Korea is one of the most ethnically homogeneous countries in the world, but you'd never know that walking down the streets of Itaewon. Located smack-dab in the center of Seoul, Itaewon is home for the majority of expats that reside in Korea, making Itaewon a mini melting pot of cultures and religions from all over the world. The Seoul Central Mosque is also located in Itaewon along with a number of halal food stores, and large numbers of US military personnel can be seen here as the Yongsan Garrison that is stationed nearby. Due to the area’s diverse inhabitants, Itaewon has become one of the most cosmopolitan areas in Seoul boasting restaurants, shopping and nightlife that are equally diverse and cater to international tastes, attracting many other foreigners and tourists. It is safe to say that Itaewon is almost better known by foreigners and non-Korean residents than Koreans.
Itaewon is known as the place to go when you want to get your foreign food fix. Restaurants featuring cuisine from all over the world can be found here including Indian, Thai, Pakistani, Greek, German, French, Italian, Australian, English, American, and Mexican, cuisines which are not easily found in Korea. Itaewon is also famous for its nightlife. Among foreigners, it is often considered the most popular area of Seoul for bars and clubs other than Hongdae. A range of drinking establishments can be found here including pubs, wine bars, hip-hop clubs, salsa clubs, lounges and cafes.
Most stores in Korea offer clothing that fit Asian builds well but are unfortunately too small to fit those with “Western builds”. This leaves many of those with bigger and taller builds struggling to find clothing that fit. Fortunately many of the stores in Itaewon offer imported clothing in sizes that are difficult to find elsewhere in Korea. And if you still can’t find what you want, experienced tailors can create customized clothing. Itaewon also specializes in leather and fur goods, luggage and handbags, as well as jewelry and antique furniture. Trinkets and souvenirs can also be found here.
Itaewon boasts some 100 antique stores clustered together on a single street. Originally these stores only dealt with second-hand U.S. Army furniture, but nowadays the selections at the stores have expanded to include antique furniture from around the world.
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