Friday, 5 April 2013

Gwangjang Market - Seoul, South Korea

Gwangjang Market is definitely the place to go to sample real (and cheap) Korean street food.  It's a bustling indoor part of the huge Dongdaemun market and sells all manner of things including shoes and household goods.

Piles of shoes

As you get further in, you find the food stalls...

And in the centre is the area with heated benches at stalls where they're cooking food ready to eat.  There's everything from seafood to pancakes to trotters!

We chickened out and stuck to veggie options here since we didn't know enough Korean and they spoke no English.  We tried Toppoki (stodgy rice cakes in a very spicy sauce), Gimbap (pronounced Kimbap, same as Gangnam is actually Kangnam, this is like sushi but made with various vegetables and pickles with sesame oil and sesame seeds brushed on the outside) and Japchae (glass noodles, made from sweet potato, with vegetables).

Toppoki and Gimbap

Our feast as we sat at the edge of the stall on heated benches
Our view of trotters as we ate


Blood sausage (sundae) made with cellophane noodles,
barley and pig's blood stuffed in pig's intestines
(apparently a bit like black pudding)


We weren't sure what these were at the time (despite being served the broth as a drink) but later
found out they are fish cakes. Korean fish cakes are like fishy pancakes served on sticks.

We would have liked to go back here if we had more time in Seoul, especially after we went on the street food tour and knew a bit more about the different foods.  Although I am getting more adventurous with food, there were quite a few off putting sights in the market which is why we stuck to veggie things.  We avoided the intestines, trotters, chicken feet and sea cucumbers!

Pig heads and trotters

Sea Cucumbers (I think!)
Heated benches and piles of semi-identifiable foods

A mungbean grinder for making Bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes)
Bindaettoeok being fried
As we wandered out of the ready-to-eat area, we found more stalls selling lots of seafood and kimchi.

As well as vegetables...

And what looks like some kind of larvae (which we saw again at another market only they were hot and steaming and absolutely STANK!) which appeared to be dried.

We picked up some Makkaeoli (very popular rice wine) to try back at the hotel, it was OK, we weren't expecting it to be fizzy - it had a slight sparkle to it - but I quite enjoyed some while in the jacuzzi bath.

We treated ourselves to a muffin from Manoffin on the way home from one of the many Metro station shops.

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