Are you a foodie planning on going to Seoul, South Korea? You definitely need to watch this video! While there are many markets in the city, these are my personal Top 5 picks for the BEST food markets in Seoul, South Korea. Tongin Market is an easy 15 minute walk away from Gyeongbokgung Palace, so it makes for a perfect lunch time spot after sightseeing. It’s an old traditional market that was built for Japanese residents in 1941 during the Japanese occupation. Since then, it’s become a local neighborhood-style market. There’s so much food here, guys, this market is a buffet lover’s dream come true. First, you pay 5,000 Won for bundle of 10 traditional-style coins called “Yebjeon” which are used like tokens to pay for the food throughout the market. You’ll receive a plastic tray to put all your food on. Not everything in the market can be bought with the coins, though, you’ll have to pay for those things with regular cash. If you see a sign like this, or the word “Nyang” after a number, that’s where you can use the coins. The store owners and street food vendors are very nice and helpful if you’re a bit confused. I only have 2 coins left, so I need to make sure I choose wisely. When you’re ready to eat, head over to the DOSHIRAK CAFE, located in the center of the market for seating on the 2nd and 3rd floors. So I got my black bean sauce with the noodles, and some sliced cucumber on top. Gamjajeon, this is potato pancake. It’s been nicely fried, it’s very crispy. We got kongnamul, this is the bean sprouts. This is chicken on a stick. Here we have white tteokbokki that’s just been fried in oil. And this is tteokbokki that’s been fried in a spicy gochujang sauce, so this is a little bit spicy. And here we have some kind of marinated chicken. No foodie visit to Seoul is complete without a visit to the famous Noryangjin Fish Market. One of my favorite markets is the Noryangjin Fisheries Market, and this is on the south side of the Han River. And as you can see behind me, there’s just row after row after row of seafood vendors. You got everything from raw fish, crab, all kinds of different shellfish, there’s frozen stuff, there’s fermented stuff, it’s just a really wonderful place. This market was originally started in 1927, and it was more closer to Seoul Station. But they moved it in 1971 to this location, so this is the old building from 1971. This. Is. Amazing. This place. This is similar to Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, they do early morning auctions, and this place is open 24 hours>Walking through the old wet cement floors of the old market with vendors showing off all types of seafood imaginable is a really unique experience. Alright, so the way this market works is you walk around, you go to all the different vendors and you get to choose the different types of things that you want, they’ll put it a bag for you, and usually you pay cash. And then they’ll suggest you to go to a restaurant that’s associated with their stand. So what they’ll do is either cut it up raw, so you can eat it like sashimi-style. Or they’ll cook it for you, like in a stew or fry it, you can request the way that you want something cooked. And you do pay a little fee, and that’s just like a sitting fee and a table fee, so that way you can have a place to sit and eat. The old market building has been slowly emptying out as the vendors migrate to the newly constructed building next door. If you have a chance to see the old market building while it still exists, I highly recommend visiting that before it disappears forever. Gyeongdong Market is a massive herbal and traditional food market. It’s huge!!! The market size is equivalent to about 5 World Cup soccer stadiums. Started as an unofficial market by countryside farmers after the Korean War, It eventually became an official market where you could buy fresh produce and meats, dried goods, and tons of medicinal herbs. In fact, this is the largest herbal market in South Korea. Ok, I just arrived to Gyeongdong Market, it’s one of my favorite markets here in Seoul. Mainly because it’s just full of amazing odors and smells, and visuals, lots of people, it’s just very interesting. There’s a huge herbal market here, so you get a lot of medicines and teas, traditional old Korean-style, like “Hanyak” and further in, there’s like a giant produce and meat area. Fruit vendors and all kinds of stuff, like, ridiculous amounts of food. So this is one of my favorite places, let’s go check it out! Ok, so at that Gate is where the herbal market is. And you’re going to want to walk past that and go straight until you come to the first major street. Cross that street and immediately turn left, and that’ll take you right to the whole produce and food market. Lots of amazing cheap stuff there, best place to buy groceries. Now this market is massive, so there’s just so much food, I can’t really recommend one specific really good thing that you must try here. But if someone gives you a little toothpick to try a sample of something, go for it. It’s going to probably be really good. And you know, if you see some snacks or whatever, definitely buy some, they’re really cheap here. And especially the produce, the produce is so cheap here. Gwangjang Market is considered the Holy Grail of Korean street food. The market is mainly a textiles and fabric market, but there’s also a giant area full of traditional Korean street snacks. One of my favorite markets for street food is Gwangjang Market, here we are! And it’s huge, there’s all kinds of vendors selling fried food, there’s bibimbap, there’s noodles, there’s kimbap, there’s all kinds of crazy stuff here. So let’s go check it