This past week has been filled with activities to do with settling into my area of Busan, near Nampo subway station in Jung-gu district. Learning where the supermarket is, understanding when restaurants serve their last meal and navigating the streets without the aid of Google Maps have been a few activities.
Two key accomplishments have been 1) locating trusty restaurants that offer good value food and 2) locating cafes with good work ambience. Scroll down for a recommendation from each category.
First, pork and rice soup at 한양왕순대돼지국밥
This homely restaurant specialises in dwaeji gukbap (pork and rice soup)
Having seen the word sundae used on a few restaurant displays in Busan, I assumed that the definition was not the dessert that McDonalds sells. Sundae, or soondae in fact, is a type of Korean blood sausage commonly enjoyed as a street food.
On a quiet spot in a street moments away from the giant Lotte Department Store Gwangbok, I found 한양왕순대돼지국밥 (copy and paste the Korean characters into your search engine). This is a humble, understated restaurant (as is the style of many mum & pop shops in Busan) specialising in pork dishes and Korean sundae.
For a price of 10,000 won (around 12 AUD), you can order Pork Soup with Boiled Pork Slices beautifully presented on the side. This meal, called dwaeji gukbap, is served with condiments including fermented shrimp (which you can add to the soup for extra flavouring), red pepper paste, white onions, raw garlic, radish kimchi and cabbage kimchi. The pork bone broth is lovely.
Then, a productive work session at Good ol' days cafe
22-2 Jungang-dong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Busan
Google Map link
This is a hidden-gem kind of boutique hotel that impresses you once you step into it. The cafe is located on the 1st and 2nd floors, the hotel is on the 3rd and 4th floors, and the rooftop lounge on the 5th. Good ol’ days is affectionately named and thematically presented – there are many photos of tourist attractions in Busan including Gamcheon Culture Village, Haeundae, Gwangalli and Seomyeon.
The owner of Good ol’ days is a photographer, and a guest can appreciate his passion from the little exhibitions in the cafe. There is a wall on the 1st floor filled with the efforts of local photographers. Looking closely, you can be inspired to visit different parts of Busan from their beautiful portrayal of the coastal city’s landscapes.
The 2nd floor of the cafe is perfect for digital nomads, couples or friends who’d like a well-maintained space to catch-up in. The wide windows let in lots of sunlight, there are couches that peer out into the neighbourhood, and there are even blankets provided. The balcony is nice to sip a coffee and have a conversation at.
Good ol’ days is an artfully presented hotel in the Jung-gu district, with a cafe on its 1st and 2nd floors. The building is a minute’s walk from Jungang Station, and a few minutes’ walk from Nampo Station. It’s a hidden gem to pleasantly spend an afternoon after your meal at 한양왕순대돼지국밥 down the street 😊