Long story short, I ended up in Mangwon-dong meaning only to stop by one shop (The Siho Drawing and Paper), and I ended up spending a lot of money on food and postcards at other places. I mean, the sun was shining, the weather was nice… how could I not? Here’s how I spent my day:
I emerged from Mangwon subway station exit 2 and I had some time to kill before the shop opened, so I walked through the Mangwon-sijang (traditional market). Around 11:20 I spotted this line:
I got in line without even knowing what it is, as you do. Turns it’s is a super popular tempura-over-rice place and people were in line to sign up for the wait list, which came out at 11:30. They open at 12 PM and if you’re not there on the dot when your name is called, your reservation is cancelled. So I waited for 10 minutes, put my name down, and then went down the street to check out this cafe. Zapangi means vending machine in Korean, and that pink “vending machine” is the front door! I didn’t realize that til after I scoped out either side of the building and even contemplated hopping through the window
And then back to Ichizen.
The restaurant seats 14 and I think I was number 15, but the couple before me wasn’t there when roll was called so I got in right away at 12! I got the special, which is eel, shrimp, octopus, lotus root, eggplant, pumpkin, pepper, egg and laver tempura and it was yummy! All the more tasty because I got in with minimal wait. (Google map here, check their instagram for most current hours of operation.) Afterwards (with a much lighter wallet post-stationary haul) I walked by and got asked by one of the employees to take their group picture. Turned out today was their two year anniversary since they opened — that’s what that big 2 balloon is in the picture.
Then headed towards my destination, which was The Siho’s Drawing and Paper shop. But on the way up to the store on the third floor, I got waylaid at the second floor at Find Stuff, a lovely store with lifestyle goods.
The lady was really nice, the things were pretty, and somehow I walked out with some Korean incense. (I’ve never used incense before.) Yeah, like I said the lady was really really nice (read: a good businesswoman) and… the sun was shining… and I haven’t set my May budget yet… Also she gave me samples of the other scents in that incense range, so I’m happy.
And finally! My original destination. I happened to see an interview with this illustrator’s drawings in a magazine a few weeks ago, started following him on instagram, and have been waiting to stop by his shop. His drawings are just so heartwarming, and I love pen and ink drawings and that old school style. The shop has very limited hours, so check his latest insta post before you go. The illustrator was also very nice and gave some small souvenirs since he had just opened up his offline shop. (Siho online store here)
EDIT: PLEASE NOTE as of JULY 2019 The Siho’s offline store was closed!
And that is how this happened:
Mangwon-dong, you are awesome. I’ll be back!
Another post on stationery in Seoul here