Nostalgic and new-fangled snacks make this confectionary shop uniqueAki-ko, named for a popular Japanese character, is every sweet tooth’s dream come true with 150 kinds of cookies and candies.
There are new-fangled confectionaries and old-time Korean favorites like crumbled noodle snacks. Just pick up a basket, fill it with sweets, weigh it and pay. Most of the items cost 20 or 50 won a gram.
Aki-ko also sells packages of dried fruits and two of Korea’s oldest sweets, yangaeng, sweet jelly made from red beans, and monaka, a thin cookie made from glutinous rice, mugwort or chestnut and filled with sweet red-bean paste.
Gift packs of assorted monakas are a common sight at department stores. But for people like me, who pick through assortments of monakas for the chestnut-flavored ones, Aki-ko is great: I can fill my basket with nothing but chestnut monakas.
The store updates its list of its 10 best-selling items weekly. As of this printing, Fishline BBQs, Gummy Apples and Stone Chocolate Ball Melons top the chart.
A cookie of note is ddong gwaja (1,500 won or $1.25), which looks like a pile of mud on a stick. It comes in three flavors ― strawberry, chocolate and green tea ― and has almond bits inside. “The cookie,” says Seo Yun-jeong, the manager, “isn’t that sweet, but it’s tasty nonetheless.”
The shop’s vast selection can be a little daunting for some. For those customers, Aki-ko has put together a sampler gift set.
Aki-ko isn’t just for college students and children. “Some adults come here, see the junk food they enjoyed as kids and just reminisce,” says Ms. Seo. Of course, now they don’t have to worry about their mothers nagging them about eating too many sweets.
Phone: (02) 312-0771
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Location: 56-77 Daehyu
Three blocks from exit
No. 2 of Ewha Womans
by Min Byung-hee