This is part of an ongoing travelogue, to start at the beginning click here.
Second day in Seoul! Yesterday, since we arrived in the morning, we took things a little easy, with a shorter itinerary and turning in early. Today, we are going to Noryangjin Fish Market. I’m not actually a fan of fish markets or seafood in general (except maybe sushi), but this was a huge tourist attraction. Besides, Mark Wiens of Migrationology highly recommended it, and if Mark says its good, I’m taking his word for it. And since I’ll probably never get to go to Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Noryangjin is the next best thing.
Noryangjin is actually across the river to the south, where Gangnam and Sinsadong is. The market is just outside the subway station, but you need to walk under the rail line via an underpass.
All along the underpass you will start to see old ladies selling fresh vegetables and dried seafood. I actually did not know what to expect of the market.
Noryangjin is a huge indoor market set in a large warehouse-like building. The stalls are set in maybe 5 or 6 rows stretching all along the building. one side is selling dried and salted goods, but most of the rows are for live seafood.
Just like most tourist places in Seoul, some stall owners speak good Mandarin. However, I didn’t see many tourists here, mostly elderly Koreans doing their regular marketing here. The market isn’t very clean by Korean standards, but still a notch better than our local ones. It is wet and slippery, but at least it doesn’t have that unfresh smell.
We bought some dried cuttlefish and anchovies here.
The attraction here is for you to buy the fresh seafood, and bring it up to the restaurants on the first level to cook it for you. However, if you are like me, are unable to converse in Korean (and therefore not able to bargain), you can just order off the menu. The restaurants get their seafood fresh from downstairs anyway. However, some stall downstairs sell plastic wrapped sashimi plates for you to bring upstairs.
Since we were quite early for lunch (it was about 10.30am, we were having brunch) all the restaurants were quite empty. We chose this one for no better reason other than the lady was very friendly.
You can check out their menu before going in the restaurant. Since there were four of us, we chose this set meal costing KRW 100,000. It may seem like the price of an upmarket Chinese restaurant dinner here in Malaysia, but believe me, the food is a lot and it was the best seafood meal I’ve had in my life. The sashimi alone is top notch, fresher than anything you get here.
As much as the food was, we managed to finish it all (except for maybe the soup) because it was simply amazing. I would highly recommend eating here. if you are not used to sitting on the floor, the restaurants in the back row have normal tables and chairs (although sitting crosslegged for more than an hour can test anyone’s endurance).
In addition the usual kimchi and side dishes, they also serve fish soup and desserts and coffee.
After a slow and satisfying meal, we took a slow walk back to station and to our hotel for a rest. En route, i stopped at the GS25 to get some ice coffee and banana milk drink. This drink is very popular in Korea and comes in different fruit flavours. I tried it for the experience, didn’t particularly liked it.
In conclusion, Noryangjin is definitely worth a visit to see the many different seafood you’ll otherwise wont get to see here. If you have the budget, eat there, it will probably be one of the best seafood meals you’ll have.
Next – Namdaemun and Gwangjang market.