Over the weekend I finally made the trek to Shanghai’s Koreatown after over a year of being in Shanghai. The main factor was the distance, as it takes an hour from the dorms on the subway and then there’s a 10 to 15 minute walk once you get off near Koreatown. I did enjoy my time there, though, and I stopped by a super cute dessert place called Sweetruck, premium soft ice cream cafe.
The menu includes their signature soft serve ice cream concoctions, including honeycomb, cheesecake, affogato and more; coffee drinks, non-coffee drinks; desserts like cheesecakea and tiaramasu; and a section labeled “I’m Korean,” which, to my knowledge, is just drinks that are popular in Korean cafes, like various juice-ades and teas. They have both a lit-up full menu above their ordering counter and various signs with what also looks like the full menu on printed out sheets of paper on the counter itself. The board above the counter only has Korean and Chinese beside the section titles that are in English, while the papers on the counter have only Chinese and English. There are no descriptions of the item or ingredients listed anywhere but there are pictures of everything, which is nice. Also convenient is the fact that you can point directly to the picture on the counter, as it’s visible to the workers, so it makes ordering easy even if you don’t have the language skills.
I got a half-chocolate/half-original honey chip ice cream and a hot caramel macchiato. Both were good, and I was pleased to see that the honey chip ice cream included real honeycomb, as opposed to just drizzles of the condiment that’s popular in Korea. The cup it comes in has two completely separated spaces and the bottom one has ice and some liquid/chemical that makes it smoke up like dry ice. Both items I ordered were good, but nothing spectacular (but also note I’m not a big coffee person so even if it was bad I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell). The ice cream I got was 25 kuai, the rest ranged from 22 to 37, and my small sized drink was 19. The drinks are between 9 and 25 kuai, and the cakes are about 30 kuai each.
Other than the food, I really really loved the atmosphere of this place. It’s a bit loud in its decorating, yes, but the funky lights, patterns, stuffed animals, brightly colored couches and swing-chairs (!!!!) made it a very cute place. They have a sink available for public use (I thought that was a nice touch), and there are public bathrooms in the mall/complex next door (but bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer otherwise you’re going to have to wait to come back to Sweetruck to properly wash your hands). They have free decent WiFi and play Korean music, stuff like slower-paced pop songs and more upbeat ballads, so it’s not too distracting or loud. I was there from about 5- 9 p.m. on a Friday, and it was mostly empty the whole time, which was also nice.
Overall, I don’t think it’s worth it to make the trip all the way out to Korea town JUST for Sweetruck simply because of how long the commute is: 40 minutes from the school by subway or a 40-50 kuai cab from Puxi. However I would say that if you have any interest in Korean popular culture the trip to Koreatown itself is worth it because of the variety of delicious Korean restaurants, Korean makeup and clothes stores, and Korean bars available.
This article was written by Catt Kim. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
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