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Fruit Chapssaltteok 찹쌀떡 Dessert Caffe

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Chapssaltteok or in Korean 찹쌀떡 is a traditional Korean dessert made from glutinous rice and is considered a variant of Tteok 떡 (rice cake). This dessert has traditionally always been filled with sweet red bean paste, but today it can also be found filled with various fruits.

If you have already had the opportunity to try this dessert and you want to try it again or you are curious to try it for the first time, in Cheonan there is a caffe whose main specialty is the Fruit Mochi Chapssalttok.  So go ahead and try this delicious dessert with a soft and chewy texture.

모찌의 하루 / Mochi's Haru

Mochi’s Haru is currently the only dessert cafe offering a variety of fruit Mochi Chapssaltteok with sweet red bean paste in Cheonan. They also offer various beverage options on their menu such as fruit juices and milks, lemonade, smoothies.

 

The interior of the cafe is very comfortable and if it is the first time you plan to try a Chapssaltteok and you have no idea which of all the options to try, I recommend that you take advice from the staff. During my visit, they kindly advised me to try the strawberry and grape Mochi Chapssaltteok as they are the most popular.

MENU

   FRUIT MOCHI CHAPSSALTTEOK OPTIONS / PRICES :

  • STRAWBERRY – 2.500
  • GREEN GRAPE – 2500
  • PINEAPPLE – 2500
  • BANANA – 2500
  • MANDARIN – 2500
  • GRAPEFRUIT – 2500
  • BLUEBERRY – 2700
  • GOLDKIWI – 3000

OPENING HOURS / NOTES

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm.

If you buy more than 6 Chapssaltteok you can ask to get it in a medium box.

Chapssaltteok are a good gift choice for the Lunar New Year or Chuseok in Korea.

ADDRESS

  충남 천안시 서북구 불당26로, 122지번불당동 1494 2동 103호

# 103, 2-dong, 1494, Buldang-dong, 122, Jibeonbuldang-dong, 26-ro, Budang-gu, Seobuk-gu, Cheonan-si, Chungnam. 

   041-561-8889

Outdoor Fun In Cheonan

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With summer time almost ending, there are still a few more weeks to enjoy some outdoor fun before the cold winter months come. Korea has many outdoor parks and picnic areas that are free to use and great for families. This past weekend I visited Dandae Lake (단대호수) and experienced many of the activities that you can do for free!

Located in Sinbudong about a 10-minute walk from Shinshagae Department Store is Dandae Lake 단대호수. If you are into hiking, there is a big looping track that goes around the lake. If you are into exercise, the park has 4 different exercise areas. There is a basketball court with 4 basketball hoops. There is a badminton court with 2 nets. If you have a bike or roller skates, there is a full-sized roller rink that you can use. If you don’t want to pay for a gym membership, you can use a variety of exercise machines that will work your whole body.

After spending a full day biking, playing basketball, and hiking its easy to work up a sweat. Luckily, there are a variety of delicious cafes located next to the lake. One of the cafes I visited is Maris Coffee. Maris Coffee is both an outdoor and indoor cafe.  If you want to avoid the heat, there is plenty of seating in the air conditioning. Like many cafes in Korea, they are all very unique. This cafe has movie paintings and pictures along the walls.

One of the things I liked about this cafe was the outdoor terrance seating. There were 2 levels of outdoor seating. One of the levels had bean bag chairs facing the lake and the other level had long chairs for laying down and enjoying the view of the lake. The bean bag chairs were perfect for enjoying the sun set over the lake.

The cafe itself was very similar to many in Korea. Their menu offered a variety of coffee, lattes, milkshakes, tea, and fruit shakes. If you are hungry, the cafe offers lots of delicious cakes and ice creams. I got the ice cream when I went there, and it was delicious. I recommend the ice cream.

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Hydrangea Season at Beautiful Garden Hwasoomok

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Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers, so I was excited to try and track some down in Cheonan during jangma, or the rainy season. There is a lovely spot to enjoy them called Beautiful Garden Hwasoomok, where you’ll find not only hydrangeas but a host of other blooms, too.

