisseurs of popular literature will be especially pleased with the large selection of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. On a recent excursion, this writer picked up a copy Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and an anthology of short stories by Philip K. Dick.

More Info
- Noksapyeong Station (subway line 6) exit 2. Just cross the street and start walking in the direction of the Third Namsan Tunnel. You can't miss it.
- Telephone: +82-2-793-8249

서울의 오래된 가게들6
서울의 오래된 가게들7

Taegeukdang

Old bakeries are hot, the result of the nostalgia-fueled retro fad sweeping the country. And in Seoul, you don’t get much older than Taegeukdang, the city’s longest operating bakery. Founded in 1946 in Myeong-dong but in its present location in Jangchung-dong since 1973, Taegeukdang has been serving some of Seoul’s best baked goods and ice cream for over seven decades.

From the outside, the white concrete building, a tribute to the ugly chic of the 1970s, isn’t much to look at. Step inside, though, and it’s a different story. A 2016 renovation produced a space that tastefully pays tribute to the bakery’s heritage, preserving pieces of history such as the period chandeliers, old signs and slogans and even a cash register from 1973, Korea’s first. Other pieces of nostalgia have been retrofitted in, including a tile-walled cafe space in what used to be a kitchen. The retro fonts by design house Sandoll Communication are works of art. This is how you do branding, folks.

Like many of Korea’s historical bakeries, Taegeukdang’s offerings reflect the culinary tastes of the mid-20th century, when Koreans favored Japanese or Japanese-inspired breads and cakes. Accordingly, its big sellers include buns filled with sweetened red bean, or danpatppang; rolls filled with salad, or yachae saradappang; rice and flour crackers, or jeonbyeong; and castella rolls filled with apple jam, or rorukeik. What the place is best known for, however, is its ice cream sandwiches made with rice wafers, or monaka. These come in two varieties, one plain and the other made with glutinous rice cake.

More Info
- Dongguk Univ. Station (subway line 3) exit 2
- Telephone: +82-2-2235-7130

서울의 오래된 가게들 (을지면옥 추가)
서울의 오래된 가게들8

Eulji Dabang and Eulji Myeonok

Nowadays, you can’t walk 500 meters in any direction without passing a cafe offering a full range of brewed coffees and espressos. In the days before Starbucks and trendy espresso bars, however, there was the dabang. These small coffee houses, which first appeared during the colonial era but flowered in the decades after the Korean War, served not only as cafes, but also as social clubs, spaces where friends, colleagues and lovers could gather to converse, listen to music or simply enjoy a cup of coffee, albeit not a very good one.

Since the 1990s, dabang have largely given way to coffee shop chains and independent cafes serving high quality coffee. In some older parts of Seoul, however, you can still find the odd dabang or two hidden amid the narrow alleys and gritty facades. One such holdoout is Eulji Dabang in the industrial Eulji-ro neighborhood. With its dark interior, fake leather sofas, linoleum tables and older male clientèle in fedoras and flat caps, the place looks like a 1970s film set. Its been around for 50 years, and one imagines most of its regular customers have been coming here for as long. Faux retro it’s not. This is the real deal. For an immersive experience, order the ssanghwacha, a medicine tea served dabang style with an unbroken egg yoke floating in it. You could also order the dabang coffee, a cup of instant coffee served with scoops of cream and sugar.

If you’re hungry before or after your visit, try Eulji Myeonok, the entrance to which is at the far end of a passageway that runs right below Eulji Dabang. This foodie favorite has been serving North Korean-style chilled noodles, or naengmyeon, since 1985, when it was opened by the daughter of the proprietor of another renowned naenymyeon joint. The environment is very old school - white walls and tile, and the passageway to the entrance is lined by old photos of North Korea. If you order the naemyeon in broth, or mul naengmyeon, be sure to add a dash of powdered red pepper.

More Info
- Euljiro 3-ga Station (subway lines 2, 3) exit 5
- Telephone: +82-2-2272-1886

서울의 오래된 가게들
서울의 오래된 가게들
서울의 오래된 가게들12

Yeonnam Seo Sikdang

Smoke fills the room, the air heavy with the scent of cooked meat. In groups of threes and fours, customers stand around old oil drums, chatting and drinking as they cook their meat on metal grills atop briquette fires. A handwritten sign on the wall reveals a menu beautiful in its brevity: “Beef galbi: KRW 15,000 for 150 grams.”

