Sinchon in Seodaemun-gu, Seoul is home to a number of top Korean universities such as Yonsei University, Sogang University and Ewha Womans University.
Welcoming students from across the country as well as foreign students, Sinchon's wide boulevards are lined with bustling shops and cute cafes that create the vibrant atmosphere of a college town.
One can frequently see cool street performances, young students busking with their guitars or rapping in the open air. Walking by them, what ultimately draws you in are the plentiful eateries and cafes filled with the warm smells of grilled barbecue, freshly ground coffee beans or baked goods.
Sinchon Daegu Samgyeopsal
In contrast to the young vibe of Sinchon's streets, this over four-decades-old restaurant has a unique and timeless mood, which attracts both alumni and senior students as well as first-years. There is only one dish on the menu, frozen pork belly, which is served with complimentary side dishes that include seasoned spring onions (pachae), radish salad (musaengchae), kimchi, garlic, ssamgjang, gochujang and cold bean sprout soup.
Although frozen pork belly has become a popular dish in recent years that is widely available, what makes it special at this place is what you eat after filling up on pork belly.
Once you finish your crispy brown frozen pork belly grilled on the aluminum foil-covered barbecue grill pan, the server comes over to make you kimchi fried rice. It may seem like they are bringing you a new dish, but it’s actually whatever is left of the side dishes on your table that are thrown into the pan.
After cutting the leftover pieces of cooked pork belly into small pieces and adding a dollop of savory kimchi from the kitchen along with a bowl of rice and some sesame oil, all the ingredients on the pan are cut with scissors so that you can taste them all in one spoonful once it's cooked. What looks ordinary, in fact, offers the satisfying flavor of a well-mixed fried rice.
Sinchon Daegu Samgyeopsal is open every day from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Originally a small pie shop with an eye-catching, mint-colored signboard near Yonsei University, Pie Hole has become one of the must-visit bakery cafes in Sinchon -- maybe even in all of Seoul.
Once you step into the pie store that has been newly renovated in a cozy yellow theme, the display case -- with dozens of mouth-watering, colorful pies made using seasonal ingredients, scones filled with cheese, as well as thick Levain Bakery-style cookies and egg tarts -- welcomes you.
After waiting in a long queue, what surprises you is another long list of drinks, including a variety of non-coffee drinks and teas. Customers can enjoy exclusive selections of tea such as Thai lime tea and Thai rose tea, which go well with the dark chocolate-based ganache chocolate pie and banana cheesecake.
For those who wish for a light and fresh taste even after eating a sweet dessert, the lemon meringue pie is worth a try, as the softness of the lightly toasted meringue on top of the pie makes a great combination with the sweet and tart lemon filling.
When you order cookies and scones for takeout, you will be given a small plastic container of jam or cream that you can eat on them as a spread.
Pie Hole is open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.