Thursday, December 25, 2014

KwangJang Market - Affordable Local Korean Food @ Seoul [Exit from Line 1 Jongno 5(o)-ga Station]

When it comes to pampering ourselves with local Korean food, it's hard not to think of Gwangjang Market which was featured heavily in many travel shows and even on Running Man; the immensely popular variety show from Korea! 

For those who wish to make a trip there, you might be pleased to note it is located right outside the metro station known as Jongno 5(o)-ga (of line 1); exits 7 to 11! Absolutely convenient!

I was totally expecting a food market similar to the hawker centres in Singapore but what i found were much more in line with our neigbourhood centres.

Well, it wasn't a bad thing since it meant i could check out other non-food stuff even though priority was still on items i could squeeze into my mouth! Zoned into a few sections, it was undeniable that the food zone was the key attraction among visitors.

Evidence of our Singapore upbringing; we looked out for queues and decided to join the one right opposite stall B-37 (from North Gate 2)! 

We were going to dig into one of these; bindaetteok, also known as mung bean pancake! At that moment, i couldn't quite fathom how this simple thing could generate so much interest.

Can read Korean? You may note the information as above for the eatery we were about to enter.

A wait of fifteen minutes and we were finally seated! Yipeee! The bindaetteok shall be the appetiser for our late lunch at 4.13 pm for which we were already insanely famished!!

Given there were so many food stalls waiting for us to try, we asked for only one pancake at ₩4,000 to be shared between Louise and myself; Joyce was on a no-carbohydrate diet.

Fresh from the griddle, this was extremely crispy and its hotness served as a warm respite from the colder weather in Seoul that day.

Flavour was rather bland and enhancing it for a better experience would require the essential help of the crunchy soy sauce onions and kimchi sides!

Now on the search for more food, especially for Joyce who was in dire need for meat and vegetables!

Guess i wasn't wrong in stating that bindaetteok is one of the symbolic foods in Gwangjang Market; there were so many stalls selling it although none appeared to be as popular as the shop we went to!

For a Sunday, the market wasn't as crowded and i thought it was just a matter of good luck. Truth was, only the food zone of KwangJang Market is open on Sundays!

Most retail shops were closed even though you might still find some open to draw the Sunday business; the traditional hanboks were so beautiful!

Aside from bindaetteok, there were many other food to choose from and this proved to be a disadvantage as we couldn't quite agree on what to have next!

Makeshift sellers outside the market; this can be commonly seen in many places like Namdaemun and even along the main street near Hotel Manu.

As usual, we kept a lookout for the most popular stall and eventually identified this one (A-69) right in the middle of the long food street where it also happened to be a busy intersection! 

We were drawn by another much needed item; the existence of an English menu even though it hardly made any sense. The sundae i know of consisted mainly of ice cream which was definitely unavailable in the stall! 

It helped to look at what others were ordering and pointing at it to make an order. We succeeded by ordering the bibimbap; from this angle, it did seem more like a salad bowl!   

Frankly, i wasn't impressed; too healthy tasting (barley rice, minimal seasoning) and could have benefited from more hot sauce. The next time i am in Seoul, i would make a trip to have the best bibimbap said to be at Myeongdong! 

This bean paste soup just tasted funny. 

The highlight of this stall came from one of the items shown in the above picture. Can't be the pork trotters since i am not a fan of it. This item i am going to share with all of you can be found in Singapore and i have tried them twice; both of which left me disappointed.

Kimbap, which was often mistaken as sushi! The version here in GwangJang Market was much thinner but boy, was it a lot more addictive! The sweet crunch of pickled radish and carrot coupled with the aromatic seaweed roll were simply put, delicious! If you choose not to have it the traditional way (with wasabi), you can always dip them in the yummy ddeokbokki (spicy rice cake) sauce.

Come to think about it, i should have ordered another serving of kimbap! The ddeokbokki, by the way, didn't stick to my teeth and featured a sweeter sauce that had its spiciness kicked in after a few seconds. Nice too! 

Age is catching up and my tummy could no longer fill in any more food! I am not so much a person who likes to travel with many people but i could not deny the fact that a bigger group would give rise to experiencing a wider variety of food. 

A retail section that was open for business. 

We didn't stop for a better look as the items would not be easily placed into our limited luggage. Whatever the case, it was time to digest the food by walking over to dongdaemun


Exit from Jongno 5(o)-ga (of line 1) Station

As above.

For the summary of my South Korea trip (including Seoul and Jeju Island) and links to the respective day, click HERE.


  1. The menu is correct though. It's blood sausage and pronounced as "SOON DAE" in Korean.

    1. Thanks for the confirmation! Heng i didn't order...


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