Versi Bahasa Indonesia: https://indonesia.tripcanvas.co/id/jogja/chingu-cafe/
Written by Beverley Lennon
Assisted by Junanto Xu
Photos by Junanto Xu, Intan Widyaningrum
Model: Intan Widyaningrum
And just like that, the whole of Asia fell in love with South Korea! We don’t know if it started with Gangnam Style but we sincerely can’t recall the beginning of obsessing over Korean-everything. Lots of us listen to their K-pop songs, follow their K-dramas, turn to them for style inspiration and rely on their beauty products, making South Korea what we call “an influencer”!
Chances are you don’t even know the song lyrics and possibly need English subtitles for the movies but yet you can’t help but get into this pop culture and head out of the house without your Korean-inspired ombre lips.
But what’s puzzling about this phenomenon is that despite knowing it can be quirky and bizarre at times (Google: “Korean heart-shaped bangs”, it’s a thing!!), we still are OBSESSED by all K-things and especially K-guys who can dance, sing and look perfectly good all at the same time!
So if all this got you to say “Oh my! Shame this is soooo ME!”, you will love wandering around the Little Seoul of Yogyakarta in a traditional Hanbok to immerse in Korean culture through unique fun and exciting experiences; tickle your palates with flavours from Kimchi Land and indulge in traditional Instagrammable desserts under the sakura tree. But, there’s much more to this K-Wave taking over Jogja!
If you’re in Bandung, note that they have an even bigger version of Little Seoul with a mini-cinema playing Korean dramas and other interesting experiences too! This is originally where they started and then expanded to open in Jogja!
Yogyakarta and Central Java road trip: Scenic landscapes, mountains, secret beaches and sea of clouds!
1. Turn into a Korean and dress up in traditional Hanboks (Korean dresses)
If you’ve been to Korea, you must have noticed that a lot of visitors are dressed in colourful clothing, especially around Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul. These beautiful dresses are the Koreans’ national costume – the hanbok.
Well, now you don’t have to travel as far as Korea to try one as you get to rent a traditional Hanbok in the Little Seoul of Yogyakarta and stroll around the Koreatown dressed like a real Korean! Who knows, you might be noticed by the K-guy of your dreams ;)!
Note: Hanbok rental is currently not available yet. But you’ll find a collection of colours and sizes available for rent at the on-site store as from Mid Jan 2019 (Official Grand Opening).2. Take Instagrammable pictures along the busy Dongdaemun Street and Cheonggyecheon River
Real Korea fans sure have heard of the notable landmark of Dongdaemun Street where you can shop till you drop and embark on a street-food journey till late at night. And how about the Cheonggyecheon River, an all-time favourite leisure place for anyone to rest or simply hang out with friends in the heart of the capital.
You can also find these two iconic replicas at the Little Seoul of Yogyakarta, there is even a bridge to cross over the river, similar to the actual one in Seoul!
At Dongdaemun Street, you’ll find perfect backdrops with Korean-inspired glittering neon signs for your Insta-shots and will probably find a crowd too (just like at the real Dongdaemun Street in Korea)!
3. Traditional Korean dining: Choose between Bukchon Hanok Village, Chagiya Korean BBQ or Chingu indoor cafe
Food is practically everywhere in South Korea and so it is at the Little Seoul of Yogyakarta. You get to indulge in delicious meals at three different dining venues including in a traditional Hanok house (Bukchon Hanok Village) where you experience the locals’ lifestyle with a unique seating tradition, similar to Jogja’s famous “lesehan” style where you sit on floor mats to dine rather than on chairs and benches.
At Chagiya Korean BBQ, you’re set for your forever-loved Korean BBQ. In this casual tradition, you get to gather with friends and family around an open grill and cook together! Meals begin with a salad and culminates with a plethora of marinated meats, sauces and sides (called ‘banchan’ in Korean). If you’re a seasoned diner, you might want to coach newbie friends on Korean barbecue procedure and etiquette!
