I want to describe CJ Foodworld in Seoul, Korea as a perfect definition of modern Korean culture. A manufactured perfection carefully designed to appear as accomplished as possible by a monumentally large organisation. The show piece of South Korea’s largest food conglomerate CJ Cheil Jedang, CJ Foodworld is a food court consisting of every one of CJ’s forays into the world of dining.

The plethora of choices extend from Loco Curry, Vips, Twosome+, Tofu House, China Factory (What a name), ColdRock Ice Creamery (CJ bought the American franchise into Korea) and Tous Les Jours, one of many bakery chains that are dotted through out Korea. In total, there are 17 choices in dining as well as a supermarket, flower garden and cooking school.

The design is what I grew to expect from walking around Korea. Clean lines, wooden paneling and soft lighting. It’s like everything everywhere in Korea was built last week by architecture fiends hell bent on being unobtrusive in their understated brilliance.

CJ Foodworld in Seoul also serves as a lunch stop for the employees of CJ as it’s located directly beneath their headquarters. I think that’s why it was so empty at 7pm at night.

Oh right, and free iMacs to use.

I just don’t know what to make of all this. CJ have managed to create a microcosmic food market outside of the ludicrously huge Lotte and Shinsegae chaebols and I kind of think that’s a good thing, even though they are insanely large conglomerate themselves. The product presented here is marketable anywhere in the world. A one stop shop to divulge in modern takes on classic food in a clean environment.

Okay, what did I eat? I figured I may as well do the Korean thing and had Bibimbap from Bibigo. It’s kind of a concept restaurant where you build your own Bibimbap from a Tapas menu. And look, it tasted good albeit lacking in real authenticity.

Look check it out if you’re in Seoul and tell me what you think. I’m curious to here peoples opinions on CJ Foodworld.

CJ Foodworld is located at:

Cheil Jedang Center Building.
292 Ssangnim-dong, Jung-Gu.
Seoul, South Korea.
+82 1577-9622

11/10/2012 Food, Shops

Brotures in Harajuku, Tokyo is the second store from Brotures after their re-branding from ‘Jah Life’ in mid 2011. Their original store in Yokohama is also famously popular and it’s nice to see them branching out further. They are the exclusive dealer for Leader, Affinity and Kissena frames in Japan and feature a full stock of all their latest models. They also have a range of Cinelli, Fuji and Giant bikes. On top of all that walking inside and seeing all this quality is as overwhelming a  case to take up bike riding I’ve come across.

Just about every part is available and suppliers include Julian, Phil Wood & Co, Aerospoke and Full Speed Ahead. Bikes can be custom built in house too.

In the flashy world of Harajuku the understated appeal and high quality of the Leader brand is a welcome change. While Brotures also stocks blindingly bedazzled 5-spoke aero wheels right next to bare 735 Leader frames its primary aesthetic is clean minimalism with a focus on superior finish. I also just can’t get over bicycle culture in Japan and how appealing it all is. They build their bikes with such personality and passion that its contagious. Brotures is worth checking out just to see the pinnacle of commuting cycling in Tokyo.

Brotures, Harajuku is located at:

4-26-31 Jingu-Mae, Shibuya
Tokyo, Japan.
+81 3 6804 3115

10/24/2012 Shops

Osaka’s quirky nature of offering hard to find gems isn’t exclusive to Especial Records but it is one worth finding, if not for the bizarre architecture directly opposite then for the jazz, salsa, funk and soul vinyls in this record shop. It’s about as big as a shoe box but don’t let that fool you because the music selection is as deep as the ocean.

There’s a focus on rhythmic funk, jazz and some excellent deep house. Yoshihiro Okino, the owner speaks a little English, is typically hospitable and is chill enough to just let you dig and spin as you need while even pointing  you to his suggestions.

Especial Records is located at:

4-9-2 Minami-Senba, Chuo-Ku
Osaka, Japan.
+81 6 62410366

10/20/2012 Shops


It took some work to find it but suitably hidden off the backstreets in Ebisu is the uber meticulously curated second hand bookshop limArt. Specialising in art, interiors, photography and graphics each book is displayed to perfection. Multiple copies of volumes from the Designrådet (Danish Design Council) are alphabetised on a table counter next to ultra rare first editions from Physicist Joachim-Ernst Behrendt and journals  by On Kawara. Not to mention a 1985 copy of Andy Warhol’s America. I probably spent an hour in here just reading.

Gallery space in the back as well. Also ’bout 100m up the hill on the opposite is an amazing antique interior store in a nondescript residential building. Both were well worth visiting.

It’s ridiculous pricing too by the way so pack your Yen.

limArt is located at:
2-10-3 1F Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-Ku (map)
Tokyo, Japan
+81 3 3713-8670

10/16/2012 Shops