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Heads up, travelers! South Korea's Myeong-dong street food to accept cashless payment starting April

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Feb 13, 2024 11:43 am

Are you planning to explore South Korea? Travelers to Myeong-dong, the busiest shopping district in Seoul, can soon use their credit cards to pay for street food.

Citing Jung District Office, The Korea Times said that the new system is set to go into action starting on April 1.

"This development was possible thanks to the cooperation of businesses in the area. With this new change, I hope Myeong-dong will reclaim its position as a premier tourist destination," Jung District head Kim Kil-sung told the media outlet, adding that some vendors initially opposed the implementation, "expressing concerns about a reduction in profits."

For starters, street food is an important aspect of the Korean cultural experience for tourists. Myeong-dong is a hub of street food in the country with dishes like fish pastries called "bungeoppang," rice cakes or "tteokbokki," and fish cakes called "Pamuk."

Aside from street food, Myeong-dong also caters to local and international brands and department stores, selling everything from cosmetics, clothes, and shoes to accessories.

It also houses two historically significant Korean sites, the Myeong-dong Cathedral and the Myeong-dong Theater.

Meanwhile,  due to significant complaints from tourists regarding unreasonable high prices for the place's street food, vendors will display price tags to control prices as the district office monitors its prices on selected items.

In case you didn't know, beginning in 2011, Myeong-dong was ranked as the ninth most expensive shopping street globally for three years in a row.

Moreover, vendors were also encouraged to improve customer service, such as disclosing information about the ingredients used in their food and hygiene standards, such as the mandatory wearing of masks, caps, and gloves while serving customers.

Other cashless payment methods in South Korea

Speaking of cashless payments, GCash, a cross-border payment, announced on October 19, 2022, that they are now accepted in Asia's top travel destinations, including South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia.

This is made possible through the e-wallet's collaboration with Alipay+.

To determine if the establishment will accept GCash payments, look for an in-store display of the Alipay+ sign. Then, open your GCash app and tap the QR to scan the merchant's code. Users must also be verified to pay cashless abroad.