You may have already watched the video I previously published, but I decided a food paradise this marvelous should also be documented with photos and a few thoughts as well.
So here it is…
I had read of the Gwangjang Market in Seoul before visiting, but to be honest the day I went, I didn’t even have plans to go, but just sort of stumbled upon it while exploring the city.
Walking in the side entrance, I wasn’t all that impressed; It would be great if you’re interested in fabric and sewing materials, but I wasn’t.
But I knew there was food somewhere within the market, so I kept exploring.
And that’s about the time I walked straight into the bountiful den of Korean street food that Gwangjang Market is so famous for.
It was like an industrial warehouse, steam and fumes rising to the roof and the dim artificial lighting made everything look grey and orange.
The Gwangjang Market was an overwhelming site of gastronomic beauty, mounds of food and hungry people eating in every direction.
The vendors at the market were extremely kind – and I’m talking about that motherly genuine kindness like mama dosa in Yangon. They each smiled, with an honest invitation that was enticing and nearly impossible to resist.
I did resist for about five minutes, until choosing a worthy stall to sit down and start ordering.
The first stall I ate at was piled high with food and all the smells left me confused and hungry for everything!
I will admit, black and spongy, soondae blood sausage isn’t the most pretty South Korean food to eat, but when it’s as popular as it is, it’s a must try!
While some blood sausage I’ve enjoyed is a little on the dry side, the Korean version is remarkably juicy.
Take an intestine, stuff it full of a mixture of blood and glutinous rice, throw in some spices and salt, then steam it on high and you’ve got a piping hot meaty treat.
It was soft, not at all chewy, but slightly sticky. The soondae was served along with a handful of chopped lungs thrown on top and a side of salt, which I can’t really imagine why anyone would need as it was quite salty from the start (if you haven’t watched the Gwangjang Market video, check it out).
Gimbap is among the essential list of Korean food, rice and a few pickled veggies packed into seaweed, rolled up and sliced into bite sized pieces.
At the Gwangjang Market the vendor also drizzled the gimbap with toasted sesame seeds and some kind of sweet oil. It made for a great accompaniment to the soondae!
Tteokbokki is one of the most popular Korean street food dishes, so you can be assured it was widely available, simmering in its blood red chili sauce all over the market.
The chewy rice cake chunks and the egg that was served with this helping, was warm and wonderful!
Gwangjang Market is particularly famous throughout Seoul for the tasty mungbean pancakes known as bindaetteok.
In the center of the street food alley, there were a number of ladies with highly attractive stalls selling the deep fried delicacy.
I choose at random the first lady that smiled and was soon seated on a bench as she sliced up the pancake with a pair of shears and thrust it my way along with a side of sauce and a bowl of kimchi.
It was extra crispy on the outside and soft like mashed potatoes on the inside. The soy vinegar onion sauce elevated each bite into an even further dimensions of deliciousness.
… And as always, kimchi was a welcome addition in-between bites.
I was enthralled and thrilled by everything at the market, from the food to the people to the scenery and the glorious smells – I’d really have to say that a food trip to the Gwangjang Market is one of the most remarkable things to do in Seoul!
Dazed by the wonderful flavors, the overwhelming bounty of Korean street food, and the luscious culinary fumes, I stumbled out of the Gwangjang Market patting my stomach with extreme satisfaction!