What can I say? I use to roll my eyes at these kinds of places, but Korea, being the country of cute, has definitely taught me to embrace my inner child and go hug a Moomin troll. Truth be told though, I’ve been one of the biggest Moomin fans ever since I was a little kid and my dad gave me the whole VCR tape series of The Moomins(in Afrikaans, nogals!) So when I heard the only 2 places in the world to boast their own Moomin Cafés and stores were Finland (Moomin’s country of origin) and Japan, I immediately added these to my bucket list and started a piggy bank to save up for the day I would get to visit a place dedicated to a family of hippopotamus-like characters who fascinated me for such a big part of my childhood (and which I cried about for weeks when I discovered my brother recorderd MTV music videos over all my tapes #dramaqueenmuch).
When I heard the news that Seoul would be getting its very own Moomin Café, the chance to have a coffee in the company of a giant, stuffed Moomin troll was a novelty I couldn’t pass up on. It’s quite funny. These have been reffered to as ‘anti-loneliness’ cafés because if you are dining alone, the staff will bring you a life-sized Moomin doll to keep you company while you eat!
As you enter the door of what looks like the real Moominhouse, you are met by Moomin Mama and Papa sitting by the fireplace. There are 4 floors. On the 1st basement floor there is an indoor theme park with photo zones, the walls decorated with pictures from the Moomin novels to make people feel like they are in Moominvalley. On the second basement level, there is a theater showing the Moomin animations and movie for children. There’s also a knick knack store selling everything from Moomin socks, mugs, plates, stationary, phone covers, and even jams and honey.
The café can be found on the 3rd floor. They serve all kinds of cakes, cupcakes, macaroons and even coffee with Moomin foam faces on. The restaurant on the 4th floor serves brunch and lunches and they make sure your rice and pancakes are perfectly shaped into Moomins!
I walked out with a bag full of socks, 3 Moomin plush toys and a blue and white ceramic salt and pepper shaker set.
The life-sized Moomin family waiting for “surgery” as the owner told me. These 4 guys have been spending too much time being handled and cuddled by visitors and need some stitches.
I ordered a Café Latte and a Caramel & Banana cupcake with a Snork Maiden cookie on top.
So what’s your favourite childhood animation or fictional character?
HOW TO GET THERE:
23, Apgujeong-ro 50-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Open: 10:30am – 11:00pm