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Episode 6: Dongdaemun LED Roses, Hongdae Trick Eye Museum, DIY Ddeokbokki

You guys are in for quite a treat this week! In this episode, I recap my experiences visiting the beautiful LED Roses in Dongdaemun, hilarious adventures at the Trick Eye Museum in Hongdae, and mouth-watering DIY Ddeokbokki in between. Are you ready?

First up, LED Roses. This is a must-see for anyone visiting Seoul, in my opinion! There is a Rose Park installed at Dongdaemun History and Culture Park. Now, this isn’t just your normal everyday rose garden — it’s a garden of electronic LED (light-emitting diode) roses! When seen at night, the roses give off a dreamy, futuristic fantasy-like feeling. Below the night Seoul City skyline, the roses definitely make an incredible accompaniment contributing to the view of the Seoul, the city of the future.

On a another day, my SNU Buddy Group 6 organized a field trip after class to the famous Trick Eye Museum located in Hongdae. This museum is called “Trick Eye” because of its plethora of unique art exhibits that visitors can interact with! Photo ops exist at every corner, and all you need is a little creativity to take the perfect photo that may have your friends and family thinking twice! At every exhibit, there are examples and instructions of poses that can be done to spark your creativity, since first-timers may become a bit confused. We entered the Ice Museum first before going into the main art exhibits. It was quite cold here!

This museum is definitely more fun going in a big group. Because of the nature of the realistic art, combined with the challenging poses and facial expressions that need to be accomplished for every photo, hilarious situations do occur! I felt a lot closer to my group members after everything was over, so I was very thankful for such a fun and memorable experience. Everyone was feeling hungry, so we decided to stay in Honda for dinner — today’s dinner menu was ddeokbokki.

Ddeokbokki is a dish made of Korean rice cakes stir fried in a spicy sauce. Other ingredients that go in can be boiled eggs, fishcake, ramen, and vegetables. Eaten together with ddeokbokki are fishcakes in hot soup (Odeng/Eomuk) and a variety of fried delicious stuff. I like ddeokbokki very much, so I was very excited for dinner. Usually they are found in street food stalls, which Hongdae is plenty of. I thought we were going to be stopping by at one of the stalls, but to my surprise we ended up going to a self-serve Ddeokbokki Buffet!

Hold up, back it up a moment. A self-serve, Ddeokbokki BUFFET?! Korea is known for its variety of DIY Dining, for example Korean barbeque. I find this part of Korean food culture to be so fun and interesting! But, I had never been to a DIY Ddeokbokki restaurant before. We would be making the ddeokbokki ourselves for a set price, and then eat unlimited amounts of delicious food until our tummies bursted. I was ready.

I only had to pay $7. And I was stuffed. I myself ate 5 fishcake sticks (Everyone else ate only one or 2). This was definitely one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life — I actually find myself saying this a lot in Korea. As I reflect in thought, DIY dining experiences like these makes up one of the reasons why I find Korean culture so wonderful. Not only is the food cheap, but it tastes amazing!

After a long and eventful day spent at the Trick Eye Museum with my group members, sitting down together and working together as a team to cook the ddeokbokki ourselves and self-serve ourselves with the items available at the buffet counter… I can’t quite explain it in words, but I feel so happy just remembering this moment. It felt even better than a family moment. Dining experiences like these make me realize how important teamwork, togetherness and bonding are in Korean culture. Compared to the cold and fast-paced environment in New York, where everything is just one and done, I can honestly say I like the social togetherness aspect about Korea a lot better. But then again, there hasn’t been anything about Korea that I find myself complaining about. I honestly wish to build a life here, and live in Seoul forever. It’s always been my dream to visit Seoul and maybe live here, but now I’m sure of it.

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