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Traditional markets are must-visit place for any country around the world. If you are coming to Korea you must wonder which traditional markets to visit. It would be better to start from the largest and most famous traditional market in Korea, Namdaemun Market. It is located in Seoul Metro Line 4 Hoehyeon Station, and is an interesting tour site for foreigners. Shall we take a look at what we can do in Namdaemun Market?
Namdaemun Market Review
- Address：서울 중구 남대문시장4길 21
- Hours：00:00~23:00；Closed on Sundays (Each store has different operation hours）
If you wish to visit Namdaemun Market, it is best to go through Hoehyeon Station (Metro line 4). From Exit 6 and 5 you can enter directly into the market. Also it is located near Myeongdong and Chungmuro, so it is easy to drop by after shopping in Myeongdong.
Namdaemun Market is also known as "Dokkaebi Market" (Ghost Market). It has about 10,000 stores inside and average of 300,000 people visit Namdaemun Market everyday.
Seoul locals say, "If you can't find it in Namdaemun Market, you can't find it in Korea!" You can tell that there are almost everything here in Namdaemun Market.
Namdaemun Market has lots of clothes, clothes for kids, accessories, kitchen supplies, craft item, food, shoes, and over 1,700 types of items here. I believe if you look carefully you can find anything in Namdaemun market.
Next part is the snacks you must have while traveling in Namdaemun Market!
1. Hotteok (호떡)
First snack you must have in Namdaemun is Hotteok. Which is a type of Korean pancake.
Common Hotteoks have sugar and nuts in it and has very sweet taste to it. But, Namdaemun is famous for its vegetable hotteok which is really good. Vegetable hotteoks are sold in many stores around in Namdaemun Market, and we'll tell you which place has the best hotteok.
It is located right outside Hoehyeon Station Exit 3. If you are on the way out of the market, head to exit 3 to find the vegetable hotteok.
This store is really famous and you can see lots of locals waiting in line for hotteok. Good news is that they are really quick, and you wouldn't have to wait for too long.
Also I recommend to everyone to try japchae hotteok, if they liked vegetable hotteok. It is cooked right on site so you can taste freshly fried hotteok which is really crisp and delicious.
Japchae hotteok has japchae in it, which is a Korean noodle. It makes the taste much more rich in flavor. Stores use corn flour which goes well with the japchae. It's a must have snack in Namdaemun Market, so don't miss it!
Aside from these special hotteoks, there are normal hotteoks with sugar in it. If it is freshly cooked it has really hot sugar in it, so be careful when you taste it. I recommend hotteok which anyone can enjoy!
2. Hot Bar (핫바)
Hot bar is a Korean name for fishcake bar. It is made of sausage, rice cake and many different types of ingredients to choose from.
It's similar to other fish cakes, but it is easy to eat with wooden skewer and very sweet and delicious with different types of sauce. Hot bars are really common street food in Korea and you can find many stores selling hot bars.
3. Dumpling (만두)
Dumplings are one of the most famous types of street food, and there are two famous stores in Namdaemun Market.
First store to introduce is「효자손 왕만두 (Hyojason Dumpling)」, and it has kimchi, meat, and fried dumplings here. It is always filled with people and very lively.
Another store which is really famous is「가마골 왕만두 (Gamagol Dumpling)」. You will have to wait in lines to get your turn to taste this delicious dumplings. It is always filled with people, but I recommend that you try it on site while it's hot.
4. Doughnut (도너츠)
Another special snack you should try in Namdaemun Market is these doughnuts. It is not really a traditional food but definitely worth a try.
These doughnuts have fried dough with red bean paste inside and sugar on top. It is very sweet and crisp outside. There are lots of different types of doughnut, so take different types home to try all of them.
5. Kalguksu Street (칼국수골목)
This is the view of Namdaemun Kalguksu Street. There are tables and chairs at the side of the street and you can just pull out a chair and order a bowl. You might be confused at first, but all the stores have the same price so pick a spot you like and try some kalguksu, which is a Korean style noodle.
Kalguksu Street has very cheap price but the food is not cheap. Order a bowl and you get soy bean soup, rice, kimchi, and other vegetables. Before coming to Kalguksu Street, empty your stomach for satisfying meal.
6. Hairtail Alley (갈치골목)
Namdaemun's Glachi Alley (Hairtail Alley) is next to the Kalguksu Street. You can have roasted galchi and seasoned galchi. Seasoned galchi is seasoned with lots of vegetables, pepper, and spicy sauce.
In Galchi Alley of Namdaemun Market you can see boiling pots everywhere. If you don't like spicy food you can order a roasted fish which is also really delicious.
These fish dishes are really good. If you have enough space in your stomach after all the snacks you've had, you should definitely try galchi from galchi alley.
7. Eomuk Hot Bar (어묵꼬치)
Eomuk is a type of fish cake different from "Hot Bar" mentioned above. Eomuk is most famous dish in Busan, and Namdaemun market's Eomuk's are made in Busan style, and very delicious.
It's a especially great to eat in cold weather to have a bowl of Eomuk with hot soup. It's cheap and delicious, and try it if you need some hot soup.
8. Donggyeong Food (동경식품)
In Namdaemun Market there is「Donggyeong Food (동경식품)」, which specializes in dried food. Many tourists stop by to pick up some dried souvenirs to take home.
Store is run by kind old man, so many tourists call this place "Granpa's Store".
You can take home large bag of strawberries home. It's a great snack to have alone or with other food. Visit Donggyeong Food for dried goods like strawberries and ginseng.
9. Seoul Sanghwae (서울상회)
- Address：서울 중구 남대문시장4길 2
Seoul Sanghwae is a place you can purchase dried goods and hand towels that tourists love. You can buy same dried strawberries from Donggyeong Market but 10% cheaper here. Also other items are really cheap.
Seoul Sanghwae was designated as "Oraegage", which means an old store, and "Namdaemun Market's first store" which are hard titles to win.
You can find lots of dried fruits here, other than strawberries. All are really tasty and sweet. You don't need to worry about the quality here.
This posting was about representative food in Namdaemun Market. If you wish to shop for good food and dried goods you should definitely visit this place. Menus I strongly recommend is the galchi menus from Galchi Alley. If you are traveling nearby, you should definitely try it out.
This is it for today! See you next time~