We went on another trip to Kwangjang market (Jongno 5 ga Seoul subway line 1) which is a great place to soak up the atmosphere of a traditional Korean market. There are lots of stalls here selling silks and linens but I like to come here to eat at a pojangmacha food stall. The rows of stalls run right around the market and sell all sorts of dishes including sashimi, mung bean pancakes, pig’s trotters, bibimbap, noodle soups, and sundae blood sausage.
It must be competitive trying to get customers with so many stalls right next to each other and the workers are constantly calling out to shoppers to come and sit at their counter.
Kwangjang market is well known for bindaetteok 빈대떡 mung bean pancakes and they are available at lots of stalls. They are traditionally eaten with makkoli on a rainy day but also popular all year round!
The mung beans have to be ground first so here we can see some team work going on (above) with the man grinding the beans before they are made into a pancake mix and fried in lots of oil until they are nice and crispy on the outside.
Other stalls sell kimchi and panchan side dishes to take away. At the front of the picture is 게장 gejang – whole raw crabs marinated in soy sauce. A popular way to eat this is to squeeze the meat out onto piping hot rice and eat it together – it’s good.
On this visit we had sashimi. The row of stalls selling sashimi all look pretty similar so it’s just a case of finding somewhere to sit. I’m usually swayed by the most persuasive stall holders. It must be exhausting standing there all day trying to get business and the market is open till late at night too.
There’s cold tea and paper cups on the counter (for free) or you can buy soju or makkoli if you want something stronger. The sashimi is served with two dips – chilli sauce with sesame seeds and soy sauce with wasabi. It also comes with a plate of lettuce, fresh green chillies and raw garlic – wrap a slice of fish in the lettuce with chilli sauce. Just enough for two people.
A standard sashimi set is 20,000 won and includes octopus, scallops, salmon, sea urchin, whelks and some kind of white fish.
sundae 순대 blood sausage seems to be another popular dish at the market. It’s made of pig’s intestine stuffed with various ingredients including glass noodles and pig’s blood. This is available on street stalls all around Seoul but it’s not really my cup of tea. I’ll stick to sashimi.