Photoblog: Cafe Onion (Seoul) / by Enoch Ho

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We're on holiday!

En route to spending time in Boston MA, we had a quick 6-hour layover in Seoul, so like any under-prepared traveller, we did some last-minute research at the airport and found an absolutely stunning coffee shop/bakery called Cafe Onion. Their first location in Seongsu-Dong is often lined with crowds longing for their baked goods and caffeine. With rustic interiors and a semi-abandoned industrial vibe, it's not a surprise that they're popular amongst the artsy crowd. However, it is their latest Mia-Dong location that has caught our eye.

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Nestled in the unassuming Mia-Dong neighbourhood north of Seoul, Cafe Onion found their second location tucked behind the main road of Dobong-Ro, and with just a small sign at the front, it's almost too easy to miss, but all that changes once you walk inside.

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The space is simply, breathtaking. The interior is intentionally barebones; industrial and minimal, yet with a very distinct modern twist. Upon entering, you're greeted with two distinct sides of the space, to your front/right is that industrial and minimal space, but the left space, undivided from the rest of the interior, is an ambient wall of light, as if it's a James Turrell installation. Along with a simple slow piano piece playing on loop, harrowingly echoing through your presence, the entire space feels like a modern museum exhibition. The entire experience is very zen-like, with a calming weight of peace as you sit and take it all in.

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Towards the back of this central space is the cafe/bakery area, where they serve up their famous pastries and a variety of carefully curated coffees. 

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We happily spent minutes watching the coffee steam rise from the cup, soaking in the environment and simply be present to the surrounding and our senses. Sight, smell, sound, touch and taste, they're all carefully considered. In fact, every corner of this shop is carefully considered, the shape, texture and details, broken bits and smoothened surfaces, satin glass and angled stools. It is truly a remarkable space. Here are the rest of the photos we took, just to give you a sense of what Cafe Onion has achieved, but really, nothing beats visiting in person, and despite taking us almost 2 hours to get there from the airport, it was well worth the trek.

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Cafe Onion

Address: 127-9, Mia-dong, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul

Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 - 22:00, Saturday to Sunday 10:00 - 22:00