Heukseok-dong’s Best Kept Secrets

  • Photo by Photo by Doyeon Hwang (All Heukseok)

    Photo by Doyeon Hwang (All Heukseok)

We all take pride in our own neighborhoods, but those living in Heukseok-dong say they especially love the area’s pleasant seclusion—something that is often hard to find in a crowded city like Seoul. Though it is located in the middle of the capital and is home to the reputable Chung-Ang University, Heukseok-dong is not well known among most Seoulites. It is surrounded by mountains and offers amazing views of Hangang, but it is also one of the few daldongnae (달동네, or shantytowns) that remain in central Seoul. But Heukseokers, as young locals part of the “All Heukseok” (흑석동의 모든것) Facebook page like to refer to themselves, embrace the obscurity because it comes with its rewards like quiet restaurants, cozy basement cafes and other retreats.

Photo by Doyeon Hwang (All Heukseok)Kkotsura (꽃수라) | For a taste of home
Kkotsura is a small restaurant with home-style dishes. The food is wholesome, made without synthetic flavoring and with the owner/chef’s own hands. The owner even offers breakfast for CAU students and is known to shower her employees with delicious food and fun talk. Try the ttukbaegi galbijjim (뚝배기 갈비찜); you won’t be able to find it anywhere else at this price. Kkotsura: 44 Heukseok-ro 13ga-gil, Dongjak-gu, Seoul (map). Located opposite The Frypan. Accessible via Heukseok Station (exit 4).

Photo by Doyeon Hwang (All Heukseok)Hue: to rest (‘휴休 ; 쉬다, 쉼터) | For peace and tea
With its partitioned tables and attic-like feel, Hue is a great tea house for friends or someone wanting a little privacy. The soothing voice of the owner and the surprisingly sweet lemon tea summons peace and rest. Traditional tea is comparatively cheap; herbal tea comes in many flavors and will set you back about 5,000 won. If you’re looking for something more stimulating, try your hand at one of their many board games or make friends with the resident puppy. Hue: 3rd floor, 101-5, Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul (map). On the 3rd floor of the Oppa-dak (오빠닭) building.

Photo by Doyeon Hwang (All Heukseok)Café Ann (카페 안) | For an evening drink
Café Ann’s tiny and curious entrance is reminiscent of a door from Alice in Wonderland. This relatively unknown café/restaurant is known for its cozy atmosphere and attracts people seeking a more intimate space. Café Ahn sells light meals and drinks. Since cocktails and house wine are not a common sighting on menus near Chung-Ang University, student patrons refer lovingly to Café Ann as “an oasis in the desert.” Café Ahn: 88, Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul (map). Tel: 02-824-2788.

Photo by Doyeon Hwang (All Heukseok)There’s Factory (데얼즈 팩토리) | For coffe and comics
One of the “it” cafés of Heukseok-dong that is popular and frequented by both CAU students and residents. There’s Factory is filled with cutesy props, knickknacks and a variety of books and comics to keep you entertained if you have time to kill. The café takes after its travel and culture-loving owner, so expect to run into some crowds and little cultural events here. There’s Factory: 81-6 Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul (map). Tel: 070-7620-5222.


Photo by Doyeon Hwang (All Heukseok)Haerang Chobab (해랑초밥) | For student-friendly sushi
A Japanese restaurant popular with CAU students for its high quality (but still student budget-friendly) sushi and sashimi. There may be several Japanese restaurants near Heukseok Station, but Haerang Chobab is known for its food and stellar service—the Korean kind, that is. If you pay for your meal in cash, the owner/chef is known to slide extra sushi onto your table. Haerang Chobab: 116 Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul (map). Tel: 02-814-1400

Photo by Doyeon Hwang (All Heukseok)Cabin (캐빈) | For a mini getaway
Featuring wood paneling throughout the bar, Cabin lives up to its name in décor and ambiance. Maybe it is the creaking sound of the hardwood floors or the countryside pub aesthetic, but Cabin is one of those bars that allow people to let their guard down and talk freely—a feeling some students say is hard to find outside of the international Itaewon district. If you go, keep in mind that Cabin also lives up to its name in size with cozy round tables and a limited bar. Cabin: 3 Heukseok-ro 7-gil, Dongjak-gu, Seoul (map). Tel: 02-824-6760

