There’s this amazing little hippie cafe that I’ve been meaning to blog about for the longest time. The name in Korean is ‘사직동, 그가게 ‘ which in English basically translates to ‘Sajik dong (neighborhood), That Shop’. It’s in this run-down building, tucked away in one of the alleyways near Gwanghwamun, separate from all the tourist attractions and hustle bustle of that area. It’s just adorable and on top of that they’re a vegetarian cafe.
They’re a like a conscious, humanitarian cafe in that a percentage of their proceeds go towards an NGO called ‘Rogpa’ in India which supports Tibetan refugees in exile, helping them to eventually become self-reliant. They have a little booklet that explains what the organization does. I didn’t get a chance to read all of it but from what I gather, Rogpa has started a free daycare center to take care of and feed children while their parents or single mothers can go to work.
They also help to empower women to become entrepreneurial artisans, making gorgeous local crafts and accessories, while also helping to preserve Tibetan culture. There is an original Rogpa shop & cafe in India where they sell handmade crafts made by the Tibetan women, and this Sajikdong shop is the branch in Korea. You can buy some of these items at this cafe too.
This cafe also does a bunch of things with the local Seoul community, such as bringing awareness about Tibetans in exile through activism, hosting various craft workshops, or holding flea markets. Anyone can get involved. It’s a really welcoming, open community.
The ladies who work here are so friendly and kind. Everything about this cafe is so homey, you feel like you’re hanging out at a friend’s house.
And they get extra points for labeling the vegan items on the menu board. Such a rare sight in Korea, ya know? It’s the little things…. Also, the prices are totally reasonable and it feels good to know that you’re supporting a good cause.
Everything on their menu is vegetarian, but several of the items have dairy cheese. What’s great though is that they make their own healthy whole wheat vegan bread, using a bread machine! I wanted to get their ‘Healthy Plate’ with bread and hummus (7,000), but sadly that was not available on the day I went, so my friend and I both got the vegetable curry (7,000).
yummy mushrooms~~ When the dish arrived, it didn’t look like that big of a serving, but then once I kept eating it, I got really full. There was a deceiving amount of rice hidden under all that curry! :)
After our main meals, we each got a steamy mug of homemade chai. My friend got the chai with dairy milk, while I get their soy chai. It was so aromatic with peppery and ginger notes. I just loved every sip. I seriously could’ve had about two more servings.
This cafe is just one of those special hidden gems in the city~ It’s the kind of cafe that I wish I could own one day~ Making real, homey, veg*an food, selling various crafts and art, and supporting a non profit organization. I could spend all afternoon here.
Directions to Sajikdong, That Shop (사직동, 그가게)
Gyungbukgung Station, Line 3, Exit 1. Walk straight out the exit and keep following the road as it veers gently to the right. As the road starts going slightly uphill, you will pass a police station on your left and then a library also on your left. Go a little further and ‘That Shop’ will be on your right. Naver Map
Address: 서울시 종로구 사직동 1-7
Open- 12:00~ 20:00 Closed on Mondays