About Lotte World Mall
Even if you haven’t been to South Korea before, you would have seen “Lotte” stamped on boxes of chocolates and snacks sitting on supermarket shelves in Singapore. Confectionery isn’t the only thing this chaebol (business conglomerate) dabbles in – Lotte Co. Ltd is a behemoth through and through.
Lotte World Mall is Lotte’s newest baby that opened its doors a month ago in Jamsil, Seoul. It is South Korea’s largest one-stop mall that houses more than a whopping 900 brands. It even boasts Avenuel, a luxury-brand-only shopping haven and Lotte Duty Free, the third largest duty-free retailer outlet globally with more than 420 different brands.
When I say the mall’s huge, I mean HUGE. To put things into perspective, Lotte World Mall’s 106 acres is roughly the size of 1,696 tennis courts – 3 times that of VivoCity.
Lotte World Aquarium
It’s not hard to see why this mall’s going to be the place that both locals and tourists will flock to. Within the complex, it houses Lotte World Aquarium, Korea’s largest indoor aquarium with over 650 species.As you explore the mall’s facilities, conquering the shops that call out to you, remember to fill your tummy with mouth-watering food because the options here are limitless.
This trip wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the Lotte World Mall Tour organized by Lotte World Mall – I had the privilege of checking out Lotte World Mall first-hand and stuffing myself with food that I wouldn’t mind putting on a little more weight for!
You will be amazed at the stupendous variety of food from which you can choose from all the way from Basement 1 to Level 6. It was impossible for me to eat everything, so here are my experiences wolfing down at four of the most popular places.
Food Fit For A King… and His Family
Viking’s Wharf (4F)
I don’t know if this acclaimed restaurant houses the “best seafood buffet” in the world, but what they’re doing is impressive. It is the first restaurant in Korea with live lobsters on the premises you can eat – they mean serious business when they say they serve only the freshest. Here’s where you tell the waiter your table number and how many portions of abalone and sannakji (live octopus) you want. Give sannakji a shot if you’re adventurous enough. The chefs will ensure that your octopus is chopped up into bite-sized pieces.
It hit me that the crustaceans were literally alive and kicking when I stood there marvelling at how huge they were. Besides having a “live” section where you get to pick all the fresh seafood you can devour, there’s a market section where you’ll find ready-made lobster rolls, lobster salads, lobster bisque, lobster porridge, sashimi, sushi and other in-season seafood.
To heighten your dining experience at Viking’s Wharf, head over to their dessert corner where they dish out cakes and gelato that’ll make you salivate. TWG Tea and Paul Bassett Coffee are also available here. This buffet is ideal for those who love seafood and for those who can eat A LOT. Perfect place to have an awesome dining experience with your loved ones. There were hits and misses with the seafood dishes, but most that I tried were tasty. I was too stuffed to try the cakes but the other bloggers who ate them were full of praises for them. The lemon gelato from Gustimo Gelato was phenomenal with its refreshing acidulated taste and that left me feeling extremely satisfied.
The seafood-lobster buffet will just set you back at USD$100 for adults and USD$50 for children. You can pay them in U.S. bills as they import their seafood fresh from U.S.A. twice a week.
More Sweet Treats For The Sweet-Toothed
Cafe Bing Bing Bing (3F)
Bingsu is an immensely popular Korean shaved ice dessert, usually drenched in syrup, condensed milk, chewy bits of red bean, fruits, or rice cakes and topped with ice-cream or frozen yoghurt. It’s a fancier version of ice kachang, enjoyed in the scorching summer months. But nobody says Bingsu can be eaten only in summer, so I got a Green Tea Sherbet Bingsu. I wanted something non-fruity, and anything with matcha can’t go too wrong. I expected green tea syrup to be drizzled over the mountain of shaved ice, but I was pleasantly surprised by the distinct fine, powdery coating of matcha with each spoonful that I sent into my mouth.
The sweet red bean chapssalddeok (Korean-style mochi) complemented the mildly sweet, aromatic green tea-infused shaved ice nicely. I like how this Bingsu wasn’t the least bit cloying like others I’ve tried.
The shaved ice was finer than I expected, and had a pleasant “surprise” milk centre as I dug deeper. It was a nice change from the usual too-sweet fillings.
Villa de Charlotte (B1F)
The sheer variety of cakes available here is astounding. I tried the Blueberry Cheese Cake and Sweet Potato Cake and both were incredibly fluffy and soft. Koreans are obsessed with all things sweet potato, having infused it into lattes, cakes, chips, and even pizzas.
I enjoyed the sweet potato cake more than the blueberry cheese cake as it was less sweet and more interesting. The yellow bits of sweet potato in the cake lifted the texture of the cake and provided a more intriguing experience for me. You either like it or you don’t, and the other bloggers who tried it weren’t so keen unfortunately.
The classic blueberry cheese cake wasn’t too shabby. I like that the cheese was light enough for me to go back for more, unlike many in Singapore which are too gelat.
I bought my cup of “Honey Chips” – soft serve topped with honey chips shaped like honeycomb and a drizzle of honey – from the outlet at Myeongdong (minus the snaking queue) for 4,800 won a day before I visited Lotte World Mall. That’s not too expensive considering its generous portion.
The soft serve made from organic milk was extraordinarily milky, velvety and mildly sweet while the honey chips were chewy and exceedingly sweet. I enjoyed the novelty and experience hence would love to try the other unique flavours next time.
This was my fourth time visiting Seoul in three years but the first time I could spend an entire day in ONE mall, without feeling the need to venture anywhere else to satisfy my top two must-dos (shopping and eating) when I’m out of town.
The mall carries a diverse range of brands, from high street brands Zara and Aldo to the luxurious brands Hermès and Cartier. Also, the tech-savvy bunch can revel in their haven at Hi-Mart, Korea’s largest retailer outlet dedicated to high-end electronics while artsy individuals can catch concerts at the Lotte Hall, Korea’s world-class 2000-seat classical concert hall, scheduled to be completed by 2015.
I cannot be more thankful how Lotte World Mall integrates everything under the sun in one place,catering to everybody’s interests. This is the place to visit for a holistic experience if you’re visiting Seoul.
Address: Lotte World Mall, 929, Sincheon-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, Korea 138-240
This post is brought to you by Lotte World Mall.