|Gwangjang Market: A feast for the eyes and stomach|
Located in the Jongno 5-ga neighborhood in Seoul, Gwangjang Market was the nation’s first permanent traditional market. Established in 1905, the market today is home to more than 5,000 stores selling fabric, bedding, handmade crafts, ibaji food, and hanbok. Many of Gwangjang’s stores and alleys have remained unchanged from the way they were in the past. It is not uncommon to find noodle restaurants and hanbok stores that have been in business for as long as three generations.
Food market: overflowing with cheap eats
The most popular item at Gwangjang Market is the food. The food market, which has been in business for forty years, offers good food at great prices, so the market is always bustling with people seeking out tasty Korean food.
1) Crispy bindaetteok pancakes
The first food item visitors encounter upon entering Gwangjang Market is bindaetteok, a pancake made from ground mung beans. Cooked to order, these pancakes are crispy, hot, and affordably priced. They’re also great paired with makgeolli (traditional Korean rice wine).
How is bindaetteok made?
2) Bite-sized mayak gimbap
Another representative food item of Gwangjang Market is mayak gimbap, literally “drug gimbap,” because these bite-sized rice and dried seaweed rolls are addictive! The rice is rolled with pickled radish and carrot, and comes with a dipping sauce made from mustard and soy sauce. These small, convenient snacks are very affordable.
3) Sundae, Korean black pudding
Sundae, or Korean-style black pudding, is another popular dish at Gwangjang Market. Sundae is a popular street food that is tender and tasty. It is often eaten with soju or makgeolli.
Hanbok and Ibaji food: the style and taste of tradition
At Gwangjang Market, high-quality hanbok (Korean traditional clothing) can be purchased at affordable prices. Carefully made by hanbok masters, hanbok are a unique souvenir of Korea.
2) Ibaji food
Ibaji food is a selection of food that a newly-wed bride takes to her in-laws after her honeymoon. The food is quite colorful and carefully presented. Ibaji usually consists of relish, side dishes, rice cakes, and snacks, which are all made using natural ingredients. The Ibaji food of Gwangjang Market is carefully made with attention to traditional tastes and presentation as well as modern adaptations.
Vintage Sangga: a paradise of vintage fashion
The Vintage Sangga is located on the second floor of the Textile Gallery Joong Ang Building in Gwangjang Market. There are about a hundred clothing stores located there. In business for fifty years, the Vintage Sangga offers quality vintage items at affordable prices. Most products are imported from the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom, and the area is popular among vintage fashion aficionados.
Onnuri Gift Coupon
The Onnuri gift coupon was made to revitalize local economies and traditional markets. It can be used like cash at affiliated markets and stores nationwide.
Onnuri Gift Coupon
Places to see near Gwangjang Market
Gwangjang Market is located close to Dongdaemun Shopping Town, Cheonggyecheon Stream, and the street of used book stores.
1) Cheonggyecheon, a stream running through the heart of the city
A popular tourist destination, Cheonggyecheon is a stream that runs through the heart of Seoul. The stream begins with a waterfall at Cheonggye Plaza, and then passes twenty-two bridges, historical relics, and exhibits along its route.
2) Dongdaemun Shopping Town
Dongdaemun Shopping Town is the nation’s largest fashion complex, and is home to about 35,000 fashion stores. Traditional markets and modern shopping complexes fill up 30 large buildings. The Dongdaemun Fashion Festival is held in the spring and autumn.
3) Cheonggyecheon street of used book stores
The street of used book stores is near Dongdaemun Station (Subway Line 4). Take Exit 7 or 8 and walk towards Pyeonghwa Market. You will find used book stores alongside the Pyeonghwa Market building. The clustering of used book stores in this area began in the 1960s. Though the number of stores has dwindled from the past, the area is still visited by people wishing to buy hard-to-find books, out-of-print books, student handbooks, and children’s books at affordable prices.