Have you heard of gluten intolerance, gluten free diet, or gluten free cafe? Because I was born and raised as an Asian. But I was never aware of the existence of any of these, nor the dietary concept itself. Gluten free has never been a well known concept in South Korea. In fact, many dietary restrictions and eateries providing alternative dishes are rather scarce or can be said almost unheard in the Kimchi Land. However, these eateries have been on the rise in the near pass. I anticipate to see how they will grow in the future. Here I will introduce you one of the very first gluten free cafe I have discovered in Seoul – Cafe Sosohage.
What is Gluten Free?
In comparison to Eastern countries, ‘gluten intolerance’ is fairly common in the Western part of the world. The symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, skin problem, etc. This problem is characterized by a series of reactions to ‘gluten’, a type of protein that is surprisingly abundant in our daily life. Surprisingly, they can be found mostly in wheat, barley, and rye, which makes up most the food we usually eat.
Thus, it is not easy in the first place for those who are suffering from gluten intolerance to find alternatives in their daily life. It will be even harder for them to find any other bakeries and cafes like this in South Korea. This is due to the lack of understanding of the concept in the country itself.
Cafe Sosohage(means being small in Korean), is a minimalist concept cafe that provides a variety of gluten free cakes and desserts. Upon arriving, you will see a sign board which has “gluten free” written on it. The cafe is located at the end of a short alley behind the sign board. You will have to walk through it to see the small building where the cafe is located at.
Interior & Decoration
Below the cafe is an underground workshop which I believe they provide caking classes. Upon entering the cafe, you will notice the decoration style, which is minimal with a cream and forest green colour scheme. Most minimal cafe which uses all white for in their interior decoration, making the place blinding like hospital wards. But Cafe Sosohage gives you a welcoming vibes with it’s soft music and furniture in antique wooden colour. From the interior structure of the cafe, it is definitely a place renovated from some old and traditional Korean house.
The cafe was small and does not seem to fit many. I would recommend bringing along not more than 3 persons. This also means that the place is relatively more calm and quiet, making it the best place to relax and chill.
I visited the cafe with a friend of mine and we stayed there for almost 3 hours. No one asked us to leave because we stayed for too long. This is one of the factor that I really mind. I have discovered some cafe that does not let you stay more than 1.5 or 2 hours. It kind of ruined the whole experience of visiting that particular cafe because I felt like my good mood was being cut off.
My visit to Cafe Sosohage was wonderful, we choose a seat facing the window and had long chitchats and chilling while watching the sky and buildings outside. I am very sure that this will not be my last visit here. In fact, it does not matter if I am alone or have a friend with me, I am very looking forward to my next visit in order to enjoy the quiet and comfy atmosphere again.
The gluten free cafe provides a series of cakes, and bake goods which claims to be a gluten free alternative in comparison to the average bakery cafe. Can you imagine baking without wheat?? After tasting so many kinds of Korean rice cakes, I have always imagine that rice breads and confectioneries will be more chewy and denser when than the regular ones. But their desserts really changed my opinion entirely because they were too good! They are light, fluffy, soft, adequately sweet and has all the amazing aroma which did not taste like artificial flavorings!
At some point, I think they even taste better than of the baked goods I had in some other bakery cafes! The quality is incomparable.
One famous food they have is their dacquoise, which is also my favourite. Dacquoises looks like larger version of the macaroons we usually eat. There are sweet fillings in between two cakes made from egg whites and rice flour. Just that they are fluffier, lighter, and less sweet.
Comes in many flavors
Sosohage provide handmade dacquoise in many flavors; green tea, salted caramel, chocolate, earl grey, raspberry, toffee nut, and even sweet corn flavor! They display the dacquoises on a small desk and fridge cabinet right beside the counter. That allows you to slowly decide and pick which you wish to try.
Other baked goods include cakes, madeleine, and breads. All made gluten free with rice flour! Even if you do not have any diet restrictions due to allergies, I really recommend you to give this cute and high quality cafe a try!
Address: 27, Seongdeokjeong-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Business Hours: (12:00 – 21:00) Tuesday ~ Saturday / (12:00 – 20:00) Sunday / *Rest on Monday
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