A taste of Korea

Formally known as The Shops of Old Denton, the block full of Korean restaurants, bakeries, shops and cafes has transformed into the Koreatown of Carrollton. Located on the corner of Old Denton Road and George Bush Turnpike, this Legacy West-type center has gained tons of popularity over the last few years as the shopping center where you can entertain yourself for an entire day. I have spent many afternoons after school exploring the boba shops and cute bakeries this location offers. Here are just a few of the places you can visit in the area:

H Mart

 As the center of Koreatown, H Mart is a huge Korean-American supermarket chain. The grocery store is filled with rows and rows of every ingredient imaginable for a classic Korean dinner. While many people enjoy the H Mart experience, I found it stressful. The parking lot was crowded, even at 5 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, and the large store was jam-packed with shoppers. As a teenager who did not have an interest in making a Korean meal, I did not really have enough of a purpose of being in H Mart to enjoy my experience. 

Tiger Sugar

Taiwanese boba chains have become extremely popular among teenagers, and I am proud to say I’m one of those teenagers. Boba shops are my favorite after-school study spots, and “Tiger Sugar” is my all-time favorite. This shop is famous for its original black sugar boba tea with fresh cream mousse and a unique tiger stripe design. My favorite is the one made with chocolate milk, and I’m always in and out of the store in five minutes. The store is small and there are no seats or tables to spend an afternoon in, but that has never bothered me. Tiger Sugar boba is the perfect quick to-go drink. 

Gen Korean BBQ

If you aren’t familiar with Korean BBQ, it is a type of Korean restaurant where customers grill their own food at their tables, similar to a fondue restaurant. Gen was my first Korean BBQ experience, and while I loved it, the occurrence was nothing different from Korean BBQ anywhere else. The waiting time is usually about an hour or two, and customers have to spend that time standing outside. The food was amazing and the restaurant was lit with blue LED lights. A great Korean BBQ experience overall, but nothing incredible compared to other places with the same idea. 

Photo by: Andie San Luis

Kinokuniya Bookstore

With much more than just books, Kinokuniya Bookstore is one of my favorite places to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere. While famous for its huge manga section, the store also has cute posters, school supplies, stuffed animals and decorations. I walked around for at least 30 minutes, with my Tiger Sugar boba in hand, admiring everything the store had to offer. The only downside to this bookstore is the high prices, so I only purchased a $5 astrology poster. Kinokuniya also gets crowded really fast, so it was a little stressful to get around, but not as bad as H Mart.

Daiso, Japan

Daiso, Japan is a Target-type store with tons of random items that have to do with Japanese culture. My friends find enjoyment in exploring it, but I don’t find anything interesting about it. The lights are bright and make me feel uncomfortable– like I’m in a hospital. The prices are really low and convenient, but I’ve never gone to Daiso to buy one of its random items, so I never got the chance to benefit from the low prices. 

85 degrees C Bakery Cafe

Located between the bookstore and Daiso, this bakery offers a variety of breads, buns, cakes and pastries perfect for ending a busy afternoon in Koreatown. I am a person who absolutely loves bread and desserts, especially after school. I can stop by this bakery and pick up a $2 loaf of butter bread or slice of Tiramisu to immediately improve my day. Ultimately, this is my favorite place in Koreatown.