A newly published guide by Korea Tourism Organization helps visitors to Korea make the most of Korea’s traditional markets which can be enjoyed all over the country. They are known not only for the many unique goods they sell but more so for their amazing street food.
Korea’s traditional markets are not only a place for locals to shop for seafood, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables but also for homewares, clothing and much more. Travellers to Korea can immerse themselves in the lifestyle of the locals by visiting the markets which are highly visited for their signature street food menus.
Most tourists visiting Seoul would visit Namdaemun, the huge South Gate market in the centre of Seoul where you can get completely lost for hours and enjoy many great traditional Korean dishes. Here you can find an alley of fish stews and another alley specialising in kalguksu (Korean knife cut noodles) which are served in a cold noodle soup.
Visit the traditional medicine market of Yangnyeong in Seoul to see how traditional Korean medicine is used by boiling herbs and traditional ingredients. Clinics here offer treatment for specific ailments with traditional herbal recipes.
Gwangjang Market in Seoul is very popular with locals and visitors alike. This market has built its reputation for street food. The market has numerous signature menus, specialising in gimbap (bite size seaweed rice roll) varieties of bindaetteok (Korean pancake made with mung beans, pork, kimchi or bean sprouts) which are matched with the local liquor of soju. You can also try the famous dish of yukhoe (Korean beef tartare served with a mixture of pear and sesame oil) or even yukhoe bibimbap (vegetable rice bowl topped with the beef tartare).
Jagalchi seafood market in Busan is hugely popular with visitors who select and have their seafood cooked at the many eateries onsite. It is one of the largest seafood markets in Asia.
Gukje Market with its newly opened Cheongnyeon Mall on the 2nd floor of Section 6 of the market has been transformed into cafes, photo studios and souvenir shops which is very popular with tourists. Brown Hands Cafe offers a great resting place in between shopping where you can revive with soft walnut cookies and green tea.
Nearby Gukje is the Bupyeong Kkangtong Market is the most popular place to try street food in Busan including tteoppokki (long strips of rice cake in a spicy sauce) bibimdangmyeon (glass noodle bowl mixed with vegetables and sauce) and the delicious hotteok (sweet pancakes topped with nuts). Walk from stall to stall and you can have a degustation menu on the run.
Outside of the major cities, every region in Korea has its specialties. From historic villages like Andong serving up local treats to Jeonju, which is known as the number city for bibimbap (mixed rice and vegetables dish) in Korea. Jeonju Nambu market is the place to try Korean sausage specialities like pisundae and sundaegukbap. Even if you find the names difficult to say, just point to what you want.
On the first floor of Nambu there is a night market from 7pm-midnight every Friday and Saturday night. The night market has an extensive menu, here you can find lobster roasted in butter that is so good you might need to queue for a short while.
And if you have time to visit Jeju Island off the southern coast of Korea, you can enjoy the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted. Enjoy live octopus cut up in front of you and fresh sliced sashimi as well as the famous black pork of Jeju. The Jeju Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market is very popular with hikers on the Jeju Olle Walking Trail which runs along the coast of Jeju Island.
If you are thinking to travel to Korea in the near future then get your free guidebook ‘Exploring Traditional Markets in Korea’ and explore many of Korea’s markets which also offer some of the best places to eat.
Order your FREE copy by email from Korea Tourism Org. Sydney office: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02)9252-4147/8
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