I was excited when I saw a sign stating that entry to the gardens was free if you purchased something from the on-site cafe, so I went there first and got a peach smoothie (7000 won). They also have a range of other drinks and baked goods to choose from. The smoothie was delicious, and the decor at the cafe is really stylish – I especially loved the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. If you don’t purchase anything from the cafe, admission to the garden is 5000 won for adults, and 3000 won for children aged between 4 and 12 years.

The hydrangeas seem to be the star of the show at this time of year at Beautiful Garden Hwasoomok – there were a number of signs indicating where to find them. It’s worth noting that if you have mobility issues or if you have a child in a stroller, heading up to see the hydrangeas might be a bit difficult. They are situated on the side of a hill, so you have to navigate some uneven steps and unpaved trails that are quite steep. Keep that in mind if you’re visiting!

For those who climb right to the top, you get rewarded with some amazing views out over the surrounding area.

As well as the large number of hydrangeas at the garden, there are a host of other blooms to enjoy. Be sure to visit the two greenhouses – one has a range of different bonsai trees, and another is filled with tropical plants that typically wouldn’t survive in the normal year-round climate here.

Map Details for Beautiful Garden Hwasoomok are below, and you’ll find free parking on-site if you’re driving. If you opt to take public transport, hop on bus #310 from the Shinsegae Department Store bus stop. Alight at the Gyocheon-ri stop, and the garden is across the street. For more information about the gardens and on-site facilities available, please visit the Beautiful Garden Hwasoomok website here.

Twin Turtle Coffee: A Hidden Gem in Cheonan

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One of my favorite things to do is explore the peaceful countryside areas of Cheonan. We’re fortunate in this part of Korea that we can enjoy the best of both worlds – bustling city life, alongside the peace and tranquility of pristine nature. Recently I found an amazing coffee shop surrounded by absolutely gorgeous scenery, about 30 minutes drive from the Cheonan Bus Terminal. Twin Turtle Coffee is definitely worth a visit!

The first thing I noticed once we arrived was just how beautiful the grounds are. Before I even headed inside the coffee shop, I was charmed by the patio area which looked out to all of the lush greenery. The rainy season was a wonderful time to visit, as it was overcast and meant that the temperatures weren’t too high — and luckily for us it didn’t rain on the day we stopped by.

Alongside the spacious covered patio seating, there is plenty of indoor seating too. I loved the style of these seats!

The CEO and Barista of Twin Turtle Coffee, Kateryna, is originally from Ukraine, and met her husband here in Cheonan. She speaks Ukrainian, Russian, English, and Korean, which is extremely helpful in catering to a range of different guests. She spoke with my husband and I in English, and explained to us some of the coffee shop’s history. She even gave us a tour of the grounds – we were so thankful for her fantastic customer service!

In the photos above, you can see lotus plants and flowers, coffee plants, and Mugunghwa – a type of hibiscus flower which is the national flower of South Korea! I had a lot of fun exploring the plant life on the grounds. In fact, at the back of the coffee shop there is a giant lotus pond with a bridge that you can walk out over. It wasn’t fully in bloom when we visited, but we are hoping to visit again later in July to see them. I have no doubt it will be spectacular!

The coffee here was as fantastic as the views! I had a latte and my husband had a cappuccino, which we both enjoyed alongside the complimentary Twix bars on our tray.

If you’re after a delicious coffee in some incredible natural surroundings, with super-friendly customer service, I highly recommend a trip to Twin Turtle Coffee. Be sure to leave some time to explore the area as it truly is beautiful!

Map Details for Twin Turtle Coffee can be found below. Free parking is available right out the front. Also, feel free to follow them on Instagram via the link here!

A colorful trip to Taehaksa Temple

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There are many interesting temples to check out across the Cheonan area, and one of the most well-known is Gakwonsa Temple, famous for having Korea’s largest statue of Buddha. It is a popular spot for local residents and visitors alike because of this, and because it’s not too far from downtown Cheonan – but sometimes it’s nice to explore cultural spots that are a little more hidden.

