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#HHWT Travels: Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide To South Korea – Insadong, Seoul


Samia Shamim •  Aug 28, 2015


Follow our #HHWT Travels series as we cover the sights in Seoul and Muslim-friendly eateries with local Korean food! If you want to experience art, delicious food and traditional atmosphere amidst a bustling Seoul, there is no way for you to miss going to Insadong.
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Insadong has a long history of being the street lined with shops and galleries displaying and selling art, traditional handicraft shops, street market shops selling handmade Korean candy, street food, home decorations, and what not! The street is lined with trees on both sides and has creepers growing on many of the buildings along its alley ways. [caption id="attachment_1840" align="alignnone" width="830"]
Insadong street entrance surrounded by trees
Insadong street entrance surrounded by trees[/caption]
What you must not miss:
1. Visit the special weekend flea market every Saturday and Sunday. You’ll find artists displaying their paintings and other forms of art. There’s live music and other cultural performances, and the vibrant atmosphere is very popular with foreign tourists.
Insadong Alley Flea Market
triptokorea 2. Look out for gift shops which sell souvenirs from Korea! You’ll find replicas of dance masks, chopstick sets, silk hand bags, key rings and decorations of all kinds.
Music Box shop, Samjikhil
Korean handicrafts made from silk
3. For the ladies, you’ll love the numerous clothing shops where you can buy scarves with Hangul print for 10,000 won only! Such beautiful things all in one place, you will be marvelled without a doubt. Curious to see where are the major shopping areas in Seoul? Don't forget to check out our ultimate shopping guide in Korea! [caption id="attachment_1851" align="alignnone" width="960"]
Scarves with Hangul Inscriptions for 10 000 Won Only
Scarves with Hangul Inscriptions for 10,000 Won[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1850" align="alignnone" width="960"]
Scarf shop
Scarf Shop[/caption] Directions: Take the tube to Anguk Station, Seoul Subway line 3, Exit #6 #HHWT Shopping Tip: Ladies, you will be pleasantly surprised by the beautiful collection of scarves some of the shops have here in Insadong. There are also many stores selling clothes at very reasonable prices specially for young ladies, you can buy very pretty shirts starting from 5,900 Won! [caption id="attachment_1855" align="alignnone" width="960"]
Ladies' Wear
Ladies' Wear[/caption] 4. As you walk along Insadong, you will notice there is a wooden building with green creepers growing on it. [caption id="attachment_1890" align="alignnone" width="800"]
Ssamziegil insadong
Entrance to Ssamziegil[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1891" align="alignnone" width="1200"]
Interior of Samjikhil, a spiral balcony basically lined with shops[/caption] Called Ssamziegil (쌈지길), this wooden building is actually designed in such a way, that as you walk into it, the floor spirals its way up until the roof. It is lined with exclusive shops, and the roof top has a café called Ttong Café (똥 카페) which literally means Poop Café. [caption id="attachment_1852" align="alignnone" width="960"]
Ttong Bang served with Coffee in a cute toilet seat
Ttong Bang served with Coffee in a cute toilet seat[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1856" align="alignnone" width="960"]
Ancient Toilet Pots now set as decoaration at the Ttong Cafe
Ancient toilet pots now set as decoaration at the Ttong Cafe[/caption] Although the name is not very appetizing, I guarantee you this café will take you by a pleasant surprise. There is a special chocolate filled bread called Ttong Bang or Poop bread, I know it sounds really weird, but after I had one; I just had to get two more…it was mind-blowingly delicious!!!! [caption id="attachment_1865" align="alignnone" width="576"]
Elaborate packaging with illustrations of Ttong
Elaborate packaging with illustrations of Ttong[/caption]
Muslim-friendly food in the area:
1. Oh Se Gae Hyang Vegetarian Restaurant, Insadong (오세계향)
Insadong with its traditional atmosphere is a hub of traditional Korean restaurants. When you see a line of Hanok styled buildings, you’ll know that here are some of the gourmet Korean restaurants in town, places even the locals come particularly for the delicious menu. [caption id="attachment_1858" align="alignnone" width="576"]
Insadong lane 12 leading to O Segae Hyang Restaurant