Located in a hilltop alley near Sinchon Rotary, Yeonnam Seo Sikdang is seemingly ripped from the pages of a 1980s guide to Korean culture. In the hardscrabble years of Korea’s post-war industrialization, restaurant cum pubs such as this, where diners stood grilling meat atop oil drums converted into barbecue pits, were a favorite haunt of laborers who wanted food and libation after a hard day’s work but had little time to sit down and enjoy them. In the nostalgia drenched present, these places having been making a comeback.

Yeonnam Seo Sikdang, however, is the genuine article. The father of Lee Dae-hyeon, the current owner, opened the place in 1953, just after the Korean War. Seoul was a mess – the city had changed hands no less than four times during three years of fighting – and getting your hands on a table was nigh impossible. Instead, the family purchased some disused U.S. Army oil drums and placed them in the courtyard of the family home. The setup proved popular, especially with the thirsty but time-pressed woodworkers, metalworkers and other laborers who lived and worked in Sinchon back then. Initially more of a pub, with the galbi more of an afterthought, the restaurant began to focus more on meat from the 1970s, when Koreans began earning more and growing car ownership inspired more conservative drinking habits.

Yeonnam Seo Sikdang serves Korean ribs with U.S. hanging tender, all seasoned the morning of sale. The hot briquette fire cooks your meat quickly, keeping the juices locked in. The meat comes with green peppers, garlic and dipping sauce. That’s it. Don’t bother asking for kimchi or rice – you’ve got to bring your own.

More Info
- Sinchon Station (subway line 2) exit 7. Cross the street at the crosswalk just in front of Nogosan Children's Park and walk up the hill. The restaurant is on your right.
- Telephone: +82-2-716-2510
Tags

#Shopping #Taegeukdang #Itaewon Foreign Bookstore #Records #Seoul #Records #Itaewon #Dol Record #Dol Record #Music #Itaewon Foreign Bookstore #Cafe #Eulji Myeonok #Bookstore #Old Seoul #Music #Restaurant #Yeonnam Seo Sikdang #Eulji Dabang #Food #Sinchon #Bookstore

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최소 3일 전까지 가능합니다.
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  • 최소 출발 인원은 3인부터 입니다. 관광일 2일 전 17시까지 누적예약인원이 3인 미만일 경우 예약은 자동 취소되며, 출발 및 취소 여부는 문자와 메일로 안내드립니다.
  • 다음달 예약은 전달 15일 이후부터 가능합니다.
  • 주말 및 공휴일, 봄 가을 성수기에는 예약이 조기 마감될 수 있습니다.
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 보호자가 동반하지 않는 만 14세 미만의 하동 관광객의 경우 현장에서 취소됩니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최대 6개월 전부터 최소 5일 전 까지 신청 가능합니다.
  • 희망하시는 날짜 및 코스에 활동가능한 해설사가 없는 경우 예약은 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 특히 주말 및 공휴일, 봄(4~5월) 가을(9~11월) 성수기에는 예약이 조기마감 되오니 이 점 유의하여 주시기 바랍니다.
  • 예약확인을 위해 도보관광 사무국(02-6925-0777)에서 확인 연락이 진행됩니다.
    (최소 5일~한달 전)3회 이상 전화통화가 이뤄지지 않을 시 예약이 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 경복궁, 창덕궁, 창경궁, 덕수궁 35인 이상 관람 시, 해당 궁궐 사이트에서 15일 전 단체 입장신청이 필요합니다. (2014.1.1.부터 시행)
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 보호자가 동반하지 않는 만 14세 미만의 하동 관광객의 경우 현장에서 취소됩니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최소 1주일 전까지 가능합니다.
  • 덕수궁의 경우 복지카드를 지참한 관광객에 한하여 무료입장이 가능합니다.
    ※ 중증(1~3급) 동반인 포함 2명 무료※ 경증(4~6급) 장애인 본인 1인만 무료
  • 보호자 또는 보조자가 동반하지 않을 경우 이용이 불가능 합니다.※ 별도의 보조자가 없는 경우 사무국으로 문의 바랍니다. (02-6925-0777)
  • 희망하시는 날짜 및 코스에 활동가능한 해설사가 없는 경우 예약은 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 예약확인을 위해 도보관광 사무국(02-6925-0777)에서 확인 연락이 진행됩니다.(최소 5일~한달 전)3회 이상 전화통화가 이뤄지지 않을 시 예약이 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최소 1주일 전까지 가능합니다.
  • 덕수궁의 경우 복지카드를 지참한 관광객에 한하여 무료입장이 가능합니다.
    ※ 중증(1~3급) 동반인 포함 2명 무료
    ※ 경증(4~6급) 장애인 본인 1인만 무료
  • 본 프로그램은 수화해설 중심으로 진행되며, 수화가 불가능한 경우 이용이 불가합니다.
  • 희망하시는 날짜 및 코스에 활동가능한 해설사가 없는 경우 예약은 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 예약확인을 위해 도보관광 사무국(02-6925-0777)에서 확인 연락이 진행됩니다.
    (최소 5일~한달 전)3회 이상 전화통화가 이뤄지지 않을 시 예약이 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최소 1주일 전까지 가능합니다.
  • 본 코스는 보행약자(거동이 불편한 고령자, 장애인, 유모차 이용자 등)를 위한 코스입니다.
  • 보호자를 동반하지 않을 시 이용이 불가능 합니다.※ 보행약자 1명당 보호자 최소 1인 이상 동반
    ※ 전동보장구(전동휠체어, 전동스쿠터 등) 사용자의 경우 보호자 1인당 보행약자 최대 4인까지 동반 가능
    희망하시는 날짜 및 코스에 활동가능한 해설사가 없는 경우 예약은 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 예약확인을 위해 도보관광 사무국(02-6925-0777)에서 확인 연락이 진행됩니다.(최소 5일~한달 전)3회 이상 전화통화가 이뤄지지 않을 시 예약이 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

