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Hongqiao’s Korean cafes offer taste of Seoul
2016-03-10
By Zhu Jing

Hidden away in an unassuming corner of Hongqiao Town, one finds a cornucopia of Korean-style cafes, restaurants and boutiques. Shanghai Daily recently visited this thriving enclave to check out three of the area’s most popular independent coffee shops.

Tyche’s Coffee

Tyche’s Coffee was co-founded by its Korean owner and his Chinese partner two years ago. Occupying two stories, the café provides quiet and spacious indoor seating on comfy sofa chairs. There’s also an outdoor seating area as well as a separate smoking area on the second floor.

One of the first things that strikes many visitors to Tyche’s is its well-appointed interior. In fact, this exquisite decor — designed by the owner himself — has made the café a popular filming location for film and television crews.

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Tyche’s Coffee offers a wide range of food and drinks, most of which are made fresh on site in its open kitchen. The hand-drip coffee is priced at 38 yuan (US$5.83) and comes highly recommended. One serving is 400ml, enough for two cups.

Single origin beans on offer include Guatemala Antigua, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, Kenya AA, Colombia, and Indonesia Mandheling. Beans are roasted in-store daily.

The Indonesia Mandheling has a full body with noticeably low acidity. If you prefer a stronger chocolaty aftertaste, opt for the Guatemala instead. The dark roasted coffee grounds give off a pleasant aroma, while the dripped coffee has a well-balanced taste with a strong nutty flavor.

For milk-based coffee lovers, the Dutch latte (46 yuan) is a wise choice. Dutch coffee, also known as cold-brew coffee as it’s made using coffee grounds steeped in cold water, includes a shot of milk with optional sugar syrup.

The Dutch coffee taste is much stronger than with a normal iced latte due to the concentrated coffee. Tyche’s uses different beans for its Dutch coffee every day. If you’re looking for a specific bean, ask before you order.

The café also provides quality food ranging from Patbingsu, a popular Korean shaved ice dessert topped with fruit, to traditional waffles, salads and creative toasts.

The staff are ready to accommodate those with special dietary requirements and food allergies.

Packed beans are sold at 38 yuan for 100g. Drip coffee bags (10 yuan each) and gift sets are also available.

Also of note is the coffee lab located upstairs. The café as well as the lab are available to rent for private functions or workshops. Advanced booking is required.

Tyche’s Coffee is running a couple of promotions at present. Until noon, customers who buy two Americanos can get one free.

A complimentary drip-coffee bag is also available with every hand-drip coffee order.

Last but not least, there’s a miniature indoor “garden” featuring a variety of succulent plants — all of which are on sale.

Address: D2-3, 2889, Hechuan Road
Tel: 5433-3280
Opening hours: 8am-12am


CAFFE MOVEON

Occupying a corner on a busy junction in Hongqiao Town, CAFFE MOVEON features two vast high-ceilinged floors and an ample outdoor seating area.

Inside, there’s a large framed mirror that serves as a backdrop for the first floor. The seats are comfortable and there are plenty of different styles of chairs and tables to choose from.

Those looking for a quiet refuge though, be warned: this place is popular and can get pretty noisy. Plus the intersection outside means there’s usually plenty of street sounds wafting in.

Although all cakes are outsourced, CAFFE MOVEON still offers many freshly made items such as fruit yoghurt smoothies, patbingsu, waffles and pastas.

There are many creative drinks on the menu. The Dutch coffee is 30 yuan (US$4.60) and comes recommended if only for its unique presentation. The whole thing looks like a chemistry set, complete with test tubes and beakers of milk, ice and filtered water.

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If you’re feeling adventurous, try the coffee with the ice cubes only. Some may find the strong chocolaty taste too overwhelming. If so, add water and milk until you find the taste that’s right for you.

And if you don’t feel like mixing and matching, there are always standards like the regular latte and Americano.

CAFFE MOVEON will launch its new restaurant next door this month.

Address: 2880, Hechuan Rd
Tel: 3358-0717
Opening hours: 8am-12am


Wid Café

It’s hard to find Wid Café as it is hidden in a corner of the second floor in Seoul Plaza. Although some tables are quite close to each other, the café provides stylish seating areas including a separate room with very Korean-style tatami seats.

It is quite busy at weekends for its friendly environment and a wide collection of food and drinks. The café has separate Korean and Chinese menus, which are actually just pieces of A4 paper. (No worries, some items are written in English as well.) The food and drinks orders are taken separately.

Ranging from coffee to smoothies, the beverages menu includes traditional Korean tea (23 yuan) such as citron tea and patbingsu (58 yuan). Its signature iced Dutch coffee (30 yuan) is highly recommended. You will be amazed at its dark chocolate-like taste as the concentrated coffee (using beans from Guatemala) has such a rich body with a nutty flavor. As the beans for Dutch Coffee varies day by day, ask before you order if you are less adventurous. Single origin beans from Ethiopia Yirgecheffe, Panama, Guatemala Antigua, Costa Rica and Kenya AA are on offer for hand-dripped coffee.

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As many Korean coffee shops are known for their waffles, so is Wid Café. Although the presentation of the dish is less appealing, a bite of the waffle cake could melt your heart away. The almond-flavored waffles contain small bits of walnuts and cassia barks though the latter is hardly noticeable. The café also put a selection of Korean street food on it menu, such as Kimbap (Korean-style sushi roll) and Tteokbokki (Korean fried rice cakes).

Customers are eligible for a discounted drink choosing from Americano, latte, Dutch coffee and Dutch latte with each food order.

The café roasts coffee beans on a regular basis. The price of packed beans ranges from 45 yuan to 60 yuan for 100g depending on the origin. The shelves in store display many coffee makers and accessories for sale. If you are interested in coffee making and roasting, Wid Café has some courses available upon request.

Address: 2/F, Seoul Plaza, 1000 Hongquan Rd
Tel: 189-3059-6289 (delivery available)
Opening hours: 9:30am-9pm


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