Round at Haeundae Grand Hotel
After being served three tiers of savory and sweet bite-size morsels and a pot of tea in this charming cove, you’ll forget that you’re across the street from the ocean. With both the menu selection and music consistently classical, you’ll even forget what season it is. I guess what I’m saying is you should go here to get away, as it offers the perfect atmosphere for quiet reflection.
Price range: 42,000 won for two people
Opening hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m., daily
Contact: 051-740-0611, 217 Haeundae Beach Road, Haeundae-gu
Lounge at Park Hyatt
The afternoon tea set at Park Hyatt Hotel is as lively as the view. Full-length windows extend from the floor to the ceiling, offering one an awe-inspiring view of the ocean from the 30th floor. The theme changes every two months, ranging from chocolates to fruits. There is a selection of small savories, sandwiches, homemade scones and assorted pastries. Add premium champagne if you’re feeling extra indulgent.
Price range: 60,000 won for two people; 105,000 won includes two glasses of champagne
Opening hours: 2-6 p.m., Mon-Sat; 3-6 p.m., Sun
Contact: 051-990-1300, 51 Marine City, 1-Ro, Haeundae-gu
Panorama Lounge at Westin Chosun
Westin Chosun is Busan’s first five-star hotel and the place to stay for most VIPS and dignitaries. They’ve been teasing me with the promise of an afternoon tea set (something their Seoul counterpart offers), and when that wish is granted I may never leave. Until then, we can order tea and pastries a la carte. Tables circle like covered wagons around a transparent Grand piano, an exotic aquarium and a majestic glittering chandelier. With oceanfront windows, the entire area is beautifully lit.
Price range: 11,000-50,000 won (approx.)
Opening hours: 8 a.m.-midnight, daily
Contact: 051-749-7435, Dongbaek-ro, Haeundae-gu
The Lounge at Lotte Hotel
Seomyeon is an area of Busan that never seems to sleep, as its bright lights never go out. At the center of this noise and excitement is Lotte Hotel. Their lounge has an open floor plan with a square theme: square tiles, square windows, square tables and chairs, and square bookcases. The menu is distinctly outside the box, though. Here you will find the greatest selection of teas, including black, herbal, iced and traditional. If you also want to indulge in coffee and price is no concern, this is the only place I’ve found in Busan that serves Indonesian kopi luwak, or civet coffee, in which the seeds of coffee berries were once eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet.
Price range: 17,000-78,000 won (approx.)
Opening hours: 7:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m., daily
Contact: 051-810-6430, 772 Gaya-daero, Busanjin-gu
Nae Go Hyeong Jun Tong Chat Jib (내고형전통찻집)
If you’re looking for something distinctively less Western, go to this busy teahouse located near the well-known Yonggwang Bookstore in Seomyeon. The place is constantly bustling with older Koreans slinging business deals and gossip. Maneuver yourself around the numerous pots and into a papasan chair of sorts. The menus are stained and peeling off the walls, but that’s part of its charm. Lightly sweetened and seasoned with clean-tasting ginger and aromatic jujubes from Korean tradition, these medicinal teas have an interplay of sharp and rich flavors that seem to evolve with each sip. If you can speak Korean, the workers will talk your ear off on the benefits, ignoring the dubious look on your face. For example, unprompted, I was told that omeeja-cha was good for colds and diarrhea, but daechu-cha would be good for my stomach, skin and insomnia.
Price range: 5,500-6,000 won
Opening hours: noon-7 p.m., Mon.-Sat.
Contact: 051-809-2789, 259-3 Bujeon 1-dong, Busanjin-gu
Da Hae Jeong (다해정)
Flickering candles warm each cup at this tranquil haven, accented with cushy seats and the sweet smell of black tea. Pu-erh tea (보이차) is what is most often sold in Korean teahouses, but I have to say that this one is the best. I recommend allowing the shop owner to do the two-step tea-steeping process for you. Her hands expertly pour hot water among several bowls as she just as quickly questions you about where you’re from and what you do. Be prepared to order and converse only in Korean. Tea is served with various Korean snacks, such as crystallized ginger and sweet potato pastries. You’ll find this place on the second floor in an alley that is across from the Yongdusan-Park escalators in Nampo-dong.
Price range: 5,000-10,000 won (approx.)
Opening hours: 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Mon.-Sat.
