I am back again with another segment to the “Exploring Korean Neighbourhoods” series. Today, we will discuss one of the smaller neighbourhoods, Mangwon-dong. Located near Hongdae and the Han river, Mangwon-dong is a cozy area nestled in Mapo-gu. It is a working-class neighbourhood with a more residential, classic feel. In contrast to Seoul’s busy atmosphere and fast-paced modernization, Mangwon-dong is more relaxed, with a focus on local life. There are very few chain stores in this area. Instead, you can expect to find many small, independent local shops. There are hidden gems tucked away in each alleyway. These stores are very artsy and unique, further adding to Mangwon-dong’s retro vibe.
Mangwon-dong has a main street called Mangridangil, which is one of the most well-known parts of Mangwon-dong. You can find anything from cute stationary stores to a small, cozy cafe here. Walking the streets of Mangwon-dong, you will also see many bikers and bike shops. This is due to the area’s proximity to the Han river, a very popular bike spot in Seoul. Also, because of the small, winding structure of the neighbourhood, many locals bike their way to work. Along with bikers, you will find many stray cats on the streets. Locals like to put out cat food and water dishes on the streets for them, which adds to the homey, local feel of the neighbourhood.
Mangwon-dong is also famous for its local market, Mangwon market. Although smaller than some other markets in Seoul, such as Gwangjang market, Mangwon market offers a wide array of things, from fresh produce to marshmallow ice cream. Mangwon market is also popular among residents and locals as it carries cheap, high-quality produce and ingredients. Some of the most popular things at Mangwon market include dakgangjeong (Korean fried boneless chicken), tteok galbi (seasoned meat patties), and croquettes (savoury fried doughnuts). Another thing Mangwon-dong is famous for is Mangwondong Tiramisu. This tiramisu started as a local tiramisu shop that carried many unique flavours. However, the shop had to open more branches in Seoul due to its popularity. While they are most famous for their original tiramisu, they also have many other yummy flavours, such as matcha and mint choco. When in Mangwon-dong, though, definitely pay a visit to the original location.
Although I have only visited Mangwon-dong a few times, I have gathered some recommendations for places to visit. One of my favourite cafes in the neighbourhood is 79 Founyard. This cafe is known for its delicious croffles, a popular dessert in Korea. I love 79 Founyard’s aesthetic, with its blue exterior and wooden furniture. The cafe also has the cutest goose mascot. Although they are known for croffles, I highly recommend you try their cream cheese brownie. It is heavenly. Another place I suggest you visit is Your Goods, a lifestyle store located in an alleyway. This store has a cat theme and has the cutest stuff, from cat posters to cat mugs. If you are a cat-lover, this store is a must-visit. Lastly, if you are visiting Mangwon market, try some of the traditional Korean biscuits they sell. They look like big brown circles with sprinkles of seaweed on them. They are crunchy, with a perfect balance of sweet and salty– something you don’t want to miss.
I hope you enjoyed reading about one of Seoul’s more classical, local-focused neighbourhoods, Mangwon-dong. Although it isn’t as famous or popular as some of Seoul’s other neighbourhoods, it is a neighbourhood that is brimming with life and character. Definitely recommend you visit here!
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