Korean Bakeries and Cafes

Growing Coffee Culture

Korea’s metro areas are filled with cafes on almost every corner. In Seoul, you can often find multiple chain shops within one block and their most popular chains have even expanded abroad to other countries. With impeccably clean interiors, friendly service, and tasty snacks and drinks, it’s no wonder cafe culture has made its mark in Korea.

Many cafes offer multiple levels of spacious seating–often times with electrical outlets so you can work off of their free Wifi. These coffee shops sprinkled along major streets have become popular places for students and young adults to park their laptops at. Due to its prevalence, many people from older generations have also adapted coffee drink habits.

The popularity of coffee consumption has been amplified by cafe endorsements and sponsorships by celebrities. Some chains will feature trendy actors or musicians on their storefront enjoying a latte or decadent piece of toast.

Korean Buns

Common Korean Bakery Items

  • Due to American influence during the Korean war, Koreans developed a unique appetite for cheese. Many pastries found in these bakery chains are topped off with cheese.
    • Pizza buns
    • Sausage buns
  • Toast was popularized internationally by Korean bakeries. This is not the thinly sliced bread with butter that is common in Western nations. Koreans made toast into a full meal by slicing bread into very thick pieces and adding sweet and savory toppings. Popular additions to toast are ice cream, ham, cheese, and fruit but not all together!

Korean Toast

  • Cakes are another favorite category of confectionary in Korea. These chains mass produce cakes that are made to look quaint and ready to eat.
  • Shaved ice is called patbingsu in Korean. Unlike snow cones in the U.S. where there are large chunks of ice with syrup, Korean patbingsu is made with flavored ice and has more of a snow consistency. The ice is fluffy and melts in your mouth almost instantly when it hits your tongue. Popular flavors of patbingsu are green tea, red bean, strawberry, or original which is made with milk. Ice cream, fruit, whipped cream, and syrup are some things that Koreans put on their patbingsu.



Other Helpful Info:

  • Many Korean cafes offer disposable water cups near drinking water spouts for self-service!
  • Most of these chains will give you a buzzer after you order so you will be notified once your order is ready for pick up.
  • Because these cafes aim to cater to an international customer base, their menus usually display English names as well as Korean