Shinsegae (Gangnam) – Seoul

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Brick Pop

A trip to Seoul isn’t complete without checking out the famous Gangnam district. The Gangnam district is known to be one of the wealthiest districts in South Korea with high living standards. We took a taxi there and immediately found the area to have many high rises and business looking buildings. We decided to get dropped off at Shinsegae Department store. A trip to Shinsegae means going to the basement level to the food department! We came across Brick Pop, which features bright and vibrant popsicles using real fruit.

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K got this one which had a slice of peach and some passionfruit flavour. Very refreshing and I love the concept of how they place an actual piece of fruit inside! They come to around 3,900 won, or around CAD$4.

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I found these pastry looking items in a different stall and was curious to try them out. They remind me of the Japanese pastries.

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The outer shell is slightly crispy and the inside is filled with red bean paste. Not too sweet, and the dough itself is a little crumbly. Average, and nothing too special.

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Last but not least, we found these croquettes at Menagerie. They have different fillings, but we chose the Meat Croquette. The outside is deep fried and quite oily, but extremely crispy. To my surprise, the meat reminded me of the meat fillings inside Chinese buns! Not exactly what I had expected, but it was surprisingly really good.

Overall, you should definitely check out the food level at a Shinsegae in Seoul. You don’t neccessarily have to go to the one in Gangnam, since they are pretty much the same. Gangnam’s underground shopping was pretty good though. If you’re looking for cheap clothes, I would suggest checking it out. Other than that, we didn’t really know where else to go in Gangnam. We were told by a local friend that it’s much easier to get around by car in the Gangnam area and that there are plenty of cute cafes in the area.

Address: 176, Sinbanpo-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul

Shinsegae Centrum City and Spa Land – Busan

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If you love shopping, you must visit the Shinsegae Centrum City Department Store in Haeundae, Busan. The store is listed as the largest shopping complex in the world! With 14 floors and 2 basement floors, it even has a golf driving range! Of course I headed to the basement floor for the food department! Very similar to Lotte Department store, but with way more food! We found Lady M Confections, which is a New York based confectionery. The cakes are absolutely beautiful to look at, but are quite pricey!

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Mille Crepe

We decided to try the Mille Crepe, which is their signature cake. This is a must try! Layers of paper-thin handmade crepes with super light pastry cream in between the layers. It’s super light and fluffy and the crepe just melts in your mouth. I’ve never had such a light delicious cake before! It’s also not too sweet. Well worth the CAD$7.

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Next, we found these mochi curled up in leaves. Thought it was pretty interesting looking, so we decided to give it a try.

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Mochi in Leaf

We were surprised that the mochi wasn’t white, but rather a slight grey with green specks in it. We suspect that it may have been mixed with tea leaves. The mochi is filled with red bean paste, which I liked, but I found the mochi to have a strange flavour. Wasn’t very sweet, but rather a little sour. Really odd and not too pleasing to the palette.

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Spa Land

The Shinsegae department store connects to Spa Land, which is the main purpose for our visit. Spa Land is the perfect place to relax after several days of traveling. It has 22 spas with natural spring water being pumped from underground, 13 Jjimjilbangs and saunas, and an open-air foot spa. Jjimjilbangs are public bathhouses that include everything from saunas to massage chairs. At Spa Land, it is only 13,000 won on weekdays for adults and you can stay up to 4 hours.

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Spa Land is huge! After paying at the reception, you will need to remove your shoes and put them in a locker, where you will get a key to the rest of your lockers. You then segregate into your gender’s change room and you can change into the uniform they provide you. Lockers are included to store your belongings. We realized that you need to be completely nude to go into the gender-segregated baths. No swimsuits whatsoever. We weren’t too comfortable with that, so we ended up just going for the saunas.

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Each sauna room are different themed. They are also at different temperatures. A sign is placed outside with the name of the sauna, temperature, and the health benefits it brings. Most of the saunas are around 40 degrees, with ones reaching 70 degrees! There is one that is a cold sauna, called the Ice Room at around 13 degrees.

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Open-air Foot Spa

On the first floor, you can exit to the Open-air Foot Spa. Here, the ceiling is open with some areas being sheltered in case of rain. There are serveral different foot spas with different ingredients in the water. The foot baths are around 30 degrees and are very comforting if  you have walked for a long time. There are also pebble stones on the floor so they provide massaging for your feet.

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Salt Room

After soaking our feet, we headed back indoors to the saunas. The saunas are gender mixed so you can wear your uniforms here. One of our favourite was the Salt Room. It featured blocks of salt as the building blocks of the walls. There are blocks where you can place your head on so that you can lie down. Many people sleep here! At first, I found it really hot and stuffy, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to stay for long. However, when you lie down, I found that you don’t feel as hot anymore. You start to get used to the temperature and you’ll start sweating a lot! This is supposed to help remove your toxins. We found it funny how some people were exercising in the rooms.

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Pyramid Room

This was the Pyramid Room, which featured a 52 degree angle. Apparently this angle is supposed to “collect energies from the universe.” It actually felt quite relaxing here as well since it wasn’t too hot. Not exactly sure how it collects energies though…

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Wave Dream Room

This was the Wave Dream Room, where the centerpiece creates sort of a wave. It’s supposed to help you relax. We didn’t find this one too special.

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Relaxation Room

On the top floor is the Relaxation Room. It’s a huge room filled with inclining chairs and TVs. You can relax on these chairs and watch TV with great privacy. The chairs are side by side but have so much privacy because there’s a board that blocks the other person from seeing you.

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The head rest has a built in speakers so you can hear without using headphones. Most of the shows are in Korean though, so it wasn’t too entertaining for us.

After that, we headed to this area where you can just lie on the floor which is heated. At first, I felt like it wasn’t very sanitary, but I realized there is someone constantly cleaning the floors, so everything is very hygienic here. There is also a snack bar, so we purchased some Baked Eggs. They are cooked in the hottest saunas and remind me of hard-boiled eggs essentially. You also pay for everything additional with your locker key and pay the extra costs when you leave. Other additional costs you may incur are the massage chairs and facials.

Overall, a must try if you have some spare time! Definitely will be revisiting when I visit Busan again!

Address: 35, Senteomnam-daero, Haeun Daegu, Busan