Many of us stick to convenient online shopping. But sometimes, there’s nothing like hanging out at a mall or department store, especially when the weather is less than perfect.
I really enjoy going to department stores, not so much for the shopping, but for trying out their variety of restaurants. Beyond retail items, department stores in South Korea have a wide range of eateries, from quick bites to great sit-down meals.
Looking for something new, I recently made my way to the new seven-floor Lotte Department Store in Dongtan. It houses everything you you’d expect from a luxury shopping center, plus it boasts a renowned food section which will have gourmands salivating.
The department store is a 40-minute drive from Osan Air Base, but it is also connected to Dongtan Station, making it an easy 20-minute SRT train ride from Pyeongtaek Jije Station.
When you arrive at Dongtan Station, you will be on the B2 level. The exit there takes you into Lotte Department Store’s wonderful bakery Paris Croissants. The bakery and its huge dining area have a luxurious atmosphere and is a perfect place for brunch. Before or after you sample the delicious food at the bakery, you should check out the beautiful exhibition hall on the same floor. Throughout the year, a variety of exhibitions are held here. During my visit, lovely paintings were on display.
If you’re a lover of luxury brands go to the first floor, where you can shop for clothes, watches and jewelry from extravagant boutiques such as Dolce & Gabbana, Maison Margiela, Balenciaga and many others.
The second floor will draw you in with its perfume scent. Here, you can checkout high-end imported and Korean cosmetics, jewelry, and accessories. Find the latest women’s fashion lines on the third floor, while the fourth floor offers an endless selection of kids’ clothes. After buying your kids some clothes, don’t forget about your husband. On the same floor there is a men’s clothing section.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, the fifth floor is the place for you. This floor is packed with a wide-range of outdoor and sportswear shops are. Sixth floor offers stylish homewares, lighting, electronic appliances, and furniture.
If you’re not in the mood for shopping, head to seventh floor to enjoy the latest film releases at Lotte’s state-of-the-art cinema. Traveling with your pooch? Don’t worry. An outdoor dog playground called ‘Rookie Park’ is located outside the theater. There is no entrance fee for the dog park, but you do need to order a beverage. (Heads up: Dogs must be under 12kg to enter!)
To reach the Rookie Park, you need to get through WITHLAND, a one-stop pet shop where you can get everything for your furry friends. You can also play and dine with your dog in the outdoor area connected to the pet shop (this is a separate area from Rookie Park).
NEVER MAP: Never Map
• 160, Dongtanyeok-ro, Hwaseong-si (ENG)
• 경기 화성시 동탄역로 160 (KOR)
Hours: Mon – Thu 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fri – Sun 10:30 to 8: 30 p.m.
How to get there
• Camp Humphreys → Dongtan Lotte Department Store (50mins)
• Osan Air Base → Dongtan Lotte Department Store (30mins)
Jije Station (Pyeongtaek) → Dongtan Station
SRT (express train): 20mins (7500 won)
Foodie’s heaven: Food Avenue
Food Avenue, like that in other department stores, is the place to be if you’re looking for a good spot to grab some food. Here, a labyrinth of excellent and well-known restaurants, bakeries, sweetshops, cafes, and delis await. Below is a roundup of my favorite places to stop for a nice meal at Lotte Department Store.
D Lifestyle Kitchen
If you’re going low-carb, then head to the D Lifestyle Kitchen (디라이프스타일 키친). This European-style restaurant is beautifully decorated with elaborate chandeliers and furniture perfect for Instagram pics. The experienced chefs in the kitchen bring their years cooking up delicious eats in various Michelin Star restaurants, so you’ll be in good hands. If you plan to visit, you will need to make an online reservation in advance, or you might have to wait up to an hour to be seated.
Cuisine: Fusion, American, Mediterranean, Asian, Korean, Healthy
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., (Break time 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
Price range: from 20,000 to 50,000 won. (or $16.93 to 42.34)
Go to the online booking: (Korean only) http://naver.me/xH2Gj4v1
If after reading the name of this café you still weren’t sure, this is definitely a spot for matcha green tea lovers. Here, the Seoul-based chain, serves up all matcha sweets and drinks.
What sets this chain apart from others is that it uses ceremonial-grade organic matcha from Bosung. According to their webpage, the matcha powder is blended with no sugar, no artificial additives, no color, and is made of natural ingredients only. From green tea to ice cream, the small cafe boasts a rich matcha flavor that will leave you satisfied.
If you’re in the mood for Japanese food, head to Shushi- ISEI (스시이세이) on the second floor in the D-avenue section near the bridge. Shushi- ISEI has two omakase menus – lunch course at 50,000 won per person and a dinner course menu at 88,000 won per person. The course omakase consists of a daily selection of appetizers chosen by the chef, followed by a set of around 10 pieces of assorted sashimi and the chef’s daily dishes.
They also serve slightly less-expensive assorted sushi set options from 19,000 won to 33,000 won. If you’re looking for a quick bite, try futomaki, one of the top-selling sushi rolls. They also have rice bowl dishes such as kaisen-don and sake-don from 15000 to 35000 won.
For the omakase experience, you need to book a table by phone or booking app. You might need the help of Korean friends. Other than the omakase menu, they accept walk-in customers.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Break time 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.)
Booking: Tel: 0507-1495-3639 (KOR only)
App (KOR only)
Shake Shack Burger
If you’re craving a taste of home, head to this famous American burger chain on the first floor of D-avenue. Shake Shack has been serving up their delectable burgers, fries and shakes in Korea since 2016. Not much to describe here, Shake Shack’s burgers speak for themselves.
If the burger chain is not your cup of tea, check out The Co. 190. This burger joint serves up juicy hamburgers created by a famous chef who’s has been on Korean TV.
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m
When you’re done shopping, take a break at a hip café on the second floor of D -avenue street. Gentle Monster, known best as the Korean eyewear retailer, opened this foray into the food and beverage industry. Each chain café offers its own unique modern art exhibit making it look like a gallery.
As you can expect from the creative interior and trendy vibe, the unique cafe serves up desserts in imaginative and unexpected shapes–such as cakes shaped like a sardine can or parts of a face like an ear or nose. Most of the menu items looks like refined sculptures, but it’s edible bread!
Their top-selling items are Peak Cake (a black pastry crust filled with rich matcha cream), the Pine Cone (a white four-tier cake in the shape of a pine tree), and the Fog Cake (a treat covered with black-to-white gradient coloring).
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Roji Monster Ice Cream
This Taiwanese dessert chain offers shaved ice cream with googly eyes and mochi balls. The adorable ice cream comes in a variety of flavors, including matcha, milk, black sesame, and seasonal specials. Too cute to eat? Just quickly take a snap before digging in. The shop also does waffles, ice teas, and milk in many different flavors.
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (weekdays), 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (weekend)
Butterful & Creamorous
Be sure to stop by the Butterful & Creamorous (버터풀앤크리멀러스) and check out their tempting treats, including famous croissants made with high-quality French butter. Blueberry yogurt croissants and honey cream cheese croissants are the top-selling menu items in this bakery. One bite and you’ll fall in love with the flakey and buttery treats the bakery has to offer.