Bukcheon, just north of the city centre, has changed quite a lot in the time I’ve been here. Five or six years ago it was a “hidden gem”, but now it’s anything but. Hordes of tourists stalk the streets with selfie sticks as tour guides squawk instructions at them. And, as usual in these situations, the rush to commercialise the area has destroyed quite a lot of its quirky appeal (see also the hanok village in Jeonju).
Still, there’s plenty to like around the neighbourhood, including this nice café, 5Cijung.
One of a small chain of establishments with the same name (other 오시정 cafés can be found in Gangnam, Seorae Maeul and at the Seoul Finance Center), it’s a bit cutesy for my personal taste, a bit too pretty for me really to feel comfortable. But in an area where there are a lot of cafés chasing the tourist dollar, this one does things a little differently.
The menu is quite extensive, with the usual teas, coffees and desserts all featuring.
Though the prices are typically steep for this part of town, most drinks here (certainly the teas and coffees) come with a complementary scone, which makes them pretty reasonable value.
To be honest the scones here are very good, served warm with a little bit of butter and fruit jam. I’ve paid a lot more in Seoul for a lot worse.
It’s probably this that’s kept me coming back here when I’m in the neighbourhood (usually when showing visiting friends round the city).
Of course the little figurines and flowers with your beverage make the whole thing instantly Instagrammable.
It’s a nice, bright space and usually not too busy, in contrast to the rest of the street it perches beside.
All in all, I like 5Cijung, despite its stupid name and slightly-too-perfect interior. Like a very beautiful woman, though, it’s perhaps easier to admire than to love; pretty, rather than sexy. But everyone’s taste in cafés is different and this may well arouse feelings in you that remained dormant in me. I will be back, though, next time I’m in the neighbourhood, to try some of their smoothies and other offerings.
- Category: Café
- Price: $$$$
- Must try: Any coffee drink comes with a free scone.
- Directions: Not the easiest place to find, the quickest way to get here is to walk up the right hand side of Gyongbokgung Palace and, after about five minutes take the third road to the right, heading up the hill into Bukcheon. 5Cijung will be on your left, across a small carpark, a couple of minutes further on.
- Hours: 11:30am – 11pm, seven days a week.