Merlion is a new entrant into Hongdae’s already incredibly adventurous and dense dessert scene.
But unlike liquid nitrogen ice cream, churros, and macarons, don’t expect to see their concept of housemade, time-intensive traditional Singaporean desserts being replicated on neighborhood street corners around the city.
All ingredients are imported for irreplaceable authenticity.
It shows in Merlion’s kaya toast (3,500 won), a Singaporean staple breakfast sandwich of silky coconut milk based jam and pats of supple butter.
Also of note is their sesame rice ball dessert (6,000 won), which is four amorphous, gossamery orbs filled with molten granular sesame paste.
These should be eaten with ninja-like precision, much like a soup dumpling, or else the black sesame filling will leak out like the ink of some extra-dimensional cephalopod.
A black glutinous rice dessert, like a more effete red bean porridge, several other toasts, rice puddings, and drinks (4,000-6,000 won) including special “cloth sock” coffee beckon for one of the most unique and high quality dessert experiences in an area already brimming with them.
346-20 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu
Make a right just out of Hongik University Station, exit 8. Walk two blocks then hang another right and then your first left. Merlion will be on the righthand side on the second floor about 50 meters down.