Photo by Doyeon Hwang (All Heukseok)Teobangnae (터방내) | For the nostalgic
This café, one of the oldest in the neighborhood and one of the last ones to allow smoking indoors, is closer to a dabang, aka an old-school Korean café. Teobangnae is known for its drip coffees but the offerings on the menu may seem a bit foreign as they still use old brewing methods. With a nostalgic interior and musty salon vibe, Teobangnae attracts CAU professors and older locals looking to relive the dabang days. Teobangnae: 101-7 Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul (map). Tel: 02-813-4434

Hyosajeong (효사정) | For the best view of Hangang
To take in some beautiful scenery of the Hangang, head to Hyosajeong, an open pavilion that symbolizes Korean filial love. It’s just a quick stroll from Heukseok Station (exit 1) and an excellent spot to look over the river and the Dongjak Bridge. Hyosajeong: 141-2 Heukseok-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul (map).

Photo by Doyeon Hwang (All Heukseok)Yongbongjeong (용봉정) | For sweeping views of Seoul
At one of the highest grounds in Heukseok-dong you’ll find Yongbongjeong, a spot where you could see Yeouido Island, Dongjak Bridge and Dongbuichon-dong in one sweep. Yongbongjeong has been recognized by the city of Seoul as having one of the best views of the city, and locals love to take in the annual fireworks festival from this area. Yongbongjeong can be difficult for visitors to find, and even long-time residents of Heukseok-dong have trouble finding their way around. If you go, ask a local to show you the way or take GPS-equipped phone! Map.

Photo by Doyeon Hwang (All Heukseok)Heukseok Market (흑석시장) | For a taste of Heukseok-dong
Heukseok Market is a place of meeting and socialization, and you’ll be charmed by the local shoppers, vendors and energy (not to mention its many culinary offerings). Like most outdoor markets in Korea, you will find plenty of matjip, or storied food stalls and restaurants, situated throughout the alleys. Some long-running favorites include Eongteori Saeng-gogi (엉터리 생고기 [map]) for grilled meat and Donghae Haemul Kalguksu (동해해물칼국수 [map]) for traditional thick noodles. The unlimited donkasu restaurant Heukseok-dong Sujae Donkasu (흑석동수제돈까스 [map]) is a recent hit among hungry CAU students as well. And if you’re feeling brave (or hung over), enter the Soondae (“blood sausage”) Alley for a taste one of the best soondae stews that Seoul has to offer. Heukseok Market is the best way to fuel or finish off your tour of Heukseok-dong. Heukseok Market: 5 Seodal-ro 14ga-gil, Dongjak-gu, Seoul (map).

Written by All Heukseok editorial team: Seunghak Cha, Yoonjoo Jang, Soeun Kim, Hyeyeon Lim. Photos by Doyeon Hwang

ABOUT ‘흑석동의 모든 것   
이름 그대로 흑석동의 ‘모든 것’에 대한 정보와 이야기를 공유하는 페이스북 커뮤니티 페이지. 흑석동이라는 작은 공간에서 살아가는 사람들의 이야기와 삶의 방식을 함께 공유하는 것이 내 공간을 아끼고 사랑하는 방법이라고 생각하는 모든 흑석커들의 참여를 언제나 기다리는 중! ‘흑모것’과 형제자매와 같은 ‘흑석동 문화 만들기 프로젝트’ 페이지에서는 플리마켓, 인디 공연, 전시회 등 즐거운 문화예술 행사가 가득한 흑석동을 만나볼 수 있다.

All Heukseok

About All Heukseok

All Heukseok (‘흑석동의 모든 것‘) is a Facebook page run by students at Chung-Ang University that promotes Heukseok-dong culture. They also run the sister page Heukseok Culture (‘흑석동 문화 만들기 프로젝트’), which was created to organize and promote indie concerts, exhibitions and flea markets.

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