On a sunny but windy Saturday, we trekked far into the wilderness of Line 4. We got off at 혜화 (Hyehwa) Station, which houses the infamous 대학로 (Daehakro). Think of this area as Korea’s version of off-broadway. Rising stars and aspiring artists practice their chops here while waiting for their big break.
We managed to score super discounted tickets for this one pretty popular musical called “Grandpa is a Superstar” which is about a grandpa whose love for dancing has him aspiring to be a superstar. Without much background knowledge of what we were getting ourselves into, we scurried along to pick up our tickets.
We arrived at a tiny booth in front of a tiny building. We look at each other and think, “This is pretty sketch.” But a mom and her kids are also hovering around the area waiting to pick up tickets so I think maybe we’re okay. The sign taped on the booth says we can’t pick up tickets until fifteen minutes before curtains open and we’re an hour early. Boo.
Coffee it is. We’re on the move again looking for the perfect place to not only get a good cup of joe but the perfect locale for a photo op. We come to 동숭동커피 (Dongsoongdong Coffee). The cafe is rustic with lots of wood, flowers, and cute trinkets. It embodied everything that I imagined a cafe at Daehakro to be. We get two cups of coffee to go because sadly, the place was poppin and there was nowhere to sit.
Exiled from the coffee shop, we wander around for food. We seem to be perpetually hungry and we conclude that it must be tapeworms… or just food addiction. I’m not sure. We are somehow running late now and have a good three minutes to stuff our faces so we decide on a 분식점 (bunshik jum), which is kind of like a Korean version of a deli, where you can grab food quickly and cheaply. We stand out the window of the deli eating some freaking delicious fish cakes (if you’re not Korean, you probably think we’re crazy but I promise this is both normal and awesome). We scarf down two sticks each (yes, it comes on a stick) and rush to pick up our tickets.
They lead us to a basement theater where seats are cute wooden benches. They seat us in the front row and the show begins. We had no expectations of what it would be like but before we know it, we’re laughing and bobbing along to the catchy tunes. It’s interactive and hilarious, so I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking to check out a low-key musical. The grandpa, who at random times clumsily breakdances, eventually makes it onto America’s got talent and the crowd beams with pride for him. We forget for a second that the actor is clearly not a grandpa and actually seems to be female. But no worries, it made it that much funnier.
Hungry once more and feeling all jazzed and excited from an unexpectedly good performance, we find ourselves at a Turkish restaurant. No pics because we were just too hungry. We move onto a wine bar and enjoy a glass of wine before heading back home.
It’s been a while since we’ve been back in this area, mostly because it’s so far and inconvenient to get to from where we live. But if you live in Seoul or are visiting Seoul, this is a great place to visit. It has a young, artistic, yet old-school charm that is a refreshing break from the plastic sheen and gloss of Gangnam areas.
You can find it on Line 4 at Hyehwa Station and if you want to check out “Grandpa is a Superstar,” you can find discounted tickets here.
Until next time!