Have you read my Homestay Korea 101 post yet? If you're ready then check out this post about my Eunni and our bulgogi journey one day in Hongdae =) She was my Busan homestay host and she just moved to Seoul! I met with her around a month ago and got to check out her new apartment. It feels like the one in Busan and I trust that she'll take care of you as I know her personally and have had her as my wonderful host before ;) I might be staying in this Seoul apartment next month so that I can provide you with more details and tips based on her location. For now, this is the space available and a quick sample of her space & generosity hehe. She showed me a number of recommended restaurants and cafes in Hongdae (walking distance from the high-rise condo) on this day! Please feel free to contact me for more info on the booking. Kindly indicate the country where you're from, the number of people, ages and dates.
Her apartment is located near an exit of a Subway Stop Sangsu Station (line 6, brown, use this interactive Seoul map). It's at a different line from the normal Hongdae (Hongik) stop but if you've tried that then you'll know that it's an uphill walk to Hongik University. This apartment metro stop is located on the top part already. There's an elevator in this stop but I still have to check about the transfer stations and airport bus if you have luggage with you. During our last talk, we figured that it might be better to use the train to get here and I'll check that out.
The place was at a residential apartment complex and on a high floor like her Busan flat. Upon entrance, there's the room for rent on the right then the kitchen on the next. On the left, there's the office then the sala/living room area. This is a modern Korean apartment.
We spent a while catching up here in the kitchen area. It really looked like the old one in Busan where I had my first ever homestay experience in Korea haha. Breakfast that comes with the room price would be served here.
The apartment is quite new, clean and spacious.
You can just chill here when the sun outside is unbearable.
Only a married couple lives here - no pets and children - so it's quite peaceful and tidy. I have allergies and love quiet time so I'm a bit particular with those.
Here's the office with computers. WiFi is included.
Here's the room available for homestay. It's ondol type (heated floor for winter). I love walking barefoot on these types of floors.
You sleep on the floor - traditional Korean style. You can pile up blankets to make it softer.
2 people can fit comfortably here but if you're my size and/or wouldn't mind the squeeze then 4 is ok or the others can stay in the big living room!
There's a toilet and bath right next to the guest room (with hot showers, of course).
There's a convenience store, subway exit and bus stop (still have to check where it goes) less than 5 to 10 minutes away.
We walked to Hongik University and the Hongik park (the site of the Saturday Art Flea Market).
This is a popular university area so it comes alive (especially from lunch onwards) with lots of people, little stores (youthful style of clothes and shoes) and restaurants! Eunni showed me the location of Mimine 미미네 (which I missed while looking for it on my own, sus). It's famous for the 2nd floor offerings - tteokpokki and crispy tempura.
As a newcomer herself, Eunni said that I might want to try these other cafes, shops and restaurants she's coming to love - if I'm in the area again.
An easy landmark would be the Sangsangmadang building at address 367-5, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul-si (서울특별시 마포구 어울마당로 65 (서교동)). We just walked this along main street and the establishments are to the same side.
I would personally like to try these quaint coffee shops on my next trip a few weeks from now.
Finally, she introduced me to this popular (in the internet and Korean blogs) 24-hour Sandomi Bulgogi Restaurant 산더미 불고기 in Hongdae! Now that she's shown me where it is, she said, and tried how good it is, then I could bring my friends here next time or eat here again if ever I don't want to think of someplace anymore during a late night haha. She said to go here with at least one more person because it's weird to eat bulgogi and Korean BBQ alone in Korea and people might look at you hahaha. Seriously.
We were quite early for dinner but this place got full with locals in no time. If I don't know the language, I probably wouldn't have found this place.
It wasn't the usual, already cooked, bulgogi that I've had many times at home. It came out as a mound of raw beef garnished with spring onions, leek, glass noodles and 2 types of mushrooms.
The cooking grill (dome-shaped griddle) is one part boiler. Our server cooked the meat at the center and put the veggies boiling in broth at the sides. I've only ever seen this once in Manila (Sariwon franchise from Korea) and another bulgogi place in Hyundai Department Store.
Eunni says this was how bulgogi was cooked before and it's now becoming a rare occurrence in Korea. It's not electric too ;)
We just ordered one item per person (so it's 2 servings of the same thing, we ordered barbecued beef at 15000 won per person - 300g) and it came out with lots of banchan as usual. Eunni says that if men go together here, they give out more meat (same price) and if women then they give out less (boo! but yeah it's actually too much already hehe). You can't order if you're alone sadly (or perhaps you can convince them that you can eat for 2? haha).
We came here at 3:40 p.m. for an early dinner haha and finished by 5 p.m. I didn't eat after that anymore LOL.
Here's how they cook the mound of meat ;) We didn't order rice anymore because this is seriously filling and there are noodles anyway. Hehe.
You can dip it in special sweet and sour sauce ;) It's soooo good! Eunni was right!! You should definitely try this yummy 24-hour Sandomi Bulgogi Restaurant 산더미 불고기 if ever you're in Hongdae!
Mapo-gu, Seoul 403-16 Seogyo
02-323-8826 (Korean number)
서울시 마포구 서교동 403-16
I'd love to hear from you. Tell me below: Have you had a homestay experience before - where and how was it? Given the chance, would you stay in a tourist hotspot or somewhere less crowded and just take the subway or bus? Would you consider a homestay experience? What conveniences, services, facilities, activities or qualities in the host or host's home will make you happier? If you're looking for homestay in Korea, what other cities would you consider going to aside from Seoul and Busan?