25 November 2004


I have absolutely NO fashion sense. To me, being fashionable means wearing matching colored socks to work. I would thus make an ideal candidate for the Queer Eyes' Fab 4. Notwithstanding that, my warped fashion sense shouldn't deprive you lovely readers of sharing in on my recent shopping trip.

So, if you're into shopping, then read on. If you're not, read on anyway since you're probably slacking in the office to begin with, otherwise you wouldn't be here surfing from your work-place.

Previous posts on shopping in Myeong-dong here, Dongdaemun here and here, COEX Mall here and Itaewon here, just in case anyone missed it. Yeah, shameless plug I know.

However, this time around, let's ditch the well trotted path of the tourists and discover some local gems that even locals hesitate to share. Specifically, we're searching for designer-labels or branded goods at discounted prices. Yea, it's sinful ain't it? So if you're into upmarket goods, yet still want to save a buck or two, then I have just the place for you.

Ori and Munjeong are 2 locales on the outskirt of Seoul that prides itself as "factory outlet" shopping havens. They're both within the boundaries of Gyeonggi Province, and easily accessible by subway. Factory outlet shopping, if you asked the uninitiated like myself, means bypassing the retailers in the distribution chain and selling direct to end consumers. So in theory at least, you'd be getting the same retail goods at lower prices, and with some luck, at deep discounts. If not for these places, then designer labels and branded goods can only be had at those nose-in-the-air establishments such as the likes of Lotte, Galleria, Samsung & Hyundai Departmental Stores.

Here are some random shots of Munjeong, taken around 6.00 p.m. last week.

The main street of the Munjeong shopping area, aptly named Rodeo Drive.

This is a side lane off the main street. It's a pretty long stretch choked with stores on either sides.

If the store ain't big enough, just lay it out on the sidewalk.


Hazzys is a popular home-grown brand in Korea owned by the LG Group. The other local brand that's pretty popular (at least to my knowledge) is Bean Pole which is owned by Cheil Industries.

The wonders of advertisement and target-marketing.

The unmistakeable swoosh. Next door is Saville Row wanna-be LG with their own brand of gentlemen suits.

Munjeong is pretty unknown to the tourist fraternity, and I believe the locals want to keep it that way. In the course of my leisurely stroll here, I noticed that locals actually DO buy stuff, they're not just window shopping. So to me at least, that is adequate testimony to the validity of Munjeong.

Although somewhat different from Barstow, where I lost my factory outlet shopping virginity enroute to Las Vegas, Munjeong does offer some decent choices at fairly discounted prices. Some of these outlets offered discounts of 40%-80% off the rack price, but even after the discounts, they're too rich for my blood. I'll stick to buying my stuff at Carrefour and Wal-Mart.

What we have here is a lady selling pul bbang (풀빵), a snack of sweetened mashed red beans filling.

Pul bbang is very similar to bungeo bbang (carp-shaped cake).

Here's a lady selling hoteok (호떡).

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