Gwangjang Market is one place that everyone would recommend you to go but here’s my advice: Go there but not with a lot of expectations because:
1. Majority of them sell the same food but a different way of cooking style
2. You are not going to try everything because they give you big portions
3. It’s not a lot to look at, especially if you’re in a rush
I did enjoy it a little bit but I wish I wasn’t in a rush because I actually wanted to venture deeper but we were on a time constraint. We started from one side of the street with more fruit juice stalls so I’m going to start with that and slowly going to other food areas.
Start: Fruit Juice Stalls
There are so many fruit juice stores here and their prices are practically the same. You might see a few items with different pricing but it’s really just a thing or two that has a difference. I’ve got you some price list too! Just enlarge them to have a look so you can have an idea of how much money to prepare before coming here.
I randomly picked a store and had gotten a strawberry juice (if I’m not mistaken because I really don’t remember it). It was fairly okay with a tad bit of water and sugar added into it. Of course, I would totally prefer just pure juice but profit wise, it can be tough.
This is another store that I almost bought. You see those cups with fruits? They’ve cut enough to fill the cup, like, for eating and for drinking. They just need to dump the fruits from the cup to the blender and it will fill up the same cup just nice.
This store sells strawberry by the box too and honestly, buy one box if you’ve haven’t yet. You must try Korean strawberries in Korea because it’s cheaper, bigger and sweeter.
Final photos of the store before we venture into the food section.
I’m thinking that there are specific areas for different stalls. For example, you will find one particular area catering with only of à la carte dishes, another area specializes in side dishes, then fruit juice, and seafood. Honestly speaking, it’s too crazy to walk around every corner of the market so we just walked from one end to another and walk back to the same location as before. Here’s what we saw:
À la carte dishes
You can get the most basic à la carte dishes here such as tteokbokki, kimbab, sausages, jjajangmyeon, jabchae, fishcake and more. The majority (like 95%) of the stalls sell the same things but you may find that they taste different or smell different. In general, they are still the same. It’s also hard to try out more than 2 stores because of how filling the portions are.
Every stall keepers will call out to you in different languages to invite you into their stores. Mandarin is also often used aside from Korean and Japanese. English might still be a little bit difficult for them to learn here but it really depends on the stall keepers. By the way, if you’re a clean freak, you might want to avoid this area unless you’re prepared or you know which stalls to go for. Please don’t expect this place as a 100% hygiene control area. Ajjumas are here to cook like they’re at home while keeping basic hygiene in mind but if you are easily disgusted by someone cooking with their bare hands or using the gloves for almost everything, avoid here. Of course, most of them do care for the hygiene but you will have to pay attention then.
That being said, their stalls are still way cleaner and proper than what we have back here in Malaysia *sigh* I really wish our government would help out more.
We randomly picked a stall and sat down. It was owned by two ajjumas who knows how to speak Mandarin. Nice people though, full of smiles. If I’m not mistaken, their store number is A-16.
Here’s the menu for their stall. Every thing is quite decently priced and by the way, don’t do what we did: order more than 2-3 dishes for just two people.
They replenish their food right on the spot whenever it is sold out and keep their food warm by constantly monitoring the temperature and the fire level.
We ordered a set of fish cakes and I think it was 2 sticks. Honestly, we could only finish 1 stick. This was my first time eating it and it tasted really good. Just that I wish it was a smaller portion.
We also ordered their kimbap (which comes with mustard-vinegar sauce and kimchi) as well as jjajangmyeon. I personally didn’t like the jjajangmyeon so much as it was pretty runny. The kimbap was enjoyable though.
Cont.: À la carte Dishes
Moving further into the market, you’ll find that the same row sells the same food but it starts to change as you keep moving.
You don’t even have to worry if you won’t find a seat. Like, there are way too many stores here that could cater to almost every tourist coming here. You’ll definitely find a seat somewhere.
Some of these stores cater to certain food only, such as seafood.
If you love to eat live octopus dishes or want to experiment it, you can totally find it here but I genuinely don’t encourage eating octopuses like that. I just think that it’s not a good idea for both the octopuses and our body.
Not feeling well during the day of visiting this market? Well, don’t worry because you can also buy porridge here. Pancakes are definitely available here but they are not sold everywhere so keep your eyes wide open if you really want one.
If you happened to miss out the juice stores but feels too thirsty to walk back, there’s another one in the middle of the market area.
Here’s the menu for you. I’ve gotten myself a Sikhye Sweet Rice Drink.
There was this too but I wasn’t entirely sure what it is.
Maybe you can enlighten me if you know 😀
If you only fancy side dishes and didn’t want to get anything else, you can totally get them from these stalls. I haven’t tried them yet but I would totally do it when I get the chance again.
Traditional, Tailor & Etc
They are quite a few stores selling traditional wear here. You can find all sorts of styles in traditional wear as well as other modern ones. I didn’t check with them about how it works but I think that you can get a ready-made set and then customized it to your size. The materials should be thin too.
You can also find other items such as shoes and dry food here. Gwangjang Market is not just limited to food or groceries so it’s pretty interesting to walk around but that’s only the case if you have enough time.
That is all for my Gwangjang Market experience! It’s not a lot because there really wasn’t enough time for us to venture deep into each and every corner but I hope you’re able to do so!
That’s all for this post!
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