There are plenty of places in Korea that still preserve the tradition of its long history. One of those places is Gwangjang Market. Located in the heart of Seoul, it is immensely popular with foreign travelers looking to taste some of the best Korean street food.
This market has a history that is over 100 years dating back to the early 1900s. Back then, it was created with the purpose of Korean sovereignty during the Japanese occupation. At the time, there were only a couple shops and they were open every few days. It was later divided into different markets, Dongdaemun Market included, and the Gwangjang Market is now open every day after being established as the first market.
What to Expect
There are hundreds, or maybe thousands, of people that visit here almost every day. They come to experience the traditional market that offers an abundance of vintage clothing, such as textiles, silks and hanbok, and Korean street food, such as Korean pancakes called bindae-tteok (빈대떡), tteokbokki (떡볶이), and more.
The market is divided into two sections, the first and second floor. The first floor is where all the tasty food is. Some of the must-try food are bindaetteok (mung bean pancake), mayak kimbap (drug, or addicting, seaweed rolls), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), and soondae (steamed blood sausage).
The second floor is where you will find textiles, bed sheets, and other items. It is also a place where many couples visit to plan for their weddings and buy necessities for their new home.
Here’s how to reach this bustling traditional market. Use Line 1 and get off at Jongno 5-ga (종로5가) station. Get out Exit 8 and head straight for approximately 1 minute. Then you will notice an alley with a gate that says Gwangjang Market (광장시장) in Korean. This is only one of the entrances and you’ll start to see a couple more once you walk around the block.
Gwangjang Market is one of the most traditional places that you can find in Korea. It’s filled with delicious street food and clothing that you can purchase for lovely souvenirs. Next time you come to the Jongno area, be sure to check out Korea’s oldest market.