In Seoul, we stayed at an airbnb apartment in the Insadong area. The Insadong district is a huge tourist spot due to the traditional arts and crafts you can find here. You’ll find things such as traditional clothing (hanbok), traditional paper (hanji), teas, folk crafts, and pottery. If you love culture and art, then this is the place for you. While walking down the main street, we came across Mok Hyang, which is a traditional dessert house. It’s located just behind the Ssamziegil complex.
Mok Hyang prizes itself as Seoul’s only two-story traditional hanok house. The outside is definitely really cute with the wooden touches, but the inside is even more gorgeous! You must remove your shoes at the door and you will walk on wooden floors. The wooden tables are made from logs and are very low, hence you sit on the mats. There’s pottery as decor all over the area. Definitely a great place to have some tea and snacks and relax for a bit.
The downside about this spot is that each person must order one item, whether it’s a beverage or dessert. Hence, we got 5 different items to share. First, was the Fruit Patbingsu. Lots of red beans were piled atop the shaved ice. On top, there were bananas, watermelon, pineapple, and kiwi. Quite refreshing actually! It also had a piece of matcha sticky rice cake.
Green Tea Patbingsu
The second patbingsu was the Green Tea Patbingsu. The ice had green tea flavouring already in it. It had a pile of red beans again and a few pieces of match sticky rice cake. We found that the green tea flavour was lacking. It wasn’t as strong as we would’ve liked it, so it tasted more like just red bean patbingsu.
Sticky rice cake is very popular in Korea. It’s a traditional sweet that they eat during festivities. Here, we have Surichi Injeolmi. Essentially sticky rice cake with matcha powder all over. To be honest, I like the Japanese mochis more. I find that the Korean sticky rice cakes to be too chewy and not as soft. It feels very tough when you chew on it. As well, the powder is not very sweet. Your mouth is just filled with powder when you eat it. Not my cup of tea.
Next, we chose Seoyeojeungsik, which are steamed hemp. It reminded me of baked bread dough. The dough itself is not very flavourful. It has a crispy texture on the outside, but very chewy inside, like it had some sort of sticky rice cake mixed within it. You then dip it into the honey to add a sweet flavour to it. We really enjoyed this! Something we all haven’t had before!
Lastly, we had the Ginger Sweets, which are also known as Yugwa or Yumilgwa. They are traditional Korean confectionery and are a mixture of grain flour and honey. They are then deep fried and fried rice kernels are added on the outside. These were by far my favourite traditional Korean sweets. Super airy when you bite into it, but it still has a slight chew. A hint of ginger taste will linger in your mouth. We ended up buying some of these on the streets and shops in the Insadong area, but they definitely did not compare to the ones here. I highly recommend trying these!
At Mok Hyang, they also provide women with silky napkins to place on your laps if you’re wearing skirts, dresses, or shorts. Very courteous and respectful in here. Pricing is average – not the cheapest, but you can’t expect much since it is a tourist area. I believe their teas are also very popular and they do have a wide selections of them. Great place to relax and get a taste of the Korean traditional culture!
Address: 32 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 110-300