I recently visited the Taehaksan Recreational Forest with my wife and two young children, and while we were there we heard the noise of some prayers or chanting over a loudspeaker. Following the sound, we made our way along some paths that led us to Taehaksa Temple.

Since moving to Korea, I have been fascinated by how colorful the temples are here. I did some research into it, and the traditional decorative coloring has a name: dancheong, or 단청. The origins of this kind of decoration can be traced back to cave paintings and wall paintings from over 20,000 years ago, and Taehaksa Temple is a great example of the style. You’ll find some really beautiful artwork on the temple walls, which is worth taking some time to appreciate.

Another interesting thing about this temple is the way it’s built – it’s set back into the face of a mountain, so there are a lot of large boulders surrounding it. I thought it was neat to see what looked like an offering placed between a couple of the large rocks.

This was also my first time seeing Korean prayer tiles. I couldn’t read them to know what people were praying for, but I hope that their prayers were answered.

I’d like to re-visit the temple here on a day that wasn’t so warm so that I could explore more – our children were tired from the hike to get there so we unfortunately didn’t stay too long. If you’re in the area visiting the recreational forest, or you simply want to appreciate a quiet temple where you’ll likely be the only guest, this is a great spot to do that.

For Kakao Maps users, a link to Taehaksa Temple can be found here. If you’re using Google Maps, see the pin below.

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Connecting with Nature at Taehaksan Recreational Forest

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Ever since the coronavirus became such a global cause for concern, my wife and I have been trying to find alternative ways of getting out of the house and keeping our children occupied. Many of those options have been outdoors, where we can keep a level of social distance from others but still have fun. If you have children who enjoy outdoor play, the Taehaksan Recreational Forest in Cheonan offers a great opportunity to connect with nature in a peaceful outdoor setting.

The recreational forest is set up like an adventure playground in the wilderness. There are plenty of places for children to climb, practice their balance, and really embrace all that the great outdoors has to offer. We saw plenty of families with young children at the park, setting up picnic blankets and having some lunch. It seems that you can also camp at the site to extend the forest experience, but advance bookings are required. You can book a space online at their website here.

Because the recreational forest is so leafy and green, it’s a great spot to visit even on warm summer days. It was around 30 degrees Celsius on the day we visited, and the shade cover within the park grounds made it feel substantially cooler than the temperature would let you believe. Just make sure you bring some drinks and snacks – there is a cafe across the street, but if you need a convenience store you’d have to drive to reach it.

The Taehaksan Recreational Forest is also an enjoyable place to connect with some of Korea’s culture, as there are a couple of temples in reasonable walking distance from the main play areas. We enjoyed exploring those as well.

Public restrooms are available on site, and there is a free parking lot across the street. As this spot is a little out of the way, driving to the venue is recommended. For Kakao Maps users, follow this link for a map. A Google Maps pin can be found below.

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Pino Cafe: A caffeine fix close to nature

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My family and I visited Cheonan’s Taehaksan Recreational Forest recently, and while we were there we found a pleasant cafe just across the street. Pino Cafe has a range of eats and drinks on offer, complete with a scenic view of the area’s stunning nature.

The menu here is only in Korean, however the barista communicated with me in English. In fact, we connected because he had taken a working holiday to my home country of Australia – so don’t fret if you don’t speak or read Korean. I opted for a simple vanilla latte which was served alongside a piece of salted caramel chocolate – a welcome addition!

Alongside the drinks, you’ll find main meals, light snacks, and sweets on offer too.

The interior of Cafe Pino is very warm and inviting, with exposed brick walls and pretty pendant lights hanging from the ceiling. The large windows let a lot of light in and showcase the natural beauty of the area, so I recommend sitting at the table by the front window. In fact, the barista told me that the seat I chose is the most popular spot in the cafe with patrons! When I visited though, all of the other customers were sitting outside and appreciating the great weather – next time I think I’ll take their lead and do the same.

