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korean restaurant / Enjoy the proper taste of Market Alley, Gwangjang Market in Seoul – 286

Enjoy the taste of Market Alley â‘  Gwangjang Market in Seoul

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Enjoy the taste of Market Alley â‘  Gwangjang Market in Seoul

“If life is depressing, walk into the market alley.”

When I was in high school with a tight head, this is something my homeroom teacher often said during regular hours. I didn't really know what it meant at the time. After I graduated from high school, I gradually came to understand it, and now that it's over half a hundred, it's a phrase that often comes to my mouth.

The market alley is alive. Traditional market alley is even more so. I think it's because I can't relax because of jagged, crooked, wobbly… an unpredictable “imperfect sense of anticipation.” It cannot be compared to the flatness of a well-organized discount food store or a modern food market. The fish fluttering while splashing water in the red rubber tarai adds a sense of vibrancy, and the smell of soil from the roots of wild plants piled up on the stalls evokes memories of a happy hometown just like when you were a child. But above all else, there are market merchants who work hard without losing their energy. They are fatigue relievers that relieve the sagging shoulders of 'people outside the market'. It's an undeniable right story. However, up to this point, it is nothing more than a humanistic and metaphysical market compliment. I mean a story about catching foam. Primitive instincts and metaphysical sensibility must be added to become an even more appealing market praise. It's just market food. The market is full of cheap and hearty food in every corner of the market. Like a copy of any commercial, the flavors are consistent with “don't ask, don't ask” one by one. With just one 10,000 won bill, you can fill your stomach and feel full as if you had the whole world. To put it bluntly, food in a market alley is summed up as a key element that makes the market alive and that people outside the market don't even “feel depressed.”

Written by Editor Park Eun-gyeong, photo by Yu-sang (food columnist), Park Eun-gyeong

Seoul Gwangjang Market

Food alley
If you want to fully enjoy the taste of a market alley, a local market is good, but Gwangjang Market, which attracts more people, is the best. Gwangjang Market is located between Jongno 4-ga and 5-ga in Seoul. Until Cheonggyecheon was restored in 2005, it was a market where textile fabrics and hanbok were the main sports. After the restoration of Cheonggyecheon, Gwangjang Market became the representative food market of Seoul or Korea as domestic and international tourists flocked there.

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The market is usually bustling with ladies who come out to see the market, but Gwangjang Market has surprisingly many male customers. On weekday evenings, I'm an office worker with a tie on the way home from work, and on the weekend, I'm a hiker with colorful descents. It can also be seen frequently by foreign tourists. Like Myeongdong and Dongdaemun, the most commonly heard foreign language is Chinese. Still, tourists of all skin colors still gather to take selfies while admiring the taste of the market. We will introduce delicious food hidden in the alleys of Gwangjang Market, starting with Mung Doo Bindae-mochi, which is located in the middle of the market.

Delicious food hidden in every alley

Green bean bean mochi

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A specialty of Gwangjang Market. It's the epicenter of the savory smell that hits the tip of your nose when you enter the market. The stalls in the center of the food alley are always bustling with customers. The sizzling sound of bedbugs sizzling is also loud. If you find an empty seat while fluttering your nostrils and smelling the smell, you should blow your butt off quickly. On one side, grind the mung beans with a mill; on the other side, add bean sprouts, etc. to it and knead the dough. When the pan is filled with plenty of oil, the bedbug rice cake comes out without a break. Still, they sell out without a hitch. Even though it's thick, it's crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It's the size of a volleyball player's palm, so it feels good even when two eat it. 4,000 won per sheet.

Drug gimbap

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It is considered one of the two major specialties of Gwangjang Market along with mung bean paste cake. If you miss it on your Gwangjang Market food tour, you'll regret it for the rest of your life. It's all about putting sliced, sautéed carrots and pickled daikon on white rice, wrapping it tightly with seaweed, then applying sesame oil and sprinkling sesame seeds. Strangely enough, when a kid with the thickness of a thumb eats gimbap and turns around, it reminds me again and again. When I sit in front of Gimbap Ma's lady and eat them one by one, 8 crabs (1 serving, 2,000 won) disappear as if they were seated. It's clear why it's called “drug gimbap.” There is a tangy yellow sauce that is eaten with gimbap, and it is said to be flavored with mustard, soy sauce, and vinegar.


