CONTRIBUTED BY KELLY GONZALEZ
If you venture North, maybe for a DMZ tour or business at Camp Bonifas, stop for a bite to eat in Munsan. Just 15 minutes from the DMZ, the tiny town of Munsan is a hidden gem with an eatery full of flair.
i.Dream Bakery and Café is a delightful treat in little Munsan. Think of an artist’s studio combined with a diner car. The café itself is long and skinny with wood and leather chairs throughout and a small counter seating in the back. There’s an exposed brick wall, tons of art in all mediums scattered about, and small plants tucked in safe on the window sills. The exposed pipe lighting system adds funky loft charm as well. It will fit in well when the art galleries, performance studios, and movie theater are finished in the near future.
The café offers take out or eat in drinks, sandwiches, and dessert. I strongly recommend the croissants with cream filling, although they do have shaved ices and ice cream buckets. I’m not a coffee drinker, but they proudly serve Kenyan coffee. I love their frequent visitor stamp card system. They are kept in house by your initial and almost seem to create their own art piece near the front door.
I will say one of the negatives is that they are a bit pricey for Munsan. A croissant and fresh squeezed lemonade were over 6,000 won. The atmosphere is unique and cozy however, and there aren’t many other places in Munsan serving American style club sandwiches with fries. There are no bathrooms in the narrow café, but the buildings surrounding the café all have public bathrooms in the halls leading to the stairs and elevators. There are no highchairs either, but that doesn’t seem to bother most visitors. During my visit, the clientele ranged from families with small children out for a treat to a couple editing a computer video over cups of coffee.
If you visit, bring your beret, worn leather satchel, and novel in progress. You’re sure to fit right in with the vibe.
Munsan is one hour from Camp Casey or Yongsan on Hwy 1. Headed North, take the Panmunjeom exit at the junction of Hwy 1 and Hwy 37. Take the first exit to the right onto Bangchon-ro. Turn right again at the traffic light onto Dangdong 2-ro. i.Dream Café is behind the street row of restaurants immediately on the left. Use the last alley between the buildings before the corner and next traffic light. It’s directly behind the Jump Nori Café building.
Hours of Operation: 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Payment: credit card or won accepted
Parking: There is some street parking on the main street and a large parking lot at Home Plus across the street. Once the Art Valley construction is completed, there will be parking garages in many of the buildings adjacent to the café as well.