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THIS IS MY CITY | Alicia's Seoul

Alicia Chon is the mind behind The Raw Book, a website that delivers a journal of unique conversations that Alicia herself curates. Residing in Philadelphia, Alicia has chosen to share with us her experience of Seoul. A beautiful city, steeped in history and also contemporary ways of live, there is much to learn about this city, and thanks to Instagram (you can follow Alicia herself on @aliciajchon) we can catch a glimpse of it! Here is Seoul, by Alicia.

Best thing about your city?
Bingsoo, which is “shaved ice dessert”. My dad introduced me to a cafe that serves sujeonggwa bingsoo, which is flavored with persimmons, cinnamon, and ginger. It’s as good as it sounds.

Worst thing about your city?
The subways stop running around midnight.

What is the best place for morning coffee?
I’ve never drank coffee in my life, but this past winter, my friend Charles introduced me to a great tea house called Osulloc. It’s located in Myeongdong, which many refer to as the Times Square of Seoul. There are tea sommeliers and you can watch fresh tea leaves being roasted in a large cauldron.

A meal with friends?
There’s always something delicious to eat in Gangnam.

A romantic rendezvous?
You’re asking the wrong girl. I only went on one date in Seoul and wouldn’t categorize it “romantic” by any means.

A late night drink?
Bunker or Help Me in Apgujeong Rodeo.

An even later dance?
Ellui, Octagon, Answer, or Monkey Beach 2.

Where is the best secret spot?
It wouldn’t be a secret if I shared.

And where is the everybody-knows-about-this-but-it’s-still-good spot?
The Han River for running.

What’s one new thing you’ve discovered about your city?
I was at the Leeum Museum to check out the Hiroshi Sugimoto exhibit when I stumbled across the Comme des Garçons store in Itaewon. It is seven floors, contains five enclosed sloping tunnels, and carried everything from the PLAY collection to the CDGxBeatles collaboration pieces. The mirrors and white walls were also really nice.

What is one of your favorite locations in the city?
I enjoy the more historical and cultural aspects of Korea, so I always make an effort to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace. After I took a Modern Korean History course at Yonsei University in Seoul this past summer, I became fascinated by the architecture of each hall and quarter within the royal palace.

Where is the best shopping?
My mom and I always dedicate a day to Doota in Dongdaemun Market. They carry Korean designers rather than typical chains. There, I picked up one of my favorite navy jackets from General Idea, which is designed by Bumsuk Choi. It happens to be a men’s coat, but I haven’t met anyone in the states with the same piece.

What is something that you can only do in your city?
At the gym, you can always find grandmas walking on treadmills while watching Korean dramas.

How would you describe your city to someone who has never been there before?
Seoul juxtaposes both modern and traditional aspects beautifully.

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