Another fun thing about a visit to Pino Cafe is the cute outdoor photo opportunities they have set up. There’s a bright green swinging loveseat (perfect for couples!) and a wall adorned with colorful flowers that would be an Instagrammer’s heaven! Be sure to snap a few pictures when you visit.

A caffeine fix at Pino Cafe is the perfect pick-me-up before or after your exploration of the Taehaksan Recreational Forest. You can find map details for the cafe below, and a large on-site parking lot is available.

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A trip to Pungse Coffee

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One thing I love about living in Korea is all of the amazing coffee shops you can find here. I’ve visited quite a few already – I’m a big coffee drinker – and one of the most unique ones I’ve come across is right here in Cheonan! It is a little off-the-beaten-path, but it’s well worth the visit. Pungse Coffee is a coffee shop located in a hanok, a traditional type of Korean dwelling.

Now, when I say off-the-beaten-path, I mean that you’re likely going to need a car to get there. It’s in quite a rural part of Cheonan with picturesque rice fields and mountains all around it, but I think that just adds to how wonderful the experience is. The road leading to the coffee shop is only one car wide, so be ready to potentially have to reverse if another car is oncoming!

Before I even headed inside, I was captivated by just how beautiful the hanok is. If I could envision my dream house, I’d love something in this style. When I ordered, I chatted with one of the baristas as he was making my coffee, and he told me the hanok is 150 years old. You really feel like you’re stepping into a piece of history.

My visit was on a warm Sunday morning, so I opted for a simple iced Americano to cool down with. The prices are a little higher than what I would expect from other coffee shops (my iced Americano was ₩7000), but I do think that for the ambience you get here that it’s worth the price. You’ll find both indoor and outdoor seating – I opted to sit outside and soak up the stunning views, but inside is just as beautiful. I loved the exposed beams of the hanok’s ceiling, and the chandelier hanging from them really added an extra level of charm.

This cafe is also the kind of place that really considers the little details in design. The water dispenser was set on a cabinet piled high with pretty dishware, and the tables inside were decorated lovingly with rustic charm. I couldn’t stop myself from taking pictures!

It’s worth noting that the menu here is in Korean only, so you may need to use Google Translate to work out what you want to order. There are your standard coffee options of Americanos, Cafe Lattes, and Cappuccinos, alongside various teas and some bakery items. The carrot cake they had available looked delicious – I’ll remember to save space for it next time!

Map details for Pungse Coffee can be found below, and for those of you who may be wondering, on-site parking is available. I hope if you visit you’ll enjoy the atmosphere as much as I did – I’ll definitely be returning sometime soon!

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Hyanggyo, A Trip Back to an Old Korean School

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Let’s take a look back at one Korean school during the Goryeo and Joseon Dynasty

The Korean public school went online recently. Official school year should have started last March but was delayed because of the recent COVID 19 epidemic. This is totally unprecedented and seems inevitable at this time but the government decided to start the school year — online. This is the NOW but let’s have a look back to how it was a hundred years ago. We’ll share a bit of it through Hyanggyo (향교), an educational institution at that time. One can still find the old buildings of Hyanggyo in Cheonan.

Hyanggyo in History

Hyanggyos were first established during the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392 A.D.) It is a part of the Confucian-based education (during King Seongjong’s reign) even though the country’s official religion was Buddhism at that time. 

King Taejo (1392-98 AD) specially supported it during the Joseon Dynasty. It served as the secondary level of academic institutions for the children of the elite upper-class called yangban in the rural areas. These children would usually start at Seodang, the primary level before moving up to Hyanggyo in the rural area or Sahak in the more urban setting. 

Currently, there are three Hyanggyos that you can still find in Cheonan. There is one each in Mokcheon,  Jiksan, and Dongnam-gu. The last one is more popularly known as Cheonan Hyanggyo. This time, we will cover the Jiksan Hyanggyo in the northern part of Cheonan City, near Pyeongtaek. 

What’s there to see?