Contact: 051-242-7211, 4 Nampo-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu
Café Ogada (오가다)
To be upfront, this place is part of a chain all over Korea, but there are only two in Busan and the view at the Gwangan location is stellar, as it is directly across the street from the beach. The slogan “Korean Tea & Time” is difficult to decipher, but their menu is not. With minimal or no Korean skills, one can easily order fun teas flavored with pomegranate, ginseng, asian pear and more.
Price range: 5,000-11,000 won (approx.)
Opening hours: noon-11 p.m., Tues.-Sun.
Contact: 070-7749-7432, 196-3 Suyeong-gu Gwangan-dong, Miraena Hotel 2nd floor
Da Jeon (다전)
This is more popularly known as a vegetarian restaurant, but the name actually translates to ‘tea field.’ I even have a non-vegetarian Korean friend who claims that this restaurant serves the best bibimbap he’s ever eaten because the ingredients in the charcoal bowl are so good that they don’t need meat. The restaurant boasts the motto “be veg, go green, save the planet” while also advertising as proponents for organic farming. Takeout cups of tea are a bit cheaper, but if you have time, I suggest having a seat. Da Jeon is located on the 4th floor, above WA Bar, behind the Seomyeon Lotte Department Store.
Price range: 3,000-11,000 won (approx.)
Opening hours: noon-11 p.m., Tues.-Sun.
Contact: 051-808-6363, 240-12 Bujeon 2-dong, Busanjin-g
Hana Bang (하나방 전통다원)
The interior of this teahouse is similar to most Uzbek restaurants in Korea: comfy, multi-patterned seating around big tables. Their menu has a lot of range. They serve black, medicinal and flower teas. And, while their staff doesn’t speak English, they do have a printed menu with several pictures.
Price range: 5,000-10,000 won (approx.)
Opening hours: 10 a.m.-11 p.m., daily
Contact: 051-806-0011, 516-2 Bunji Bujeon 2-dong, Busanjin-gu
Yeo Ui Ga (여의가)
If Studio Ghibli designed a teahouse, this would be it. It is a two-story cabin with large windows, surrounded by perpetually blue skies and green mountains. Every dish and mug is expertly laid out. Portions are large, with fresh ingredients and vibrant colors. Keep in mind that this location is far north of Busan-proper and would require a car to get to.
Price range: 7,000-11,000 won (approx.)
Opening hours: 10 a.m.-10:50 p.m., Tues.-Sun.
Contact: 051-727-0740, 934-2 Dalsan-ri, Jeonggwan-myeon, Gijang-gun
You can read more from Stacy on her blog, Stacy Laughs.
The Latest Haps
The country’s top court has sentenced a South Korean man to 12 years in prison for attempting to murder the U.S. ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert.
The Kim Young-ran anti-graft law is taking in effect starting today. The law aims to prevent government employees and various officials from receiving bribes.
Busan Subway Lines 1, 2 and 3 have begun emergency services today due to a general strike of the Busan Metro Labor Union.
Schedules are up, books are printed and available, and tickets go on sale this Thursday at 2 p.m. It’s time to pull out the scratch pad and start planning your week.
Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart have been confirmed as guests for the 21st Busan International Film Festival.
Cancer remained the leading cause of death in South Korea in 2015, with fatalities from pneumonia rising sharply amid a rapidly aging population, government data showed Tuesday.
The speed limit on main roads in Busan’s downtown might be lowered to 50 km per hour, which is 10 km less than the previous speed limit.
The 6th Seomyeon Medical Street Festival is starting on September 30th.
The Busan International Food Expo 2016 will be held in BEXCO from October 6th to the 9th.
Pei Wei Asian Diner is set to open a location in Busan by the end of 2017 according to a company press release.
A new survey by MasterCard shows that Seoul is once again the 10th most popular city for travel in the world.
Busan’s neighbor to the north has a lot going for it for a fun weekend that’s not so far from home.
While many head to Thailand in search of its magnificent culture, Chiang Mai is a great place to start and one of her best offerings are her awesome temples, known as “Wats”.
North Korea’s goalkeeper gives up one of the worst goals ever — to the opponent’s goalkeeper in an AFC U-16 championship match.
A 29-year-old woman was seriously injured this month when a bungee jump operator failed to secure her rope to the safety hook.
Suyeong-gu Office runs the Stand Up Paddle Board Academy at Gwangalli Beach in September and October.