Sindang-dong for the Cafe Hopping Hotspots

by Michelle Li

When you're travelling around the districts of Seoul, you’ll find a lot of personality within the neighbourhoods. We’ve visited Seonsu-dong in this TMI article but this neighbourhood has garnered a lot of attention among Korea’s MZ Generation! It’s Sindang-dong which many now call “Hipdang-dong” replacing “sin” with the word “hip.”

Back in the 1960’s, this district was known as “Seoul’s Rice Warehouse” because it was just streets lined with rice grain shops and factories made out of bricks and stone. It’s conceptually interesting how most stores decide to keep the exterior of the building intact giving it an aged, retro feel. But contrastingly, the interior is completely renovated, making it aesthetic and photo-worthy. The “newtro” of Sindang-dong is why Koreans keep on coming back. Between the retro-looking factory warehouse, you’ll find trendy new cocktail bars, cafes, bakeries and small specialty shops.

If there is one place that hasn’t lost much of its popularity, it’s Sindang-dong’s Tteokbokki Town which came about in the late 1970s on Ssajeon Street. Each restaurant specialises in tteokbokki (떡볶이), a Korean classic street food dish, plus their own DJ booth to attract teens. It was also a time where high school baseball was a huge thing. So when schools competed against each other, there were always students crowded in each of these tteokbokki restaurants on those days. It’s definitely become a place for Koreans who grew up around this area to reunite and reminisce!

Instagram | @zoosindang_official

But further down Ssajeon Street and deep into the alleyways are where Instagram-trendy cafes and restaurants are tucked. One of the top ones that Koreans flock to is Zoo Sindang Bar. If you are into astrology, this one is definitely not to miss! The exterior of this bar is a huge giveaway on the theme. It’s decorated with amulets and gold chains that you would instantly be intrigued by upon first glance. Walk in and it feels like you are immediately in a forest, with all the greenery surrounding you. The theme doesn’t stop here though, it’s continued across the menu too. You’ll find 12 cocktails and tapas inspired by the 12 different zodiac signs and if you are around for the holidays, there are special cocktails to celebrate with too. 


Seoul Central Market has also been an increasingly trendy food place! At first it was a find for many Korean celebrities, Youtubers, and influencers which is how more Koreans discovered this market.  Seoul Central Market was just an ordinary market a few years ago. But it has quickly become a 'hot place' that you might even find a young stall owner selling when traditionally, elders are the ones settling to sell here. There’s so many stalls that it’s hard to know which ones are the best of the best.  #서울중앙시장 will take you to see the stalls that are on Koreans must-visit list.


Not far from this food market is another, Dongdaemun Market, THE fashion area. It’s definitely what you expect from a traditional “market,” because it’s actually Korea’s largest wholesale and retail shopping district. It has to be when the area has 26 shopping malls, 30,000 speciality shops and 50,000 manufacturers, right? Being in Sindang-dong, this market is targeted towards the youth which makes it the best place to shop the trendiest fashion pieces at an affordable price. With all the shopping, it’s no doubt you will get hungry so make sure to stop at Mukja Golmok, which literally translates to “let’s eat alley.”  Here you can find countless stalls selling your classic to more viral Korean street food.

Instagram | @saams00n

If you’re interested in vintage and the concept of thrifting, Cecil & Cedric is an exciting lifestyle select shop to visit (and make a few purchases 💸). Giving European vibes, even if you spot the store while walking out and about, you’ll naturally want to step inside. It’s a two-storey shop full of unique finds that will be hard to find anywhere else. It will be hard to resist buying just one thing from this aesthetic store and not taking any pictures! 

The ultimate foodies that the MZ Generation are makes Sindang-dong a must go place! But you aren’t just getting delicious food. The many different themes that run through each cafe and restaurant makes for a more unique and fun experience. Plus I love the overall vibe of Sindang-dong and it’s not just the buildings but the people too. Where it was a place that the older generation lived for many years, now more and more of the younger generations choose to live here, truly giving the place a refreshing taste of old and new K-culture. 

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