out! While the market is known for street food, it’s also famous for a dish called “Yukhoe.” At Gwangjang Market, one of the must-eat food items is “Yukhoe” and I guess the rough translation would be like Korean raw beef tartare. Break up this yolk, stir it all up. You can see the Asian pear underneath there. Mmmmm! It’s so soft, that meat is really good. The yolk really binds it all together. And it’s got that nice sweet crunchiness from the Asian pear. This is raw liver, called “So Gan”, raw beef liver. And what you do is you just eat it like this, with a little bit of the sesame oil and some salt. Jal Meokkeseumnida~ It just melts in your mouth, it’s so creamy! Very good! Namdaemun Market is one of my favorite markets in all of Korea. Not only did I commute through the market daily, I also have fond memories of going to the night market with my Korean relatives back in the 80’s and 90’s. This market was established in 1963, and it’s the largest traditional Korean market still in operation in the entire country! There are over 10,000 individual vendors filling up all the alleyways, the buildings, and even into the basement levels. Right outside Exit 5 of Hoehyeon Station, there’s the famous Noodle Alley. This is where competitive vendor ladies try to get you to sit and eat at their table. The noodles here are fresh, hand-made, and very filling. Lunchtime is always super crowded. Another famous set of alleys is the Hairtail Fish Alley. So in this alley, there’s all kinds of restaurants and they focus on cooking amazing “Galchi”, the Hairtail fish. So they have the kitchen setup right on the outside, and they cook all the stuff right there. So you can see it in the alley, and then you eat it on the inside of the restaurant. So this is a really cool experience, to even just walk through here and see the food, smell it and just check out that vibe. It’s really awesome, especially at lunch time. There’s a lot of street food here, so make sure to try all of it as you come across it. But if there’s one street food you MUST EAT, it’s the yachae, or ggul, hotteok. People wait in line for up to 20 minutes or longer, just to get a chance at ordering some of this piping hot street food. Check out this sucker. Look how big it is! It’s very, very hot. It’s like as big as my face — Ahhh! I can’t even hold it! So this is the “yachae hotteok”, I’m going to go ahead and take a really big bite out of this thing and try not to burn my mouth. Ooooh! Oh my god! You can see right inside, see all those vegetables and the clear glass noodles? And the other one is the “Ggul Hotteok” the honey. And you can see this ~~ oh my god ~~ It smells so good! You can smell that honey and the cinnamon, especially the cinnamon. You can see how that goodness has kind of soaked through the dough and it made it dark. Really cool. Now with this one, you have to be really careful because it will stick to the roof of your mouth and burn it. But it’s worth the pain! Oooh~!!! If you guys like sweet kind of things, and deep fried things, this is your go-to. If I open it up, you can see the inside is coated with the cinnamon, and the brown sugar, and the honey. There’s even some sesame seeds in there. I just need to take another bite. Oooh god~ So good! Must try in Namdaemun Market. Another fun experience is visiting the market at night. Along the main corridor of the market, a bunch of street food vendors setup and you can enjoy some soju and beer with all the different types of street food snacks that they sell. Ok, just a heads up for the footage you’re about to see. If you don’t want to see blood or organs or like cow heads, I suggest you fast forward the video, because I’m going to be showing that. This is the Majang Meat Market, it is carnivore heaven! If you’re a meat lover, this is the place to come. You get to see all the behind-the-scenes on how they make all the different cuts. It is literally the biggest meat market in all of South Korea. So they sell all different types of cuts of meat, you know they have pork and chicken and stuff like that. But they really specialize in beef, and especially Hanwoo Beef. Hanwoo Beef is similar to kind of like your Kobe beef or Wagyu beef from Japan. And it’s really high-quality. What’s nice about all the meat here, is that it’s roughly 30% cheaper than if you were to buy it at the supermarket, or other markets around the country. The slaughterhouse, itself, is not on site. (it’s located just outside of Seoul) But they ship it in every hour, so the meat is completely fresh. And they are strict about their sanitation standards here because they are dealing with raw meat products. And so they’re so clean and sanitized that actually the Korea Medical Association has essentially noticed this and given them their thumbs up. So how this works is you can go to any one of these shops, pick out whatever kind of stuff you want. They’ll bag it for you, and you can take it home. Or, you can go to an associated restaurant, which is either upstairs or behind the butcher shop. And instead of that, I suggest, outside of one of the entrances of the market, you should just turn your head to the right and you’ll see a lot of BBQ houses in this one small alley. That is the BBQ alley. I highly suggest you going there instead, if you’re going to have some BBQ in this area. I hope that you found this video interesting and helpful if you’re planning a trip to Seoul. Some honorable mentions that didn’t make it in this video are: Garak market, Mangwon market, Banghak-dong’s Dokkaebi market…. there are just so many markets to experience in the city. Thanks for watching, please subscribe, and see you in the next video. Bye!!!