Incredibly cute cakes, colorful macarons, and nicely-shaped chocolates can be found all throughout Korea, where even the ice cream cakes at your corner Baskin Robbins are seriously adorable. But in the age of Instagram, the bar is set high to find the most unique, photogenic, and extra-fancy dessert out there. From Seoul to Jeju, we’re bringing you some one-of-a-kind desserts that make for a really special picture… as well as being great to eat!
1. LINE Macarons at LINE Friends Store and Cafe
For the most part, Kakao is still Korea’s messaging app of choice, but LINE is quickly gaining traction as well. At the very least, everyone acknowledges that LINE has much cuter characters. We visited the LINE store in Myeong-dong on three consecutive weekends to try to nab a medium-sized Brown bear and left empty-handed each time. Thankfully, now there’s a big LINE Friends store and cafe in Garosugil that sells all the plushies you could ever want, plus these precious Sally chickie and Brown macarons! These are so cute, the thought of eating them makes us want to cry!
LINE Friends Store and Cafe, near Sinsa Station exit 8, walk straight for about 250m, turn left and keep walking until you see the store.
2. Rainbow Cake at Dore Dore Cafe or Frank’s
Rainbow cakes are big in Korea! The best place to get them is at Dore Dore in Garosugil – they do the straightest, brightest, plumpest-looking version. If you’re (needlessly) afraid of what all that food coloring will do your system, fear not – you can get (boring) yellow cake or red velvet versions.
Of course, if you’re more of a cylinder kind of person, you’ll need to head to Frank’s in Itaewon for this epic rainbow roll cake filled with delicious Earl Grey custard:
Dore Dore Cafe, 544-4 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
Frank’s, 258-228 Itaewon(2)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
3. “Mendl’s Courtesan au Chocolat” at Frank’s
While we’re on the topic of Frank’s, we may as well mention their homage to Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. The cake shop produces the pastel-toned, cream-filled pastry that played a prominent role in the hit movie. Don’t worry, there are no digging tools embedded inside of these, just sweet, delicious chocolate cream.
4. Patbingsoo at Okrumong (옥루몽)
If you’re visiting Korea this summer, you’re going to have to try patbingsoo, which is practically Korea’s national dessert – shaved ice topped with sweet red beans. The most photogenic version can be found at Okrumong in Hongdae. They use a special ice machine which renders the shavings almost as fine as powdered snow and ball it up in a nice sphere shape. While other patbingsoo shops load their ices with newfangled ingredients such as ice cream, colored syrups, and cereal, Okrumong keeps it relatively old-fashioned with sweetened milk, red bean paste, and sweet ddeok (soft rice cake). So if you’re looking for a pretty traditional patbingsoo experience, this comes close!
Okrumong, 402-18 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul.
5. Cupcakes at SMTOWN COEX Artium
Why yes, this is a cupcake with a tiny SHINee cap on top. It’s just one of many SM artist-branded desserts available at the fourth-floor cafe of the SMTOWN COEX Artium. This slightly controversial “multipurpose cultural space” has been criticized for its high prices – this little cupcake will run you about 8,000 won, and forget about the fees you’ll have to pay if you want to check out the studio or hologram concert. If you’re not a fan of SMTOWN’s management, you may want to give this one a pass, but one thing is for sure – more so than any other agency, SM truly excels at giving fans the polished, glitzy K-pop experience. Girls’ Generation ice pop or EXO glass-bottled water, anyone?
Or how about settling for an actual EXO sighting, as some fans did today?
Random food for thought: If they don’t have a Red Velvet red velvet cupcake… just… shaking our heads.
SMTOWN COEX Artium, 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
6. Keyboard Waffle at Nexon Computer Museum
Here’s one for the techies. The Nexon Computer Museum in Jeju is Korea’s first permanent computer history museum. It features thousands of technology-related items, including a $375,000 original Apple I computer, a playable version of the MMORPG “Kingdom of Winds” from 1996, and last but not least, this keyboard waffle with mouse-shaped cookie. Go ahead and pretend you’re typing busily as your friend snaps photos of you, but try not to get any powdered sugar on your fingertips.
Nexon Computer Museum, Nohyeong-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do.
7. Chichi Pong Ice Cream in Jeju
In Jeju, but computer museums aren’t your thing? No problem – here’s a dessert for just about everyone. Jeju’s most famous ice cream shop, Chichi Pong, is located right on the coastline. Order up a rabbit cone in chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. Then walk all along that azure coastline and those green fields with cute Mr. Rabbit to find the perfect backdrop. You know, before you eat him.
Chichi Pong Ice Cream, 116-7 Sage-ri, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo, Jeju-do.
8. Any Dessert or Drink at Hello Kitty Cafe
Okay, let’s be honest. You don’t visit Hello Kitty Cafe because it has excellent food and drink. You visit because it’s the only place where you can get food and drink with Hello Kitty’s adorable mug all over it, and because the cafe’s decor is so insanely pink and cute. There are three Seoul locations, all in tourist-friendly neighborhoods – the Hongdae location is the most famous. And there’s also one in Jeju. So many photo opportunities.
Hello Kitty Cafe, 364-14, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul.
9. Ice Cream Fish Bread at A-boong
Okay, this one freaks us out a bit. Korea and Japan are famous for their fish-shaped dessert bread (bungeobbang in Korea), but A-boong takes it to a new level with their open-jawed fish. Stuffed inside its gaping mouth is a combination of ice cream, red beans, chocolate sauce, and even a skewer of chocolate fruit. Delectable… as long as you remember that no fish were tortured to make it happen! There are locations at Ewha University, Hongdae, Chuncheon, Ilsan, and Seongdong.
Aboong (Ewha University), 10, Ewha-yeodae 2-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul.
10. Animal Cupcakes and Cakes at The Menagerie
If animal desserts are your thing, The Menagerie is where you need to go. They have cupcakes and cakes in the shape of just about any cute little four-legged you could ever want. Buy a dozen and create your own little edible zoo! There are locations at Shinsegae Food Market in Cheongdam-dong and the Westin Chosun near City Hall.
The Menagerie, 87 Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul.
11. Water Droplet Rice Cake in Busan and Jinhae
We have yet to see this incredible dessert in Seoul – and based on the number of Instagram videos of curious people poking and tapping it, it’s still a novelty even in Busan and Jinhae. Called “mizu shingen mochi” in Japan, where it was originally created, this round, clear rice cake resembles the shape of a water droplet. Brown sugar syrup and soybean powder give it some taste, and the texture is said to be very delicate. Eat it quickly, as the cake only lasts a half hour before losing its shape!
Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival and at street stalls in Busan.
12. Cherry Blossom Bread at Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival
If transparent jiggling food isn’t quite your thing, then you’ll have to go for Jinhae’s must-eat delicacy – their cherry blossom bread. Available at many street stalls during their annual cherry blossom festival, this small cake with a filling made of red bean paste and cherry blossom extract (the latter which we suspect is actually more for show than for taste), is the must-eat and must-photograph food of the festival.
Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival . Also, be sure to check out our coverage of the festival for more cuteness!
What are your thoughts on these sweet treats: skip, photograph, and/or eat?
When it comes to desserts, melkimx tries to leave no stone unturned.