Ex­plor­ing Seoul; Fitzroy’s best street; the Chi­nese Grange.

THE KOREAN CAP­I­TAL – PILED HIGH WITH HIS­TORY, HIGH-RISES, AS WELL AS IN­VEN­TIVE FOOD, FUN AND A LIB­ERAL HELP­ING OF DAILY HAND GES­TURES.

GQ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

You could al­most feel sorry for Seoul. Al­most. It’s a thriv­ing Asian me­trop­o­lis in its own right – a place of ex­quis­ite food, pump­ing bars, high fash­ion and low fuss, and yet the Korean cap­i­tal some­how es­capes most trav­ellers’ no­tice who are side­tracked by flashy neon up­starts like Tokyo and Shang­hai. The thing about Seoul, how­ever, is that anonymity is part of its charm. This is a city that’s recog­nis­ably sim­i­lar, and yet so dif­fer­ent, from its Asian neigh­bours. Yes, the food’s amaz­ing – Miche­lin just re­leased its first Red Guide to the city’s restau­rants – but the flavours are unique. The shop­ping, too, is world class, but there’s plenty you’ll find in Seoul that you won’t see in Ja­pan or China. And the city’s bar scene, from the K-pop mad­ness of Hong­dae to the glitz of Gang­nam, is some­thing all of its own. Seoul is by no means filled with world­fa­mous at­trac­tions of im­me­di­ate in­ter­est. There’s no Eif­fel Tower or Syd­ney Opera House equiv­a­lent. Rather, this is a city whose charms take time to un­cover, whose small rit­u­als like bath­house vis­its, bar­be­cue feasts and soju-soaked evenings at hole-in­the-wall dens re­quire pa­tience to both find and truly ap­pre­ci­ate. That’s not some­thing to feel sorry for, ei­ther, it’s some­thing to savour.

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