Gwangjang market 광장시장 is one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in South-Korea. Since my very first visit it has become my favorite place, where I love to take my friends and visitors to. And every time going there, I always discover new things that I’ve never seen here before. Very impressive!
There are more than 5000 stores on this 42.000 m2 large market with a huge variation of products. But the best thing you can do in Gwangjang market is to taste and try many delicious traditional Korean food.
Many foreign tourists know about Gwangjang Market through the series „Street food” of Netflix. But believe me, the market in real is even much more interesting than that. It’s a real paradise for all food lovers in the heart of Seoul!
1. How to reach Gwangjang Market?
Address: 88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Naver Map: Link
Closest metro station: Jongno 5-ga, Exit 7, 8
Operating hours: food stands: 9:00~23:00; other stores: 09:00~19:00
Official website: Link (Kr, En, Jp, Cn)
2. A food guide for Gwangjang Market
As already mentioned, Gwangjang market is very well known among tourists. But more than that it’s still a place where local people come for lunch or dinner. You can easily see a lot of Korean groups gathering together here in the evening, to have dinner and drink beer, soju or maggeolli. And what do they eat?
Bindaettoek is one of Gwangjang market’s famous specialties that you should definitely try. The paste is made from ground mung-bean, mung bean sprout and leak, with or without meat. It will then be deep fried in a round shape until bindaettoek is really crunchy. You will have the best taste when bindaettoek’s really hot and eat it together with soy sauce and onion.
Bibimbap 비빔밥 & Bibimguksu 비빔국수
You can’t miss these stands for bibimbap and bibimguksu because of their colorful heaps of veggie.
Both bibimbap and bibimguksu are very famous and beloved Korean food. You’ll get a bowl of rice or noodle, on top are vegetable, sprouts, meat, egg, ect. . Then you have to mix – bibida 비비다 – everything very well, add some chili paste if you want to, then enjoy it!
Of course, don’t forget to ask for some Kimchi to eat with. Gwangjang market’s kimchi is one of the best. I really love it.
Other kinds of noodles
Naengmyeon 냉면 – cold noodles. It’s a favorite dish during a hot summer day. Noodles will be put in an ice-cold water together with cucumber, lettuce, seaweed, sesame seeds, sometimes also kimchi. Different kinds of noodles can be used for naengmyeon. But in Gwangjang market, you can try the 0-calorie-noodles umut gasari 우뭇 가사리 made from agar. It doesn’t have any taste and therefore no calorie. 😛
Galguksu 갈국수 & Galmandu 갈만두 – hot soup with wheat noodles (guksu) or dumplings (mandu), on top some veggie and seaweed.
Japchae 잡채 – This kind of noodles is made from sweet potato starch. Traditionally it’ll be cooked, then mixed with veggie, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and top with sesame seeds.
Twigim 튀김 (different kind of fried veggie) or Kimchijeon 김지전 (Kimchi pancake) and Haemulpajeon 해물 파전 (seafood pancake) also belong to things-to-try list of fried-food lovers.
Meat and fish
Sundae 순대 – Korean blood sausage, made from intestines, blood and noodles. The sausages is either simply steamed or cooked in chili sauce.
Jokbal 족발 – soft stewed meat from pig feet is one of Korean’s famous dishes that you should try as well.
Pork skin & boneless chicken feet – cut in pieces and flavored with salt, chili, other spices and topped with sesame. It tastes really like nothing except the spices, however it is supposed to be good for your skin, because of its high concentration of collagen… 😅
You can also find raw fish and raw meat in many food stands. I’ve seen many tourists ordered a living octopus and just stared at the plate, because the octopus’ parts were still moving. Anyway… I would recommend not to eat raw fish there, but rather in Noryangjin fish market.
It’d be a leak if I don’t mention Tteokbokki 떡볶이 (rice cake), Gimbap 김밥 (rice rolls) and Odeng 오뎅 (fish cake). They can also be found everywhere in the market.
Among the small alleys, there are many more other restaurants that serve fish soup, bulgogi and other tasty korean meals.
Beverage and other snacks
Usually you can directly get beverage from the food stand. They always have water for free, soft drink, beer, soju and maggeolli for sale there.
But if you want to have special sweet non-alcoholic drink, try Sikhye 식혜 – a sweet rice drink and fresh sugar cane juice.
Fresh sugar can juice is actually a popular beverage from Vietnam and it’s only can be found in this market in Korea.
When you browse through the market you will find many more snack and sweet stores as well as fruit stands.
3. What else can you find in Gwangjang market?
Besides food, Gwangjang market has a huge variety of goods. Textile, clothes, bedding, handy craft, souvenir… You can find everything here.
If you love the traditional Korean dress Hanbok, don’t forget to visit the 2nd floor for a tailor made Hanbok with pretty design.
Have fun in Gwangjang market and share with me your experience 😄.