I have a thing for flagship department stores that are unique to a destination. For this reason, Shinsegae in Seoul, Korea featured toward the top of my itinerary. It’s on the site of the country’s first department store and I wanted to check out its renowned food hall.
Needless to say, Shinsegae did not disappoint. The luxury department store in Myeongang fills two buildings, one with mostly designer goods and the other with more contemporary wear, cosmetics, and housewares. The Shinsegae food hall is located on the basement level which is accessible via an escalator in the cosmetics department and a few other doors. Every vendor in the food hall was hand-selected to ensure they are in line with the Shinsegae brand.
The goal of this post is to show you what it’s like inside so that you can decide if it’s a worthwhile stop. You’ll find Shinsegae listed as one of the top things to do in Seoul. The food hall is compartmentalized into a supermarket, gourmet food boutiques, takeaway bakeries and counter dining with cuisines ranging from Italian to American.
I walked in to the Shinsegae food hall next to the gift wrap section which stopped me in my tracks as a lover of paper goods. The choices are stunning.
A number of my favorite high-end gourmet food brands can be purchased here including La Maison du Chocolat, pictured below. If you haven’t experienced their truffles and other chocolate delights, do yourself a favor and go for it.
This is where all sorts of Korean herbs, Asian teas, and more can be purchased in addition to a selection of Hediard and Fauchon preserves and biscuits. The latter two are stores that I always stop into when on vacation in Paris.
A highlight is definitely The Menagerie pâtisserie where immaculately decorated cakes, candies, and desserts await inside of glass cases. Look at how cute these cakes in a cup are. I bought a panda and inside was a layered white cake with fresh cream and strawberries that was as delicious as it is cute.
There are other goods like beautiful candies, marzipan, chapssaltteok and other desserts to buy.
They were offering samples of baumkuchen, a German spit cake that was to die for.
You can buy high-end versions of soju, perhaps a good gift to bring home (check customs restrictions for alcohol). Next to the soju shop is another offering spices.
Another must-eat when in Korea (and Japan for that matter) is roll cake. This matcha version looked amazing. And, of course, you can buy big soft serve ice cream. If there’s one thing I learned during my visit to Seoul is that its residents love tall soft serve.
Now moving on to the eateries on what is called Gourmet Street, they’re scattered about a big open space.
If you’d like Korean food, the gimbap at this spot looked amazing, but there are many other choices.
And one of my favorite Hong Kong fast casual restaurants, Crystal Jade, has a Shinsegae outlet. On the Western side, Johnny Rockets represents in addition to Dean and Deluca.
Rounding out the offerings is a gourmet market selling fresh seafood, produce and other basic items.
Here’s a map of the Shinsegae food hall. As you can see, it’s quite large and there are many more offerings than I was able to photograph stealthfully with my iPhone.
It’s easy to access the food court via the down escalator in the cosmetics department.
The bottom line is that the Shinsegae department store food hall is a great place to eat or take a break when shopping in Myeongdong. Right behind Shinsegae is the busy Namdaemun Market and I’ll show you that in photos, soon.