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It starts with bean sprouts. From fern herbs, sedum, sesame herbs, chives, radish sprouts, lettuce, chicory, cucumber, radish kimchi, Chinese cabbage kimchi, green pepper, and anchovies. In a buffet style, all kinds of bibimbap ingredients are spread out in front of the meal. Put a spoonful of barley rice and rice on a spoon, pick as many as you like, and grate them. Put them little by little in the wrong order. Soon, the poop was full of goosebumps. Top with miso paste and gochujang, drip seaweed powder and sesame oil, and strain. When I scoop out a spoonful and put it in my mouth, half of it flows out of my mouth. I took a peek at the person next to me, and so did he. They smile at each other. Every time you chew, the fresh scent of grass overflows. You can adjust the amount of barley rice and rice according to your taste. An all-you-can-eat refill costs 5,000 won per serving.

Hand dumpling soup

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If Namdaemun Market has hand kal noodles, Gwangjang Market has hand dumpling soup. If you walk through South Gate 1, you can easily see the ladies sitting in the middle of the market making dumplings. If you put the dough on the dumpling skin and press it firmly with your hand, it's ready. It seems like 30 pieces can be made in 1 minute. Dumplings are kimchi dumplings that are commonly made and eaten at home. Beef contained pork, tofu, bean sprouts, kimchi, onions, and chives. There are also yellow-colored dumplings containing buckwheat flour. Boiled in anchovy soup, it's mild without getting greasy. My grandmother, who ordered kishimen noodles from the seat next to her, said, “Let's take a look at the gyoza flavor,” so she puts two steamed dumplings on a plate. If you speak well, you can get a free treat. Hand dumpling soup and steamed dumpling are 5,000 won each.


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There is a mochi in Gwangjang Market that would go well with an expensive limited food restaurant or yakiniku restaurant. There are many yukhoe restaurants on the narrow road between Jongno 4-ga Post Pharmacy and Woori Pharmacy. On weekends, some houses are so busy that you have to wait all day to pick a license plate. The yukhoe here is seasoned sweetly and salty without being mixed with gochujang. You can grate it with shredded pears and egg yolk. It can also be served with oil paste if you like. 12,000 won for one plate. When the sun goes down, judo parties who want to have a cup of soju are ahead of the crowd and back.

Forearm sundae

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“Whoa! It's just my forearm.” If you look at Sundae at Gwangjang Market, it comes out of nowhere. It's not comparable to sundae from other places. It feels like it's going to explode by pressing the inside firmly into the pig's intestines. The thickness is also not uniform. The filling is glutinous rice, not vermicelli. The tangy, spicy flavor stirs the appetite. It looks like black pepper was used quite a bit. One point is enough to fill my mouth. The inside of the tightly packed glutinous rice wraps in your mouth. For 5,000 won, you can add plenty of soy sauce along with the sundae. If you add a cup of soju, you'll be enthralled. If you don't feel like drinking during the day, try adding dongchimi soup to enjoy the rich flavor.

Daegu bath

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Daegu is named after its big mouth. I have a big head, so I don't have much to eat, but if I add it when cooking the soup, I can get a white and savory flavor of the soup. After it's all cooked, it's fun to suck on the flesh on the bone. Gwangjang Market's cod soup is famous for its cod soup, which is made by putting bean sprouts in a pot, putting tofu, cod, and offal, and simmering immediately after ordering. It is characterized by adding plenty of freshwater shrimp and spiny lobster to create a sweet, refreshing, and cool flavor. Just looking at the cod soup pots that have been prepared and piled up on the market alley stalls makes me feel like the drink I drank the day before. 20,000 won for 2 people.


There is also an assorted exhibition that sells a variety of ingredients in a single plate, such as red pepper paste, zucchini soup, eggplant paste, potato paste, fish paste, beetroot soup, and kimchi paste. The street stalls cost 5,000 won, but the stores inside the building charge 10,000 won. There are two types of ripe sorghum bukkumi: sorghum bukkumi with black adzuki beans and sticky rice bukkumi containing white adzuki beans. The price is 1,000 won per piece. There are also various types of porridge, such as red bean paste with fresh meat and yellow pumpkin congee. 5,000 won for one bowl. The sashimi that comes with boiled octopus is 10,000 won. It's enough for two people to spoil 1 bottle of soju each.

Other than that, Gwangjang Market is a food paradise that “has everything you need to eat”, such as red tteokbokki and fish cake. Here's one tip for properly enjoying Gwangjang Market food. Decide what you want to eat before entering Gwangjang Market. Not only can you be bothered by the trouble of choosing because there are so many delicious menus, but it's hard to handle eating all this and that without thinking at a low price. Still, you don't have to worry too much. This is because if you drag a bulging boat and walk along Cheonggyecheon, it will quickly turn off.

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