Besides being home to Busan’s international airport, Gimhae has many other things to boast, like the excellent Gaya museum or the tomb of King Suro. For shoppers, there’s also a large Shinsegae department store and a massive Lotte Outlet store next to the Lotte Water Park.
Busan also has its fair share of well known cafés in the Jeonpo area. Interested in something off the beaten track, I took a stuffy bus ride through the countryside, past the twisting tubes of the water park, and found myself at the Jangyu Café Street. More than 15 cafés of designs unique to the typical franchise cafés Caffé Bene and Tom N Toms are located within a long stretch of shops on a street by the Yulha canal. Of these cafés, I found the atmosphere at Labelles Heidi to be the most attractive, and stepped inside.
Labelles Heidi, as implied by the name, is based on the concept of a European café and boasts a modern and light design. There was a spacious communal seating area in the middle of the first floor, with several ladies chatting away in the comfortable chairs, and a separate elevated seating area where ever-present teenage Korean girls were furiously tapping away on their phones.
Though the café’s menu also includes a fair selection of cakes and yoghurts, Labelles Heidi’s selling point would have to be their coffee — they offer an extensive number of roasts with helpful guidance on the roasting, blend and flavor profile. Even without broad knowledge on different coffees, I could tell I was going to have a great cup. The prices on Labelles Heidi’s menu are similar to the prices you might find in a Starbucks or Tom N Toms, but I was paying for an arguably much better coffee.
Nowadays, atmosphere is a huge factor to bringing in customers, who want the experience of being at a café just as much as they want a warm cup of coffee.
Did you know that café owners in Busan visit flea markets in Seoul just to find unique items for their interiors? Old magazines, vintage cameras, rugs, and LPs — owners are doing everything they can to make sure their café is the most interesting, most Instagram-worthy.
Add delicious, distinctive coffee blends and brews to beautiful, relaxed ambiences, and you have a café worth visiting. Such cafés exist in abundance at the Jangyu Café Street and I know I’ll be returning soon for more!