If you needed evidence that Seoul has become a fashion-forward destination, the opening of the Far East's first W Hotel would be a big clue. Set on the side of a mountain, the W Seoul-Walkerhill has a sleek restaurant, Namu, that serves pan-Asian entrées, like salted sweet beef on sesame leaves; its spa offers soaking tubs that use extracts of the vodkalike Korean liquor soju. Another new spot, Hanwoori, showcases rare, wild roots and plants; more recognizable dishes include silky white lotus porridge, and fresh ginseng in honey. The stylish café Nureegae Gud-ki features excellent versions of Korean street food favorites, like dduk bokki, chewy rice cakes in a sweet-spicy pepper sauce. And Seoul is now home to the world's fourth Mr. Chow, the haute Chinese restaurant empire. DETAILS W Seoul-Walkerhill: 21 Gwangjang-dong, Gwangjin-ku; 888-625-5144. Hanwoori: 91-18 Nonhyun-dong, Kangnam-ku; 011-82-2-545-3334. Nureegae Gud-ki: 631-34 Sinsa-dong, Kangnam-ku; 011-82-2-515-8255. Mr. Chow: 91-6 Nonhyun-dong, Kangnam-ku; 011-82-2-517-2100.
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