Hyanggyo is usually composed of a lecture hall (명륜당), dormitories (서재, 동재) and a shrine (대상전) for Confucian ancestral rites. The first thing that one will have to pass through is the hongsalmun  (홍살문, a gate for entering a sacred place with two round poles set vertically and two transverse bars on it. The outer gate with a wooden door and roof will be next in order to actually get in the school complex. 

The lecture hall is what you will see right after stepping inside, with the Seojae (사재) on the left and Dongjae(동재) on the right.  

Further uphill behind the lecture hall is another set of steps leading to the inner gate or naesangmun (내상문). The main hall at the other side of these gates is called Daeseongjeon (대성전) where ancestral tablets are usually kept at that time.

*There are also hanging boards with phrases sharing the history of Jiksan Hyanggyo and other documents about Confucian scholars which are currently kept at the lecture hall.  

*Now, once you’re done soaking up the ambience of the old school with trees and a small hill just behind it, there’s an added bonus for a history buff. There is a Shrine of King Onjo, founder of Baekje and the third son of Jumong, who is the first king of Goguryeo, just next to it. Although this was already built in modern times based on some historical records, it was believed to be originally 2 kilometers North East away from the current site. The original one was burned during Japan’s second invasion in 1597. 

Well, isn’t that a little bit overwhelming for a quick look back at history? I am pretty sure that Korean students NOW will be learning more of it as they go online to study from the comforts of their houses. Korean schools have come a long way. 

And speaking of ways, how do you get to Jiksan Hyanggyo? 

From Cheonan Bus Terminal 

A direct bus ride from Cheonan Bus Terminal will roughly take 40 minutes including a 10 minute walk after getting off at Goondong2ri bus stop (#1355). It is located in a rural neighborhood with vegetable and animal farms nearby so do not be surprised if you get lost and see such. However, the city government has recently improved the roads and scenery by painting some murals on the walls of the private houses and commercial buildings leading to it.

If you will be driving, North Cheonan IC is the nearest access from Gyeongbu Expressway.

 직산향교 

충남 천안시 서북구 직산읍 군서리 164-1

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Art space in Dujeong-dong : J Gallery & Art Hall

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Looking for new and innovative options of art centers in Cheonan?

An art center fulfills a cultural function of spreading the artist’s talent with the presentation of its works to the public. In Cheonan there are art centers mostly in busy areas like Shinbudong, but now it is time to discover new spaces full of culture and contemporary art in an area like Dujeongdong. 

J Gallery & Art Hall| 제이아트센터

The ¨ J Gallery & Art Hall¨ or in Korean 제이아트센터 located in the Dujeong-dong area it is an multicultural art space that opened its doors in June last year. Since that time this Art Center has been offering a variety of interesting contemporary art exhibitions created by great Korean artists.
When you arrive at the "J Art Hall" building go directly to the seventh floor, where the exhibition hall or art gallery is located to enjoy the exhibition that is taking place..
Opening Hours: Monday- Friday 10am - 7pm, Saturday and holidays 10pm - 5pm, Sunday 1pm - 7pm.

CURRENT EXHIBITION /  WITH YOU  

 Currently the exhibition “WITH YOU” is displayed, titled in this way to convey a warm and   hopeful message to the family month of May. This colorful and artistically diverse exhibit   features the works of talented artists Kim Seon young (김선영) and Lee Sang Ha (이상하).   ¨With You ¨ is open from Monday, April 27 to Sunday, May 31 and the admission is completely free.

OTHER ENVIRONMENTS 

After seeing and enjoying the exhibition you can enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner on the eighth floor or if you prefer a drink down to the first floor where the ¨DAIN¨ cafeteria is located, also here you can find more works of art that are part of the exhibition that you also have to see.

GET THERE 

ADDRESS : 

7F J Gallery & Art Hall , 5-15 Neulpurun 6-gil, Seobuk-gu, Cheonan-si, Chungnam

충남 천안시 서북구 늘푸른6길 5-15 제이아트센터 7 층

  041 – 585 – 2060 , 010 – 4850 – 0994

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