We went shopping at Shinsegae Department Store, one of the big 3 department store franchises in Korea, along with Lotte Shopping and Hyundai Department Store. It's really fun shopping in Seoul, as compared to little ol' Singapore. Because there's a bigger hinterland of spenders in Seoul, as opposed to the smaller population of spenders in Singapore, there are a lot more brands available in Seoul than there are in Singapore.
Take for example wedding dress shopping. The only big designer brand for bridal wear available in Singapore is possibly Vera Wang. Whereas in Seoul, you don't just have a standalone Vera Wang bridal boutique (which has EVERYTHING), a whole host of high-end designer bridal wear like Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa, Carolina Herrera, Monique Lhullier, Angel Sanchez, Elizabeth Filmore and Amsale are also distributed in Seoul.
You can really go crazy shopping here. You get a lot more choice and variety here.I guess that's why the shopping mall was a madhouse and completely crowded despite it being a Tuesday mid-afternoon. I actually thought to myself, "don't Korean women need to be at work instead?" There wasn't a sale, it wasn't a public holiday, it was the middle of a weekday, yet the crowd at Shinsegae was typical of the shopping crowd on the eve of Christmas at Takashimaya. There were just that many shoppers around.
We'd just blown a huge part of our bonuses when the lunch hunger pangs struck. So we headed to the 10th floor of the humongous mall, also called the "Restaurant Level", for some food.
The entire Restaurant Level houses up to 10 different restaurants, each serving a specific type of cuisine, ranging from Italian, Japanese, Chinese to a cafe style bistro with coffee and sandwiches. We had lunch at Modern Korean Cuisine, which obviously puts a fresh spin on traditional Korean favourites.
There were 5 varieties of Banchan served, including fresh kelp and an accompanying sweet sauce (bottom left).
There were 2 types of Spinach side dishes, this was simply poached, salted, and topped with sesame seed sprinkles, very light in taste.
The other Spinach side dish was flavoured with kimchi seasoning to a sourish tangy spicy heat.
The Katugi, or Spiced Pickled Radish was well done here, crunchy, fresh and peppery.
The Chilled Fishcake was also commendable, bouncy and clean in flavour.
We liked how light the Beef Rib Soup (9,800 Won) was, with fresh leek and radish lending a fresh accent to the robust and sweetish beef. The Koreans really love their beef sweet. Golden mushrooms, clear vermicelli and julienned scrambled eggs helped chunk up the clear soup.
Modern Korean Cuisine
Shinsegae Department Store
Restaurant Level 10