Itaewon becomes a new commercial hub of culture
November 20, 2011
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- Itaewon is a melting pot in Korea where people from all different nationalities gather and share their culture. Forming an international street since U.S. Soldiers were first stationed in Yongsan after the Korean War, Itaewon has gradually become the meeting spot of choice for people from all over the globe including the Western, Middle Eastern and Asian countries.
"A lot of different Westerners come here," said Ciera Jirouch, freshmen college student from the U.S. "We can also meet somebody from different countries that we've never been able to travel before. This antique street is really neat to look at and window shop and Itaewon also sells nice Korean clothes that are not ridiculously expensive."
Itaewon now has come to life as the new commercial hub of food, fashion and culture where anyone can experience the masterpieces of different countries. More than 100 restaurants and cafes represent 20 countries of the world and serve their traditional dishes. Signature artworks of those whom you may have heard of are also exhibited and open to the public.
"Itaewon has gone through major shifts in the past few years and it's quite different from how it looked ten years ago," said Jung, Kyung-hoon, Secretary-general of Itaewon Special Tourism Zone Association.
"Besides the International Food Street and Fashion Street, Hannam-dong Garosu-gil has undergone a major shift as a cultural hub in Itaewon as large scale buildings such as museums and multi-functional facilities open."
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Comme des Garcons flagship store, Japanese fashion label and Passion 5, grand scale bakery are shining examples on Hannam-dong Garosu-gil.
"I'd say Itaewon is very narrow so whichever alley you wander into, you can find restaurants and cafes with their own characteristics and colors," said Jung.
Jung also encouraged U.S. Soldiers and foreigners to visit Korean barbeque restaurants, known to many stationed at Yongsan as "beef and leaf" in the alley behind Hamilton Hotel. He also said custom tailor shops in Itaewon can provide on-site services and provide suits in just one day.