On Tuesday I gathered all the courage I could muster and headed off to the new IKEA store in Gwangmyeong. It’s been absolutely years since I last ventured to IKEA and I had forgotten how big they are. When you add in the craziness of Korean shoppers you have got one hell of party on your hands. I went on a Tuesday afternoon and the place was still pretty busy so who knows how it would be on a weekend. Though I am assured that the craziness has been dialed down somewhat since it first opened and there were tailbacks for miles.
Like any smart girl the first thing I did was saunter off to the restaurant. Actually I was waiting for TFB to arrive and thought I might as well get some treats while I did. That was definitely a smart move on my part as you can see, the queue for food was huge. At IKEA they have the most adorable tray shopping carts which you can put all your food purchases on. I love it, and wish to have one for every restaurant I got to from now on, I don’t like my food consumption to be marred by how much I can carry.
The first thing you will get to lay your hands on are the desserts. I went for the apple cake (2,900) as it seemed to be very popular and looked very delicious. They also have cheesecake and chocolate cake but they didn’t really seem to be out of the ordinary. I also picked up a macaroon because at 2,000 won why the hell not!
Next up is the Smoked Salmon Gravlax platter (6,500), an absolute steal at that price and I picked one up for TFB. It came with the most wonderful caper and dill dressing for the salad. You can even buy a jar of it at the food stall later after the check out.
For my main dish I of course got the famed Swedish meatballs. My oh my were they tasty. You can get 10, 15, or 20. I was quite restrained and opted for 15. Served with mashed potatoes, gravy and lingonberry jam. They were just so damn tasty. Absolute heaven and just as good as I remember, they are totally worth queuing up for.
I also got some fries, because they were 500 won and it seemed churlish not to. They have other hot dishes like bulgogi, kimchi fried rice, and poached salmon, but the meat balls are where it’s at.
Once you get past the hot counter it’s plain sailing queue wise. I picked myself up a couple of quiches because a) quiche is delicious and b) they were 1000 won each. 1000 won quiche, I couldn’t believe my eyes. though when I ate mine it was rather on the sweet side, and I wasn’t that impressed. A shame because if it had been better I would have got 20 of the little suckers. As well as quiche they have fried chicken drum sticks and little danish pastries.
On to drinks, you can buy a glass for 500 won which gets you refillable soda, or a cup for 1000 and that gets you all the hot drinks you can manage. It’s certainly amazing value for money. I bet the onion crowd from Costco couldn’t believe their luck and must have been absolutely giddy.
I paid up at the check out and was astonished to find that my whole cart was only a mere 23,000 won. Such a bargain. I can see why it’s so popular. The only trouble I had then was finding a seat. Luckily I snagged one as someone was leaving.
After eating I spent a good hour or two debating throw cushions and candles, much to the chagrin of TFB who wanted to shoot himself in the head after about 30 minutes. However persevere my friend, as once you get through the maze of wonderment and pass the check out there is a mini supermarket at the end. Not a crazy selection but a few gems. You can of course buy frozen meatballs, mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam and even the gravy to recreate that lovely dinner back home.
There is even frozen rhubarb crumble, I do love rhubarb.
They also have the salmon 200g for 9,000 which of course we bought. They have cheap Absolute Vodka 29,000 for a litre, along with wine etc. I got myself a bottle of elderflower cordial, which is amazing with gin. There is pick and mix and even Daim bars, one of my favourite chocolates back home. So be sure to save a bit of room for shopping at the end. If you can manage to brave the crowds it’s certainly worth paying a visit to this weekend. And if IKEA isn’t enough for you, there is also a Cosco opposite if you have enough room to buy more goodies!
IKEA is located at 17 Iljik-ro, Gwangmeong-Si, Gyeonggi-do. To get there take a train to Gwangmyeong station. It’s a giant store and you really can’t miss it once you exit the station For more information you can call them on 1670 4532 or check out their website.