Heard that this is a popular market in Seoul selling all kinds of street food, & it was featured in 1 of the episodes of the famous Korean reality-variety show “2 Days 1 Night (1박2일)”, according to my travel mate. We decided to check it out on Sunday 6 Mar 2011.
The Gwangjang Market is the nation’s first market with its history dating back to 1904. It is a marketplace for food, silk, dress material, fashion apparel, agricultural and marine products, bedding, handicraft, etc. Open daily from 0700 – 1900 hours, it is located within 3 minutes’ walking distance to Jogno 5-ga subway station (종로5가 지하철역) exit 7 or 8, line no. 1.
Upon exit at exit number 7/8, walk straight along the pathway & you will see Gwangjang Market’s North 2 Gate (복2문):
Upon entering the market here, we were “greeted” by rows of food stalls/ eateries. The first eatery already captured our attention with its numerous TV programme posters from SBS, KBS etc, a sign that the eatery has been featured on TV many times. In addition, it was actually full house & we just couldn’t find any seats for 2 of us even after trying for at least 10 minutes. You must be wondering what food does this eatery serve? Hehe
This eatery serves Bindaetteok (빈대떡) is a Korean-styled pancake, literal translation is “mung bean pancake”. It is made of ground mung beans, with green onions, kimchi, or peppers cooked in a frying pan. The picture above shows the chef cooking the pancakes right in front of our eyes. Since the eatery was full, we decided to order take-away. While standing there waiting for our food to be ready, we felt hungrier as the aroma from all the frying was really good~ 😛 We paid KRW 8,000 (approx. S$9.30) for 2 large piping hot pancakes, see picture below……
The “auntie” (아주마) who served us wrapped up the 2 large pancakes in plenty of aluminum foil & also cut up each pancake into 4 pieces. Both of us thought it actually tasted a bit like our Singaporean fried carrot cake hehe. It was really delicious & we enjoyed every bite! However, after finishing 1 pancake, we decided to stop as it was quite filling & we wanted to leave our stomachs for other yummy street food as well. 🙂
We found ourselves settling down at the next stall ordering odeng soup which is actually fish cake soup (오뎅국) and spicy rice cake (떡볶이). This stall sells a variety of street food like pigs’ feet (족발), kimbab which is the Korean-style sushi (김밥), sundae (순대) etc. Customers all sit on the benches laid with warm straw mats (like those benches in a school canteen) facing the stall owners.
These 2 dishes cost only KRW 5,000 (approx. S$5.80). The spicy rice cake was thick & very chewy, & the odeng soup was not too salty yet yummy. ^^
I didn’t eat the Pigs’ trotters or Kimbab as neither were what I craved for. But these are very popular Korean street food as well.
After eating the above, I was already very full, even though I wished I could stuff more food in. 😛 I had wanted to try Sujebi (수제비) but the stall that sold this said we must order minimum 2 bowls of Sujebi… so sad, I knew I couldn’t finish 1 bowl by myself. Then we also saw that the Bibimbap sold in this market uses barley rice instead of the normal white rice. Interesting, but no room in my stomach anymore… 😦
I suggest that if you want to go to Gwangjang Market to try out all the Korean street food, you may want to plan on the types of food you want to try, here’s the directory of the food stalls (sorry only found it in Korean):
We started our food trail from eatery no. 1, & the Bindaetteok is at no. 3. I forgot which stall belongs to the one where I had odeng soup & spicy rice cake though :p
Actually the market has more than food. We also walked to the other parts where they sell nutrition food products, textile, hanbok & even wet market stuff. 🙂
Anyway, for more information on this market, you may go to its official website http://www.kwangjangmarket.co.kr/. Hope you will have a great time when you get there too!