Read before Reservation

  • Reservation shall be made at least 3 days before the tour day.
  • Reservation for the next month is available after 15th of the previous month.
  • Reservation may be closed early during weekend, holiday, and peak season in spring and fall.
  • Seoul Guided Walking Tour Office and Seoul culture and tourism guide are not liable for the safety accidents during the Seoul Guided Walking Tour.
  • Reservation for unaccompanied tourist under 14 will be canceled on site.
  • All reservations are canceled when Seoul Guided Walking Tour is unavailable due to Particulate Matter Reduction Measure or other weather conditions (heat wave, typhoon, heavy rain). (As of the date before the tour day)

Read before Reservation

  • Reservation shall be made at least 1 week before the tour day.
  • The course is for tourists with mobility problems (Senior, people with disability, stroller user).
  • You may not use the course without an assistant (or companion)
    ※ At least one assistant shall accompany a tourist with mobility problem
    ※ In case of electric assisting device users (electric wheelchair, electric scooter users), one assistant may accompany up to 4 tourists with mobility problem
  • Reservation may be canceled when a guide is unavailable on the desired date and course.
  • Seoul Guided Walking Tour Office (02-6925-0777) will contact you to confirm reservation.
    (At least 5 days~1 month before tour day) Reservation may be canceled when Seoul Guided Walking Tour Office cannot reach you for more than 3 times.
  • Seoul Guided Walking Tour Office and Seoul culture and tourism guide are not liable for the safety accidents during the Seoul Guided Walking Tour.
  • All reservations are canceled when Seoul Guided Walking Tour is unavailable due to Particulate Matter Reduction Measure or other weather conditions (heat wave, typhoon, heavy rain). (As of the date before the tour day)

予約前の案内事項

  • 予約は観光日を基準として少なくとも3日前まで可能です。
  • 翌月の予約は、前月の15日から可能です。
  • 週末及び祝日、春秋シーズンには予約が早めに締め切られる場合があります。
  • 解説を進行する時に発生する安全事故に対し、徒歩観光事務局と
    ソウル文化観光解説士は責任を負いません。
  • 保護者を伴わない万14歳未満の児童観光客の場合、現場でキャンセルされます。
  • 微細ホコリの非常低減措置発令及びその他の気象悪化(猛暑、台風、暴雨など)によって徒歩観光の運営が困難な場合、すべての予約は一括キャンセルされます。
    観光日前日基準)