Insadong lane 12 leading to O Segae Hyang Restaurant[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1863" align="alignnone" width="576"]
Alley way towards the restaurant
Alley way towards the restaurant[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1857" align="alignnone" width="576"]
Entrance to Oh Se Gae Hyang
Entrance to Oh Se Gae Hyang[/caption] Among them, Oh Se Gae Hyang which literally means “Aromas of the Five Worlds” is a vegetarian restaurant, well known for its delicacies. [caption id="attachment_1859" align="alignnone" width="576"]
Oh Se Gae Hyang Menu
Oh Se Gae Hyang Menu[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1860" align="alignnone" width="576"]
Oh Se Gae Hyang Menu
Oh Se Gae Hyang Menu[/caption] With a budget of 15,000 Won per person, you can enjoy a nice meal here and try out some of the dishes which replace meat with soya protein and are very delicious. For example Tang Su Yuk, which is a dish made with meat is replaced with mushrooms, capsicum and capsicum. [caption id="attachment_1861" align="alignnone" width="960"]
Vegetarian Tang Su Yuk Mushrooms and Cashew nuts
Vegetarian Tang Su Yuk Mushrooms and Cashew nuts[/caption] Another must try is the fried Mandoo or Korean dumpling, which has a soya filling. [caption id="attachment_1862" align="alignnone" width="960"]
Fried Mandoo or Korean Dumplings
Fried Mandoo or Korean Dumplings[/caption] The mushroom noodle is soup is just 7,500 Won but it’s a huge serving and can be easily shared by two people, and of course it is super delicious! There is also the spicy noodle soup, which has the red Korean chili paste in it. So if you prefer something spicy you can give it a try! Address: 14-5 Insadong 12-gil (Turn off Insadong Road into Insadong 12-gil (lane), walk to the end, and you’ll see the restaurant.) Opening Hours: Mon - Sun, 11:30 - 21:00 (closed 15:30-16:30 on weekdays) Telephone: 02-735-7171 Website: go5.co.kr
2. Moon Bird only thinks of the Moon Traditional Tea House (달새달만생각한다)
Entrance to Tea House
Teahouse Shopfront
The Korean name of this little tea house, “Tal Se Talman Sengak Handa” translates to this strange and beautiful name, and it is located just beside Oh Se Gae Hyang. Once you get inside this strange little tea house, it will feel like you have stepped into a time machine, taking you back 50 years. Decorated with ancient earthen tea cups, wooden kitchen ware, hanging decorations, this place will leave you awed. The walls are marked with hundreds of messages from customers from all over the world, and there are rows of messages written in little tissue papers.
rice cake tteok
When our our of Omija Tea came, we realized why!! It was absolutely heavenly!! And the complimentary Tteok or rice cake just melted in the mouth, so fresh!! Omija is a particular kind of red berry. A refreshing iced cup of Omija tea will revitalize you on a warm sunny day! So if you happen to visit the area, this place is a must go!! P.S. Want to visit more teahouses in Insadong? Don't miss Shin Old Teahouse (#4 on the list) in our Top 5 Cafes in Korea article! Opening Hours: 10 AM- 11PM Special Price for All drinks is 5,500 Won until 3PM on week days Location: This tea house is located just next to the Oh Se Gae Hyang Restaurant.
3. Bon Jjuk Korean Porridge Restaurant (본죽)
[caption id="attachment_1870" align="alignnone" width="576"]
Bon Jjuk located on the second floor, Insadong
Bon Jjuk located on the second floor, Insadong[/caption] Just as you enter Insadong from Anguk station, you will see Bon Jjuk on the right side of the street within a minute. Located on the second floor, this Korean porridge shop is actually a branch of the very popular Jjuk brand shop. Which means, you will find Bon Jjuk everywhere in Korea. It is so popular it even has this branch in Insadong. Jjuk, which is Korean porridge, is basically made from rice.
[caption id="attachment_1871" align="alignnone" width="576"]
Menu for Bonjuk
Menu for Bon Jjuk[/caption] You can choose the porridges with vegetables (야재죽) , seafood (해물죽), shrimp(새우) or tuna (참지죽). Each serving costs something between 7,000 to 9,000 Won and is large enough to share between two people. (Do note that there are certain porridges with beef or chicken.) Address:  155-9, Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South KoreaOpening Hours: Mon - Sun, 10am - 9pm
*The restaurants listed in this post are not halal-certified. We've marked out those that are vegetarian and/or provide seafood options. Our writer has shared that it is difficult to find halal certified food/restaurants at touristy spots in Seoul as most are located in Itaewon. We advise our readers to visit these eateries at your own discretion.