For a hangout session, don’t miss on opting for a seat at the indoor Chingu Cafe, where you get to gulp down too-pretty-to-be-eaten desserts under the artificial sakura tree and immerse in a typical Korean-cafe culture where everything deserves a spot on your Insta-feed!
While menus are in English, prices for dishes are in Korean Won, simply multiply it by 10 to pay in Rupiah (1 Won = 10 Rp, almost similar to the actual exchange rate!). How creatively fun!!
*Note: The restaurants are pork-free, and serve no lard and gelatin.
4. Eat like a local and try Korean BBQ, street snacks and Korean Bingsu!
Get a pre-taste of Myeong-dong food district in the Little Seoul of Yogyakarta. Sit down for a comforting platter of Korean BBQ where you get to grill your own meat and dip it in melted cheese. We loved their All-in-one Mozza BBQ with three different kinds of meat that were fresh, tender and juicy.
On the side, you also get some salad which you usually wrap around your cheese-dipped meat before drenching it with some kicking spicy sauce; an explosion of flavours is guaranteed!
K-lovers will know that Seoul is essentially an open-air restaurant in itself, everyone who’s been to South Korea talks about street food. Cheap, hearty, and delicious, Korean street food is a must-try! And while we’ve eaten a fair share of bibimbap and Korean barbecue, the world of snacks and desserts was largely lesser-known to us.
At Chingu Cafe, we got to indulge in a variety of traditional Korean street snacks and desserts with our favourites being the Odeng with flavourful pieces of fish cake and heart-warming tickling soup that felt so comforting.
We also loved their version of the famous Korean Corndog filled with sausage and melted cheese, battered in corn-flour and french-fries, it is a crispy and crunchy affair topped with sweet and spicy sauces for that very special Korean taste!
Besides, we also got to try their Tteokochi (rice cake skewers) with red chilli sauce, the rice cakes were a bit hard rather than chewy. They also serve it in a soup but you’ll also find the traditional version many street food vendors sell – on skewers. You can opt for the original or spicy flavour and also can add on cheese!
We also loved the Kimchi Jiggae for its strong kicking taste – the spicy Kimchi stew is served with beef and lots of vegetables. Though spicy, we found it very addictive! Other snacks we tried include Kimbap (vegetables wrapped with rice and seaweed, like a larger version of the Japanese sushi) and Gun-Mandu (fried beef dumplings) but these did not quite tickle our palates as we wished so.
Now, drum roll… the star of the menu: The Bingsoo of the Blue Sea! This bestseller is not only refreshing but also got some damn good looks! We enjoyed all the creativity put in this concoction as we slurped on blue jelly-like noodles topped with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and fresh fruits!
We also tried their Original Pat Bingsoo which tasted quite similar but had red beans for toppings, milkier in taste and somehow looked less photo-worthy, yet equally good in taste!
The restaurants even use the traditional “Sujeo” – a set of Korean eating utensils where you’ll find a long metal spoon and a flat pair of chopsticks.
5. Shop for cute Line-themed facial masks to get your K-beauty fix!
Ahhh Korean face sheet masks! These skin saviours that are everywhere and people won’t stop talking about it. The beauty world, in general, is all abuzz about the benefits that these sheet masks have to offer. And, in Korea, it’s not just for girls! Boys are as equally invested in their skincare routine (now we know why these Korean boybands look so perfect!).
In Korea, good skincare is available everywhere. Shops are at every corner; you can even find them in subway stations. So what would be a Koreatown without some beauty products from Korea? Get your hands on these cute Line-themed facial masks at Little Seoul (Yogyakarta) and trust us you’ll be looking like a real K-princess!
They also have cute Korean-style socks and plan on having more souvenirs like keychains!
Now you know where to head to when you’re craving for Korean food and need to level up your Insta-feed with travel-inspired pictures! Tag all of your other K-lover friends and let them know about this latest Koreatown in Yogyakarta!