Sunday, 8 March 2015

The poop cafe, Seoul

There are a lot of cafes and tea shops in the tourist area of Insadong, central Seoul. Some of them serve traditional Korean herbal teas. Some brew excellent coffee. Some of them have a rooftop view. But only one of them, that I know of, is poo themed.




Go up to the top level of Insadong's SSamzigil (the boutique complex with a staircase that spirals up around a square coutyard), and you will see a nice-looking cafe. On closer inspection, you will notice that the windows are adorned with delicate drawings of cartoon poo. Inside, the theme is continued, with a display of antique chamber pots, and a squat toilet set into the floor among seating area.

This Poop Cafe is just one example of Korean culture's apparent obsession with excrement. There's also the toilet museum in Suwon, the 'poo bread' hotcakes you can sometimes find at street food stalls, and an exhibition titled 'The Scoop on Poop' which is currently running at the Children's Museum. Indeed, Korean culture positively celebrates this basic bodily function.

Lift the lid ... What's inside?
Oh! It's poo!
The strange thing about this cafe is that it doesn't take its theme to extremes, so at a glance it just looks like a regular, rather tasteful and well-lit cafe, and it isn't until you look closely that you notice the odd scattalogical decorations here and there. I was hoping for a hilarious toilet-themed coffee drinking extravaganza, but instead it was just a pleasant break from Insadong shopping, with just a little added chuckle.

The poop cafe is on the top level of SSamzigil

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