Sing a song of Seongbuk-dong: Napoleon Bakery

Sing a song of Seongbuk-dong: Napoleon Bakery

by Jordan Redmond
Groove Korea

The Napoleon Bakery is the magnetic center of the areas outside of Hansung University Station exits 5 and 6. Everyone in sight seems to be drawn into this massive bread-wafting mothership and then repelled out, large white-and-green paper bag in hand. Having been performing doughy alchemy since 1968, Napoleon is a neighborhood institution that has sprouted similarly swarmed outposts around the city. It’s known for its Korean-style breads like red bean buns and the inimitable yakbbang, or medicine bread.

Yakbbang is the breadification of the glutinous rice snack, yakbap, and is something like Korean carrot cake in its earthy sweetness and spice. At KRW 2,000, it’s a weighty brick filled with chestnuts, raisins, and black sesame seeds with the assertive tastes of brown sugar, cinnamon, and jujube making this a fantasy distillation of autumn flavors. However, it is excellent anytime, especially with a glass of milk. Also make sure to leave with one of Napoleon’s black sesame baguettes or impeccable sourdough loaves. But don’t dither. Your meager basket will fill up with pastry after decadent pastry. Much like most of Seongbuk-dong itself, Napoleon feels time-tested and trustworthy.

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