When I go to Hongdae, there are many draws: the soho shopping, bars, art shops, the Love Museum, Taco Bell – but in the morning, after I’ve recovered from a long yesterday of doing all of the aforementioned, there’s only one thing I want. Breakfast.
Specifically of the big brunch style with eggs, bacon, hash browns, and all the better if there’s sausages involved (that’s what she said).
And there’s only one place to find that – Travel Maker.
Ricky and I were let into this place’s amazing secrets through a mutual friend a few visits to Hongdae ago. When she said there was a “real” American breakfast place she knew, we were skeptical. After all, this is Korea which serves salad with morning eggs – with marmalade as dressing no less.
But she insisted.
So off we went until we saw the distinctive blue sign that was impossible to miss. It certainly looked quaint (and the sign on the window advertising “ALL DAY AMERICAN BREAKFAST” seemed bold enough to hook our interest), thus we ducked inside.
Immediately we were met with a classic diner style of the Southwest (or at least what I imagine Southwest diners to look like from what I’ve seen in TV shows). Pictures of desert highways hung crooked on the walls and a high counter occupied the middle of the room which was surrounded by cushioned private booths.
You order before sitting, so we went to the counter to look at their extensive menu. It’s a little on the pricey side – but be warned that you get what you pay for. This is a “warning” because honestly you will walk away from here so. full.
The classic breakfasts (8, 900W) offer scrambled eggs (only way eggs are served, sorry sunny side up lovers!), bacon, sausage, hash brown, and then a choice of either french toast, pancakes, or waffles. The latter is what makes you ridonkulously full – they are literally meals unto themselves.
If you order the breakfast combo (11, 500), you can also get coffee, tea, or juice.
Once your order is in, you can take your place at a table. If you want the booth/stool of your choice, however, you’re going to want to come earlier than 11am since Seoul starts waking up and prowling for hangover cures around then and this place gets packed.
On the table is the quintessential American basket of ketchup, salt, pepper, and hot sauce (two varieties!), and nearby is a sticky pot of syrup for pancakes/waffles/french toast. I can’t praise this setup enough because it’s just so rare to even see salt and pepper at a table setting in Korea. Things you take for granted in the West…
Drinks are served first. You might get halfway through these before the food arrives though because the kitchen is a little on the slow side, but rest assured your patience will pay off.
The scrambled of eggs they heap on each plate is probably equivalent to four eggs per person. Genuine grated potatoes pressed into a patty is what makes up your hash brown, and the bacon is smoked and chewy – the sausages crisp and juicy. The waffles/pancakes are served piping hot with a rectangle of melting butter and the french toast is sprinkled with powdered sugar. Once you pile on the ketchup and hot sauce, you forget you’re even in Asia it feels so much like home.
Although this little gem is somewhat out of the way (a 5 min walk from Hongik University subway stop’s exit 3), if you’re staying in the area like we were (at Trick Art Guesthouse), you’re a 5 minute walk away from a heavenly breakfast.
So far I’ve been there twice and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. If you’re in Seoul and missing American food, don’t waste time – it’s an all-day breakfast so you can literally drop in whenever you get those pancake cravings.