Where Is Your Hideout?
See & Do Tours
Whether you’re feeling happy or sad, miserable or ecstatic, do you have a place where you can go to find solace in a cup of coffee and a quiet nod from the owner?
/ agit / a frequented place; a favorite haunt; a hideout
The term “agit” originated from Russia. Derived from the word “agitpunkt”, it originally meant “to instigate”. Once used to describe a center for political propaganda, it has become a common Korean term used to describe a place which one frequents, a special gathering spot where one can go to hang out with close friends – basically a hideout.
After a particularly tough work day, people tend to head towards places like pojangmacha (street food tent), exclusive bars hidden away in an alleyway, or cozy little restaurants to blow off some steam.
Depending on the individual, their version of a hideout could be a restaurant, a bar, a café, or even a bookstore. It doesn’t even have to be a famous place as long as it’s somewhere they can feel like they belong there. Let us share some of those special secret hideouts.
Q. What kind of place is your hideout?
Q. When and how often do you visit your hideout?
Q. What’s the first thing you do when you enter your hideout?
I came here in 2014 to work on my graduate degree. At first, I missed the food back home so much that I’d look around everywhere for Malaysian or Southeast Asian food. To be honest, Southeast Asian food in Korea is a bit on the bland side. It’s been adjusted to suit the Koreans' palate. I came upon a restaurant that served traditional Southeast Asian food by coincidence. The “Tomyam soup noodles” served in Asian Cuisine is much thicker and much stronger than what you can normally find in Seoul. It’s also very similar to the dish I used to eat at home. I tend to go to Asian Cuisine at least twice a month. Their “Tomyam soup noodles” is the best way to comfort myself whenever I’m feeling homesick.
Asian Cuisine 45 Dongmak-ro 7-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
It’s already been 9 years since I first came to Korea. My hideout would have to be the hanok café, Caffé Da Oh. I don’t remember exactly when, but I came upon it while wandering the alleyways of Daehak-ro. I went there often when I was studying in Sungkyunkwan University and still continue to visit whenever I’m in the area.
Because it’s a hanok café, the atmosphere is pretty nice there. Working as a Visit Seoul’s editor, I go to so many different places in Seoul, but even now, Caffé Da Oh continues to hold a very special place in my heart. I always order the pour over coffee recommended by the owner. It can get overwhelming because there's so many beans to choose from. But don't worry as the owner will pick out a type of bean based on your preference. If you don't know what to get, just leave it up to the owner to make a great recommendation.
Caffé Da Oh Hyehwa Station, Exit 1
Like its name, the walls of Mmm Records are full of old posters of song lyrics. They have everything from LP records to CDs to tapes and you can pick out and listen to whatever song you like! It's never crowded there and I think that might be due to this place being located at a top of a hill.
When I was going through some tough times, a friend of mine introduced me to this place. We went straight for the rooftop where we could look down on the city of Seoul. The sight was so breathtaking that it even managed to capture the heart of a long-time resident like me. Sipping a cup of coffee on the roof manages to make me happy every single time. Because I’m always busy with work on the weekdays, I can’t visit much anymore but I still stop by whenever I get the chance.
If I had to give a tip, I’d recommend going there after midnight. Mmm Records is still open after midnight! It's the perfect place to sit down and take in the late night atmosphere. But be careful when you come down as it can get pretty scary in the dark.
Mmm Records 145 Usadan-ro 10-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
My hideout would be Oriental Roast Chicken, a family restaurant that's been running for 20 years. It’s only 5 minutes away from Hannam Station. Recently, there's always a line around the place after it starred on a famous TV show. Hallyu star Jang Keun-suk also recommended this restaurant, making it very popular among overseas fan too.
But the biggest factor that continues to attract many is most definitely its taste!
Unlike chicken fried in vats of oil, they stuff their chicken with medicinal ingredients and roast them over firewood. The taste is phenomenal. Their homemade kimchi goes perfectly well with the chicken here. As soon as you get yourself a seat and place your order, take a sip of the beer and you’ll feel as if you’re in heaven. When I went there a lot, I’d go at least once every week. These days, I usually order it to go when I’m visiting friends or go every 2-3 weeks whenever I start craving their chicken.
Oriental Roast Chicken 38 Daesagwan-ro 34-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
My hideout is Kimbap Heaven. I went there for the first time when I was traveling Seoul back in 2014. It felt as if I was eating Korean food at someone’s house and that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's also a great place to watch people pass by as you eat.
Because of how I go there so often, I don’t really have a lot of pictures of that place. I always stop by Kimbap Heaven whenever I’m in Seoul. If I had to state why I always go to the one in Anguk, I’d have to say it’s because of the location. There’s Gyeongbokgung Palace and Samcheong-dong nearby and that place is easily accessible by public transportation. I go to Seoul once or twice every year. I must've gone over 12 times now. The menu I always order there are rabokki (Stir-fried Rice Cake with Ramen Noodles), kimbap, and Kimchi-jjigae(Kimchi Stew).
Kimbap Heaven (Anguk) 65 Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul