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Hello Kitty Cafe and Hongdae’s Theme Cafes

Hello Kitty Cafe

Exploring Seoul’s Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae

 A while back, I wrote a post about cafes and Koreans and the subject of breakfast. This is a followup on some of the cafes…

There’s nothing half-hearted about Korea.

When Koreans stage things like festivalstheme parks and museums… they do it enthusiastically and with full explosion!

You can add cute cafes to that list too.

Theme Cafes in Hongdae, Koreans and the ‘cute factor’.

Seoul’s Hongdae district is teeming with funky cafes and we’re not talking just Starbucks.  No. The hip and popular mecca of collegiate bars and restaurants, also houses ‘theme’ cafes from cute to off-beat. Maybe its because Koreans rewards ‘innocence’ and ‘virtue’ (over ‘adult’ and ‘sexy’) , that their culture strives towards all-things-cute.

From pet cafes, where you can sip on a latte as your cat or dog does their social romp to a Charlie Brown Cafe with Peanuts images drizzled on desserts, Hongdae’s  nooks offers some adorable ways to stay caffeinated.

bau house dog cafe

Above:  The Bau House Cafe for dogs!   Dogs are free to walk on tables and table hop. No entrance fee but rule is, you must purchase a drink. Charlie Brown cafe Hongdae, theme cafes in seoul korea   charlie brown cafe The Charlie Brown cafe in Hongdae

 

Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae

When my mom was visiting me over the Christmas holidays, she vigilantly wrote emails to my family back home. I’m posting a short excerpt of her café day, so I can take a break from writing:

“After lunch, we went exploring in Hongdae.  Chris bought me another thing for my hands, saying it was longer so it could go a little ways up above my wrists.

|  …it’s called “arm warmers”, Mom.

Even though Hongdae is known mostly for its social and night life than shopping, they have enough hair salons, street sellers  and clothes boutiques to distract you from your destination.  |

We found a place called Hello Kitty Cafe and went in to look around and take pictures. “

Hello Kitty Cafe seoul

Hello, Hello Kitty !Hello Kitty Cafe Seoul, theme cafes in seoul, theme cafes in asia Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae, Seoul     Hello Kitty Cafe desserts, Hello Kitty Cafe Seoul Hongdae, hello kitty cafe seoul, theme cafes in koreaAbove:   Counter with Hello Kitty cake desserts  ; Below:  hello kitty cafe loungehello kitty cafe seoul, theme cafes in seoul, theme cafes in asia hello kitty cafe lounge Going to the toilet

 

Why do Koreans always give you two spoons, if you’re clearly by yourself?

Koreans will always give you two spoons, even if  you’re clearly by yourself. You may ask yourself– why is this?

Well, the answer is that Korea is a ‘sharing’ culture, placing the idea of ‘community’ over the ‘individual’. From eating street food at a hawker stand and sharing a communal dipping sauce with strangers to friends dipping their spoons into the same soup bowl at dinner . Koreans share everything, to the point where if they had only one cookie, they’d break it in half and share it with you. 

street food korea, food hawkers in korea, food hawkers in asia, korean street food

Food hawker stall: The community bowl of dipping sauce is to be shared.street food korea, outdoor food vendors in korea asia Koreans stand at the stall and eat their food, often dipping it into the bowl of sauce.

So we got this dessert – a waffle with a Dairy Queen type lump of yogurt.   Anyway, it had a drizzle of strawberry syrup on it.  On the plate, in one corner, was a picture of Hello Kitty made with chocolate powder, so you could eat it!

We enjoyed our dessert.  Chris says there is a lot ‘o this waffle and ice cream things in Korea .

Read The Coffee Prince Cafe & the Korean breakfast 

 hello kitty cafe waffle dessert, korean waffle desserts, theme cafes in seoul,

Waffle dessert

 

Cafes for Pets

Hongdae is filled with cool cafes, but you must explore to find them.

“Leaving Hello Kitty café, we walked to a place that she said was the café for the K-drama show “Coffee Prince”. It was really small and somehow didn’t look like the café on the show, but they advertise it as the place.  Maybe it just looked bigger in the movie.

We found a place called Cats Living, a cat café (a blog review here).  Went to look.  Lots of cats of all kinds and people having drinks while the cats roam all over the place.  The man wanted to charge us 8,000 won entrance fee, so we left.”

cats living cafe seoul, cafe for cats in seoul

Cats Living, a cafe for cats! (although ‘Fuckfake’ looks equally interesting)

 

|    There are many gems tucked away in Hongdae. If you only  keep to the main streets or your focus locked solely on street-level, you’ll miss a lot.   There are many off-shoot alleyways and joints resting on second to third floors of buildings. 

For instance,  pet cafes like the Bau House (Dogmattica‘s map here), Tom Cat’s Cafe ( once a traveler‘s review here) or Cats Living (Korean website here) are discovered through looking up at the store signs, which climb along a building. My mom was right about the Coffee Prince cafe not looking like the original café of the show.  I did some research and found that ‘Tirimisu Cafe‘ is part of the franchised version that MBC built later. The real C.P. café is much larger and surrounded by trees (read arncyn’s Squidoo post).     |

hongdae

hongdaehongdae Restaurants upon restaurants coffee prince cafe hongdaeTiramisu Cafe , its newer, franchised sister is located near the Hello Kitty Cafe.

 Where to stay in Hongdae:

Tons of options in Hongdae for anyone’s budget. This neighborhood has everything from hotels to hostels. I’ve stayed at a hostel in this area, but didn’t love it enough to recommend it.

 

Related Posts:

10 Cool things to do in Seoul
Backpacking Seoul: Getting there from Daegu

How to make your own Korean drama film tour
Top 8 Things to Do in Jeju Island

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Additional information:

Download a pdf of the Seoul Metro map
download seoul metro map
Download free Korea travel apps:4 Essential iPhone/iPod Apps for Korea
Need to rent a phone or use yours in Korea, read here.

Have you been to any cute or quirky theme cafes?

 

20 Comments

  1. Karisa says:

    I secretly love Hello Kitty! I’d love to check out that cafe 🙂

  2. Looks like some cool & different places to visit, we might have to recommend some of these.

  3. Oh wow, those look like fun! I’d love to hang out at the Hello Kitty Cafe, not gonna lie.

    We have some beautiful cafes here in Cancun, but nothing like that. Although childlike innocence is the big thing in Mexico, as well. I see grown women wearing hair ribbons and bows at my office all the time 🙂

    • @Laura: Wish you would post some of that innocence in your blog. I’m aware there’s frilly gowns and dresses for quinciera parties and stuff, but that would be interesting to see.

  4. Dave says:

    There are zero cute cafes in Nepal … zero. Kinda glad too.

    Well maybe not. I only visited one cute(ish) cafe in Bangkok’s Chinatown. A milk bar.Okay it wasn’t as cute as some of the one’s you posted above. But it was as cute as it get for me.

    In fairness it was really nice. Super crowded, nice snacks, just out of my element.

    I see why people would like them. I really do. I’m just not that into themed places. Even in KTM I tried Rumdoodle where the Trekkers leave their mark on giant footprint cut outs. It’s nice for a one off but as a regular … nope.

    I certainly would like to try a Korean Hello Kitty Cafe out. Maybe match it up to a Japanese one?

    • @Dave: Did you leave your mark on the giant footprint? 😉
      I wouldn’t think this was your kind of post, Dave. LOL. Milk bar? That’s curious to me. Does it only serve milk products or does it have b&w cow patches with udders on the wall? Curious how they sell that. Similarly I don’t understand return visits. Then again, I don’t understand why I think this way. look at non-cutesy joints like Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, Coffee Bean… They’ve got probably similar menus as cutesy cafes but people frequent them… even more in fact. hmmm…

  5. Andrea says:

    Perhaps this is how they stay youthful? Sounds like fun! =)

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