Taste of Korea Tuesdays: discovering Food Alley at Gwangjang market

Kimchijeon sizzling in hot oil. Savoury, steaming dumplings. Bowls of flavourful kimchi. The wonderful scent of sesame oil brushed across freshly-prepared gimbap.

A few weekends ago I visited Gwangjang market on the hunt for Halloween costume supplies. That mission was less than effective, as most of the fabrics for sale were quite high-quality and expensive, and I just needed cheap, bright felt or fleece for an Adventure Time hat and backpack.

Although the costume supply hunt was unsuccessful at Gwangjang, my side mission of discovering Korean marketplace food was just the opposite! Gwangjang, in addition to Namdaemun and Dongdaemun, is one of the top places in Seoul to seek out the bustling, noisy world of market cuisine.


Kimchi by the kilogram- mm-mm.

For those curious foodies situated near Seoul, Gwangjang market (광장시장) is accessible from either Jongno 5-ga station (Line 1) or Euljiro 4-ga (Lines 2 and 5). Eating areas are open from 8:30-23:00.


A wall of desert. What fun.

One specific portion of the market is dedicated to a huge variety of foods- fruits, vegetables, fish, kimchi, sweet treats, and hot prepared meals.



Hot steamed mandu 만두 (pork and chive-filled dumplings).

The mandu dearly tempted me, but I’d come to sample jeon, which is a type of Korean  pancake fried in hot oil. It’s surprisingly light given the pool of oil it cooks in.

IMG_0173Although I ordered a very basic jeon, time I’d like to try pajeon (green onion pancake) or kimchijeon (kimchi pancake). If I try the latter, I can see how it holds up to the versions I’ve made at home!


It was busy. Very, very busy.


I can see sundae (blood sausage) and pork knuckle, and gimbap rolls sitting in front. Check out that entire pig’s head!


Other varieties of pajeon. The smaller discs on the right-hand side are slices of green pumpkin battered in egg and fried.


A fruit stand outside the market. I see mandarins, apples and persimmons.



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