despite living only a few minutes away by bus from this magnificent market, it was my first time here in 2 years. or just, ever.

it has never hit me that market food can be so enjoyable. it is just simple food. every store selling the same thing, but then there are the “pioneers” and also the fakes. so as lucky as I was, I had a Korean to bring me around eating the 3 must eats in Gwangjang Market.

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so the main eatery street is like above. it sells a variety of stuff and food but you come here for the food. not the stuff. unless you want to buy quilt. I heard it’s pretty reasonably priced here.

and look!!! makgeolli advertisement above! call me an alcoholic but I love my makgeolli. a lot.

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a crazy amount of different types of fried vege, fish etc. and all types of jeons.

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look at that pig nose!!! this place is definitely not halal. those long sausage looking things are actually sundae. in Seoul, it is hard to find authentic sundaes (glass noodles drenched in pork blood inserted into pork intestines) as most places do not use pork intestines as it is more expensive, but this place does.

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and more.

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and more. look at those gigantic bowls of vege. madness.

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not to mention, this place is always super CROWDED.

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okay so first stop on the list! #1 DRUG KIMBAB.

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drug kimbab, or mayak kimbab is possibly the most famous out of them all. they are made by really simple ingredients but what made it get so addictive like drugs?

well, the rice.

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believe it or not but they do not cook it there. they cook it at home and bring their special rice to the shop to wrap. it has very simple ingredients wrapped inside. just carrots and danmuji (yellow thingy made out of.. white carrots?? not a fan but this is awesome.) wrapped in gim (seaweed). and they give you a small pack of wasabi to go with it. so after lining up outside, you need to line up to get a table inside as well. it is ALL SELF SERVICE.

2500won per portion.

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so it started off like this. their pictures are much nicer so..

I hope I can take pictures a nice as that pfft.

there are many shops selling this sort of kimbab and they ALL call it drug kimbab but you should really know that this is the place that came out with it and the rest are just.. copy cats.

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there are plenty of seafood here too! and jeons (those pancake-like things).

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this is how packed is it. that guy stared at my camera in such a scary way T_T.

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another uncle stared at my camera.


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#2 Bindaeddeok or Nokdujeon or green bean pancake. at this place called Sun Hee Ne. you need to read Korean. hahaha. 순희네.

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apparently it is so popular that Tim Burton came here. his face wasn’t pleased in those pictures though. hmm.

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but the Nokdujeon is so………… fluffy. I prefer the more compact ones but this is like a total different Bindaeddeok compared to the rests as it is filled with bean sprouts. they have delicious kimchi by the way.

and that Makgeolli. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

always opt for Jangsu Makgeolli (Roy Kim’s dad owns the company. buy buy buy! but it is the best). Daebak isn’t bad too.

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happy girl with her Jangsu Makgeolli <3.

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and the Meat Jeon was really good. loved it.

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this is how it look like from the outside. filled with advertisements and all. a lot of people waiting as well.

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I think this phenomenal orange is very very very underrated. because not many foreigners know about it. this weird shaped orange/tangerine is called Hallabang. do you know the Halla Mountain of Jeju Island? it is said that this fruit is from the mountains so it costs really much. 3 for 5 dollars and this is supposed to be a cheap(er) market. it wasn’t a very huge one. the huge ones can cost a lot more.

but what is so special about this fruit is the taste. it is ABSOLUTELY SWEET. it makes me crave for more. I mean, I love CNY tangerines but these are like luxurious. it tastes luxurious. it is like.. putting drops of heaven in your mouth. ah.

don’t blame me if you bought a disgusting hallabang you may be cheated sometimes/given a cheap one eehehehe.

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#3 YUKHOE 육회 pronounced as Yuk- Hu – Eeh.

believe it or not but this is raw beef.

I know it sounds disgusting. I found it disgusting when I ate Yukhoe Bibimbap at a posh place in Jeonju (said to serve the best bibimbap of all Korea). but this was absolute bliss.

you got to take a number from the counter and wait for your number to be called.

I waited for half an hour.

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KYAAAAAAAAAAAAA another Jangsu Makgeolli!!! <3. and that gorgeous looking yukhoe.

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I think the freshness of the beef is really important. this plate of generous Yukhoe costs 12 dollars. little price to pay for so much happiness.

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uhhh. well you get what I mean.

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no words can express how good it was.


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you eat it with sweet Korean pear and a raw egg. sounds disgusting but it is really really really good.


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the other part of the market. selling all sorts of stuff.

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this store looked pretty damn good. their sundae looks so delish. MUST TRY THIS NEXT TIME RAWR!!!

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10 years ago

Hey Jamie, another great post! The markets looked like fun! I haven’t been to Korea yet, but will one day. I have plenty of Korean friends here in Brisbane, which has the second highest population of Koreans in Australia, behind Sydney. There are many Korean restaurants in Brisbane’s CBD, and Korean businesses… especially fro-yo shops! Haha Come to Brisbane, I’ll show you around! Cheers, Jody 🙂

10 years ago

Oh, I forgot to add… danmuji is pickled white radish. In its “unpickled” form it’s known as daikon in Japan, where it’s also very popular. I made kimbap with a Korean girlfriend once. It was really good!

10 years ago

aaah! gwangjang market. I love this place. My friends bought their pretty hanboks here cause it’s affordable. and the kimbap sold here are the best. didn’t go to the resto where you ate but we opted to go to a stall situated at a corner and the kimbap was so delicious, we just had to buy one before going home to eat at the plane. haha! thanks for sharing.

10 years ago

Haha this place! Reminds me of running man again. Too bad I didn’t have the chance to go when I was in seoul 🙁

10 years ago

I should not have read this post while I was so hungry! I’m at work and don’t get to eat for hours, argh! I’ve only been to a Korean restaurant once, and felt a bit stupid because I didn’t know what to do with all the bowls! So your blog is very educational for me!
Love from America!

10 years ago

The Drug Kimbap and the pancake thing appeared in the Running man episode with CNBlue! now i so regretted not going the markets!

10 years ago

Hello Jamie,
It was completely coincidental that I came across here, and now I’m absolutely amazed. You are quite something.

I was born and raised in Gangnam and lived there till my mid-late 20’s. It seems you’ve been to more places in Korea than I have. I’m living in Australia and haven’t been back to Korea for nearly 5 years now – that’s how long I haven’t had any korean food. I usually don’t get any cravings for korean food. Well, your articles are driving me crazy though.

Keep it up. This is brilliant. You’re such a good looking smart cookie!
I’m sure my hubby and I are going to study your website prior to our next visit to Korea.

We are huge malaysian roti fans, by the way.


9 years ago

Hi jamie, appreciated if you could tell me what day does nandaemun, dongdaemun and gwangjang market close. I’ve been searching for the info but those i found differ from each other. Thank you.

9 years ago

Dear Jamie,

Is Dongdaemun closed every Sunday?
I’ve planned to visit DDM and since my flight is on Monday morning, I put DDM on Sunday night for some shopping spree.

Many thanks.

8 years ago

this post is making me really hungry.
do you know if it is compulsory to get 1 each at the store if i go with a friend? I read somewhere that you cant share 1 portion for 2person somewhere else 🙂

btw, I will be starting KLEC fall program at Sogang next week! I really cant wait to experience life in Korea, though its just a short 3 months 🙂

Stumbling upon your blog was awesome, eased my research on Seoul alot 🙂