While Myeongdong is known for being a large tourist’s paradise for shopping, it has the tendency to be super crowded and not always the best for what you think would be good. For example, while it has an abundance of skin care shops (check out this post if you want to see a small KBeauty haul!), many of the stores can be 1) found elsewhere 2) are too crowded and 3) sometimes don’t even give as good of “service” (freebies) as smaller, less touristy locations do. Also, it can also be argued that some of the stores aren’t that special and can be found elsewhere. However, here’s my list of things to try that you may not have thought of and some little hidden gems as well. 🙂
Getting out of Myeongdong Exit 6 can be quite the Herculean task. Right across from you is the largest and arguably most majestic Uniqlo’s in Korea. While it’s not my favorite store, it is good for when they have their HEATTECH sales. Anyway, it’s a good landmark.
Before you go any further, walk down the main strip for two minutes and look to your left, as it will be the large MEDIHEAL This store is a godsend for a couple of reasons. I always like to go here first, because whenever you buy something, they give you a voucher to go up to the second floor for a free drink. I go upstairs and get my free iced Americano, which gives me the strength to brave through the crowds after.
What’s so great about this particular Mediheal you ask? Their usual abundance of the Hair Sheep Steam Pack of course! This product works wonders on my hair, as my hair is super processed. I put it on in the shower right after shampooing and use it as a conditioner/hair mask. It leaves my hair smelling amazing, too! I do this about once a week or once every other week or really whenever I have a decent supply nearby. Because I only have the tolerance to go to Myeongdong about once every six months, I like to stock up on these. Whenever I go to Olive Young, this product tends to be sold out, in limited quantity, or much more expensive. Before knowing about this place, I’ve paid 5,000 won for one at Olive Young. I’ve been lucky to pay 3,500 won when it was on sale, but it’s even cheaper here (and you get the free coffee!) If you look closely, it does say 5,000 won, but when you go up to the counter, it was 50% off.
Once you’re done paying, just take the stairs up to the cafe. You can sit, relax, and even charge your phone here.
So, I totally wasn’t expecting this part, but it was an amazing surprise! I had never seen anything like this before in Myeongdong. I love all the flavored almonds (ranch and kim are my favorites), but this store (with a huge downstairs) had flavors I have never seen before. Inside, there were tons of other snacks and what have you, including the ever addictive Turtle Chips.
There were some I had never seen before, so I just had to try them. From left to right: Caramel almonds with pretzels, yogurt almonds, kim (seaweed) almonds, and banana mango. I was genuinely surprised I didn’t see the ranch ones there, but I would definitely go back to try some of the other kinds they had, like peach.
Myeongdong is also known for its street food, which I admit, is pretty fabulous. There’s usually something for everyone, but this time around I didn’t want to be walking around in the cold eating. However, I will always spread the gospel of egg bread. It’s cheap, delicious, keeps you warm on a could day, and is arguably relatively healthy because of the egg inside (or so I tell myself). These street foods are cash only, but if there was some crazy law that said you could only try one street food, I would suggest this. There are multiple stalls selling this, and you can easily find it. I don’t find there to be one particular stand that makes it that much better than any other.
So where should you go if you’re hungry? Personally, I don’t really care for Myeongdong restaurants. I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit there just for some food place (street food notwithstanding). However, I was recently introduced to this dak galbi place, and it was incredible, but beware: it is a literal heart attack. I guess you can always walk it off after or justify eating if from all the calories you burned. What makes this particular dish so disgusting yet satisfying are the blobs of cream cheese circled around the edges of the pan.
By the way, I am so terribly sorry. I was so entranced by the experience of having a dairy fiesta, that I totally forgot where this place was. What I can tell you, though, is that it is 1) slightly off the main strip 2) near a McDonald’s and 3) on the second floor. I would be so eternally grateful if someone could help me out with this.
BIG SIZE SHOES
As someone who is considered to have giant feet here in Korea (US 9), I am always on the lookout for shoes. I have found a select few stores that have stores that fit me (that aren’t specialty “big size” stores in Itaewon). In Myeongdong, I have found American Eagle (in the Lotte department store, H&M, and Forever 21. I kid you not, I have seen shoes up to a size US 13 (women’s!) at Forever 21, but of course, it’s whatever you can get. My best bet for shoes is H&M. I’m pretty sure Zara has larger sizes as well, but I haven’t personally gone there to look.
Also, as far as big sizes go, I once spotted a magical size 18 long pair of jeans at American Eagle in Myeongdong. However, who knows if 1) a larger size or 2) a long inseam will ever be seen there again.
RECYCLING YOUR CLOTHES
This doesn’t just apply to Myeongdong locations, but it certainly helps when you want to do a large haul and want to save money at the same time. Whatever clothes that are too old and unswappable, or clothes I adopted and later find out have some weird holes or stain, I put it in a bag to recycle at H&M. No, it doesn’t have to be only H&M clothing, which is really the beauty of all of it. You put your recyclable clothing (any fabric is fine) in any old bag, and bring it to them. You can then get a 5,000 won voucher that you can use on any purchase over 40,000 won (including sale items!).
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