Fabric for Your Inner Foodie

Fabric for Your Inner Foodie
Just some of the fabric on offer at the 한복 fabric shop

Yesterday, my wife, daughter, and I made the trek to 종로 (Jongno, Seoul’s central district) to buy some fabric to make 한복 (hanbok, traditional Korean attire); my wife is the crafty one, so the sewing will be her job.

The plan was to buy some fabric and then head to lunch in 인사동 (Insadong) for a bite to eat at a place where my wife had made reservations. We arrived a bit earlier than expected but were getting a bit hungry all the same. We wandered around the fabric stalls near 동대문 (Dongdaemun, famous for the fashion / textile industry) for a short while. The sheer volume of fabric for sale was frankly overwhelming. I suspect it may be necessary to have a tour guide in order to make sense of the helter-skelter. I was too overstimulated to get any photos.

After experiencing option overload and making our exit, we headed up the street to 광장시장 (Gwangjang Market), our stomachs in full-on grown mode by that point. We wandered around the market, looking at the 떡복이 and 만두—“No,” scolded my wife, “we have lunch reservations at 1:30.” It was only 12:15.

My daughter made a friend.

Love Brings Love

As we were on the way to a very particular fabric store in the market my wife had found on the internet somewhere, I spotted a sign that said “Pizza Pie,” on a vinyl-clad café. 

Growing up in NY and having been ridiculed for referring to pizza as pie anyplace outside of NY, I had to gave a gander. I brought my daughter over to the display to teach her what a pizza pie might be (you never know that you might find here in Seoul).

This is NEVER That

Upon closer inspection, it was clear that the pie in question was not pizza but was merely presented for takeout in a pizza box. The name of the café is Onion. With a name like Onion I expected something savory. The contents of the box were flaky, buttery, and sweet. Pastry!—a pie, but certainly not a pizza pie. And not a letdown ether.

We went in to order coffee and a slice. The coffee had the perfect acidity to balance the sweetness of the pastry. 잘 어울려! (What a great pairing!—learned that one yesterday). I was so impressed that I went to the barista after only the second sip; I didn’t know how else to express myself, so gesturing by kissing pinched fingers as an Italian chef does, I made clear how delicious everything  was. 

Message Received

As it turned out, the barista, though maybe himself not the boss, had at least enough authority to bring out some swag to press to hand as a show of thanks. I can’t wait to brew up the coffee he sent us out with. I would certainly visit Onion again if the opportunity presented itself, and I would wholeheartedly suggest you not miss a chance. 

They have a second location a bit neared 인사동 (Insadong), but with the dynamic nature of cafés here in Seoul, depending on when you head there, it may be closed, or it may have taken one the entire block—you just never can tell. I hope for the latter and that you get to try some Korean Pizza Pie  at Onion.

The Reservations

After a while of sifting through the different fabrics, it was finally time for lunch. We went to a place in 인사동 (Insadong) called 꽃밥에피다 (blooming steamed rice flower—yeah, translation is NOT my strong suit). 

Everything there was delicious and very clean. The concept is organic / vegan (if that’s your jam—we ordered fish) / hippie-dippie. Lack of truckloads of salt and sugar in the cooking makes the natural flavors of the fresh ingredients pop. Honestly, the place was kinda expensive, but they had yummy food. If nothing else, eating there may start a conversation around healthier, simpler, cleaner eating and cooking. 

I’m feeling a bit lazy about writing right now, and I’m sure you want to see some of the pics, so here they are (as the food arrived to our table by course).

And for Dessert?

Stuffed as we were, my daughter insisted on ice cream at a tea house called 지대방—it’s kinda our tradition to go there basically anytime we visit 인사동. Here is a pics from that. Ice cream was eaten, tea was drunk, and walls were graffitied. Enjoy—we did!