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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Busan Corner on Taxi-daero

Each time I ride my bicycle from Yeonhui-dong to Hongdae, I follow the same Yeonhuimat-ro / Donggyo-ro line. And each time, I make a couple of mental notes along the way: I must come back for this and that eatery, I haven't visited them in a long time.

The first section is called Yeonhui's street of flavors (Yeonhuimat-ro, formerly Yeonhuimat-gil) for a reason: people come from far away for the food, even for a dish as simple as Yeonhui-dong Kalguksu.

The second section is far less inviting: basically an apartment block (Imgwang Apartment) stuck between two disgracious elevated infrastructures (Seongsan-ro and the Gyeongui Line). But even there you can find a couple of restaurants.

The next stretch is a paradise for authentic Chinese cuisine lovers (see for instance Hong Bok or Ha Ha). That's also where you'll find the very Chinese-friendly Yeonhui-Yeonnam Global Village (Seoul Global Center).

Further afield, Donggyo-ro shifts by 45 degree from Southwest to South, until it reaches the new park. I knicknamed that 100% restaurant section "Taxi-daero" because both sides of the street are always fully packed with diagonally parked cabs (a good sign if you believe in Word Of Mouthwatering, that Great Tradition among Taxi Drivers).

Soon after the park, Donggyo-ro meets with Yeonnam-ro and takes you to Hongik University Station and Seogyo-dong, drawing a big smile north of Yanghwa-ro (there again, countless places to take a snack, including Charles Sutbul Gimbap).

I've already mentioned this new park, a potential game-changer for a neighborhood that badly needed one. Bonus: the best configuration possible for cafes and terraces. They only reopened the section between Donggyo-ro and Yanghwa-ro, but right now, this 30 meter wide band covering the AREX looks very promising, even if Mapo-gu didn't invest a lot in the trees, rather rachitic. Speculators have started raiding the spot a couple of years ago, and many buildings have already being remodeled. I sincerely hope they won't let them grow taller than 2-3 levels because that would totally ruin the area, as is already the case for the section North of Donggyo-ro (on this picture, along Kolon Apartment):

I'm also worried about Taxi-daero because if this neighborhood becomes too successful, more shops shall move from Hongdae, and I wouldn't want the place to look like yet another Garosu-gil.

What I fear most is the disparition of unspectacular landmarks that make this place so special and particularly Busan Corner, a delicious and cute eatery ideally located at the Southernmost end of Taxi-daero, with a view on the garden, or rather on this catwalk for anorexic plants. The owner is a very kind lady from Busan, who cooks simple and delicious local snacks (부산먹거리) for a song:

Bibim dangmyeon (비빔당면)

Homemade odeng soup (수제오뎅탕)

Busan Gimbap (부산김밥)

Busan Corner  / 부산코너 (snacks)
At the corner of Donggyo-ro and AREX park, Mapo-gu
Tel +82.322.9242

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* Note that the garden will continue on the other side of Yanghwa-ro, but for the moment that's just a barricaded working site from which only the new AREX exit emerge. When they connected the Incheon-Gimpo Airport line to Hongdae station they changed the numbering system for all subway exits, and I once sent by mistake a friend to that no man's land - not the best first impression for Hongik University area.

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