Gwangjang Market (광장시장)

Factual informaton: Credit from Visitkorea website:

Gwangjang Market has over 100 years of history. The origin of the market can be traced back to the establishment of the Gwangjang Corporation in 1905 which was created with the purpose of reclaiming Korean sovereignty during the period of Japanese occupation. In 1905, when Korea was under Japanese rule, the Japanese took control of Namdaemun Market. In reaction to the seizure of Namdaemun Market, a group of private Korean investors, including wealthy merchants, decided to create a new market that was not under the control of the Japanese. They combined funds to create the Gwangjang Corporation on 5 July 1905, and purchased the land for the market with 100,000 Won. They used the pre-existing Bae O Gae Market (Korean: 배오개시장), a morning market in the area, as the foundation for their new market, which they named Dongdaemun Market (동대문시장). At the time, most markets were temporary and open only occasionally, so Dongdaemun Market became the first permanent market to be open every day of the week.. The market was renamed Gwangjang Market in 1960.

Getting there

Take the suway to jongno-5-ga (see map below). The market is near insadong and cheongyecheon stream, and you may wish to drop by the market for dinner after visiting these places. While dinnertime is crowded, you will get authentic experience of the atmosphere at a local market.

Must try

Gwang Jiang Market is known for their bindaetteok (빈대떡), or, mung bean pancakes.. Soon-hee Ne (순희네), which was said to be the best bindaeddeok in the market. The stall grinds mung bean on the spot and serve it with crunchy sweet onions in soy sauce, which surprisingly makes a great compliment to the pancakes.

Another highlight of the market: very big "pancake" made of a whole fish. The fish is reheated, deboned and similarly served with raw onions in soy sauce. I tried the the ones from this lady and she was really skilful in deboning the fish. I wonder how she can make it so neat and clean with just the ladles.

You can also get your fair share of other street food, such as sundae, gimbap, or fish cakes. The large crowd at Gwangjiang ensures a good flow of customers and food, and hence you food is always fresh, hot and yummy. There is just too much competition for anything less than average in taste to survive in the market.

Should buy

If you are looking for snacks, such as honeyed almonds, dried cuttlefish snacks, then gwangjiang market is a good place to stock them up for a good price. Fuss free packaging, a good crowd and competition ensures you get to taste almost everything you buy at low prices.

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