予約前の案内事項

  • 予約は観光日を基準として少なくとも1週間前まで可能です。
  • 本コースは、移動弱者(移動が不自由な高齢者、障害者、ベビーカー利用者など)のためのコースです。
  • 補助人(或いは同行人)を伴わない場合は利用できません。
      ※歩行弱者1人当たり少なくとも1人以上の補助人を伴う
      ※電動補助具(電動車椅子、電動スクーターなど)使用者の場合、補助人1当たり歩行弱者最大4人まで同伴可能
  • ご希望の日付及びコースに活動可能な解説士がいない場合、予約はキャンセルされることがあります。
  • 予約を確認するため、徒歩観光事務局(02-6925-0777)で確認のための連絡が行われます。
    (少なくとも5日~1ヶ月前)3回以上電話が通じない場合、予約が取り消されることがあります。
  • 解説を進行する時に発生する安全事故に対し、徒歩観光事務局とソウル文化観光解説士は
    責任を負いません。
  • 微細ホコリの非常低減措置発令及びその他の気象悪化(猛暑、台風、暴雨など)によって
      徒歩観光の運営が困難な場合、すべての予約は一括キャンセルされます。
     (観光日前日基準)

预约前说明事项

  • 观光日基准最少3日前方可进行预约。
  • 下个月的预约可从前月15日开始。
  • 周末及公休日、春秋旺季的预约可早期结束。
  • 进行解说时,对于有可能发生的安全事故,徒步观光事务局和首尔文化观光
    解说员概不负责。
  • 未伴随保护者的未满14岁儿童游客,会在现场取消观光。
  • 因发布微尘紧急低减措施及其他气象恶化(暴热、台风、暴雨等),无法运营 徒步观光时,所有预约会批量取消。
    (观光前日基准)

预约前说明事项

  • 观光日基准最少1日前方可进行预约。
  • 本线路是为了行动不便者(行动不便的高龄者、残疾人、婴儿车利用者等)的路线。
  • 无辅助人员(或同行人)伴随时,不可利用。
    ※ 步行不便者1名至少需要1名以上的辅助人员陪同。
    ※ 电动辅助器具(电动轮椅、电动独轮车等)使用者时,每一位辅助人员最多可陪同 4名步行不便者。
  • 希望观光的日期及线路上无解说员时,预约有可能被取消。
  • 为了确认预约,徒步观光事务局(02-6925-0777)会致电进行确认。
    (最少5日~一个月前) 3次以上无法连接时,预约将被取消。
  • 进行解说时,对于有可能发生的安全事故,徒步观光事务局和首尔文化观光解说员概不负责。
  • 因发布微尘紧急低减措施及其他气象恶化(暴热、台风、暴雨等),无法运营 徒步观光时,所有预约会批量取消。
    (观光前日基准)

預約前說明事項

  • 觀光日基準最少3日前方可進行預約。
  • 下個月的預約可從前月15日開始。
  • 周末及公休日、春秋旺季的預約可早期結束。
  • 希望观光的日期及线路上无解说员时,预约有可能被取消。
  • 進行解說時,對於有可能發生的安全事故,徒步觀光事務局和首爾文化觀光解說員概不負責。
  • 未伴隨保護者的未滿14歲兒童遊客,會在現場取消觀光。
  • 因發布微塵緊急低減措施及其他氣象惡化(暴熱、臺風、暴雨等),無法運營 徒步觀光時,所有預約會批量取消。(觀光前日基準)

預約前說明事項

  • 觀光日基準最少1日前方可進行預約。
  • 本線路是為了行動不便者(行動不便的高齡者、殘疾人、嬰兒車利用者等)的路線。
  • 無輔助人員(或同行人)伴隨時,不可利用。
    ※ 步行不便者1名至少需要1名以上的輔助人員陪同。
    ※ 電動輔助器具(電動輪椅、電動獨輪車等)使用者時,每壹位輔助人員最多可陪同 4名步行不便者。
  • 希望觀光的日期及線路上無解說員時,預約有可能被取消。
  • 為了確認預約,徒步觀光事務局(02-6925-0777)會致電進行確認。
    (最少5日~壹個月前) 3次以上無法連接時,預約將被取消。
  • 進行解說時,對於有可能發生的安全事故,徒步觀光事務局和首爾文化觀光 解說員概不負責。
  • 因發布微塵緊急低減措施及其他氣象惡化(暴熱、臺風、暴雨等),無法運營 徒步觀光時,所有預約會批量取消。 (觀光前日基準)