Travel Guide

Take a Trip to Markets in Seoul with Me

Angelynn
June 15, 2023

Seoul, the vibrant capital of South Korea, is known for its markets that have a blend of traditional and modern charm. The markets I am talking about are nothing like the markets you find in America. Among the popular markets you can experience in Seoul are the flea markets and street food markets. These markets are not only a shopper's paradise but also a delightful culinary adventure, showcasing the local culture, flavors, and traditions.

Let's explore the world of flea markets and street food markets in Seoul. The street food market has all types of different Korean food for people to try from tteok-bokki to homemade noodles. The flea market is a fun place to go scavenger hunting with family and friends to find unique items that you might not find anywhere else. Some of the popular flea markets in Seoul include Dongmyo Flea Market, and Gwangjang Market.

Visiting flea markets and street food markets in Seoul is not just about shopping for the out of this world clothes and eating the very appetizing food; it is an immersive cultural adventure that allows you to connect with the city's heritage, flavors, and the incredible people here in Seoul. Whether you're looking for a unique souvenir, to go on a journey, or simply an opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, Seoul's flea markets and street food markets have something for everyone. So, get ready to read on to find out more about the markets here in Seoul.

Dongmyo Flea Market

Are you looking for any out of this world souvenirs for family and friends or just want to go on a shopping adventure? Well the Dongmyo flea market is where you need to be located here in Seoul, South Korea. This flea market is known for being a popular destination for tourists and those looking for an adventure while shopping. It is known as one of the oldest and largest flea markets in the city of Seoul. The market is near the Dongmyo Shrine. Dongmyo Shrine is a historic site dedicated to Guan Yu, a legendary Chinese general. This place adds to the market's cultural significance and creates a different atmosphere for everyone.

Dongmyo flea market is a treasure trove for those antique lovers, bargain hunters, and those seeking a taste of traditional Korean crafts. There are a lot of vendors at the flea market that also sell handmade products that you probably would not find anywhere else. Visitors are able to look through any of the stalls filled with items that span from various eras and styles that offer a look into the past of South Korea. What I found to be very interesting to me about the flea market is that there were so many antique cameras. From Canon cameras to the older digital cameras. The flea market has many bookstores as well where you can find any older books like The Baby-Sitters Club. Dongmyo Flea Market is also a place for people who are into vintage clothing. There is always a pile of clothes in the center of the flea market for people to go through and find their favorite clothes to buy. All of Seoul’s flea markets offer a wide variety of items to suit every person’s taste and budget. A good tip for the market is that you should always carry cash when you visit. This really is a place waiting to be explored by locals and travels alike.

Picture from Time Out

One thing that is really nice about the flea market is that it is always a lively place to visit. You will see friendly vendors actively trying to bargain with their customers. The markets sometimes have street performances, traditional music, and cultural events, adding an extra layer of excitement to the overall experience that you would not find at any other market. The sights and sounds create an experience that makes people visiting to be really engaged in the local culture of what a flea market is in South Korea. Aside from shopping, the flea market provides opportunities for visitors to learn from the local community. You can engage in conversations with the vendors, as well as learn about the history and stories behind the items on display, and you can even gain insights into traditional Korean craftsmanship. It's important that you check the market's schedule before planning your visit because you just never know when they might be open or closed. Also, be prepared to navigate through the crowds as the market can get extremely packed especially during peak hours and the weekend. Now, let’s move on to what every foodie or a local on a tight budget in the whole world would love: street food at Gwangjang Market located in Seoul, South Korea.

Operating Hours:

Monday-Friday 14:00-20:00

Saturday-Sunday 10:00-21:00

Closed on Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday

Homepage:

Dongmyo Flea Market

Address:

Sungin 2(i)-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

서울특별시 종로구 숭인2동

How to get there:

Dongmyo Station Line 6, Exit Number 3, 2 minute walk

Street Food Market (Gwangjang Market)

First time trying traditional Korean street food? It is okay; guarantee it will not be your last time. Traditional Korean street food is a comfort food for everyone. It is very savory and delicious. With its hint of spiciness that genty creeps into your tastebuds will leave you wanting more. Once you have experienced it, it will always remain a delicious memory of warmth and comfort. Gwangjang Market was created in 1905. It is the oldest traditional market in not just the city of Seoul but in all of South Korea.The market has become a beloved landmark and a must visit location for everyone. If you are a tourist visiting South Korea, one of the main things you have to do when visiting is to try the street food.

The best place to try Korean street food would have to be Gwangjang Market. This place will make your taste buds dance. Always remember to take cash with you when you go to any of the markets because they do not take cards. Gwangjang Market is known for their traditional Korean food like Bindaetteok which is made of ground mung beans, vegetables, and meat. As well as Bungeo-Ppang, that is a Korean fish shaped pastry that is filled with red bean paste. You could even probably find some that have pastry cream or dare I say it, peperoni. Another sweet dessert you can try is Hodu-gwaja. Hodu-gwaja is a pastry that has walnuts and red bean paste inside of it. The dough of Hodu-gawja is made with lots of walnuts mixed with wheat flour. At all street food markets they even have Kimbap. Kimbap can be made for vegetarians but there are some that are made with cooked rice, vegetables, fish, or meat rolled up in gim, which is a dried sheet of seaweed. Whether you are looking for sweet or savory they will have it for you. If you are looking for authentic Korean dishes to eat on the go or maybe for lunch this really is the best place to go to.

One spot that people really enjoy is Cho Yonsoon’s Gohyang Kalguksu Stall. Gohyang Kalguksu Stall is a stall that has traditional kalguksu which is hand-cut noodles. She also has delicious dumplings that have either pork or kimchi in them. A popular show on Netflix called ‘Street Food’ had Cho Yoonson on their show which featured her creating her dishes that you can try at her stall in the market. The episode was episode six ‘Street Food: Asia’. The line for her food is always long but it is well worth trying. Her noodle stall was always popular even before the Netflix show. It is popular because her food is so yummy and she is very kind to everyone. I was able to visit her stall and I got her handmade noodle soup and dumplings. The noodles were chewy and tasted so good. The dumplings just make you want to eat more of them. Her food is not expensive either. The most you would have to pay would be 7,000 Won which is about $5.50 in US dollars and that is for the noodles soup and dumplings. I hope that learning about these places makes you want to get up and go out and try some new foods that you have not yet tried or maybe you have tried but you just want to see what makes street food different than going to a Korean restaurant.

Operating Hours:

9:00 AM-23:00 Everyday

Homepage:

Gwangjang Market

Address:

88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

서울특별시 종로구 창경궁로 88

How to get there:

Jongno5(o)-ga Station Line 1, Exit Number 7


Summary

The bustling markets we explored in this blog are the flea market and street food market. Flea markets provide an opportunity to indulge in a mix of vintage treasures, traditional crafts, and unique collectibles, while street food stalls help you find delicious and affordable culinary delights, offering a true taste of Korean cuisine. If you are thinking about traveling to Seoul you now know that these are some of the main places you have to visit to learn about the culture of this city. You also have learned that you just have to try the amazing foods that are waiting to be eaten and enjoyed by everyone.

Seoul is already an experience all on its own, so adding these random finds just makes this place even more exciting. Even if you are not able to come to Seoul and you are in South Korea please just make sure you make the time to go and eat some street food in your area. Now I am not saying it will taste the same but you never know you just might be thinking this is yummy in the end of it. Do not forget to visit the flea market in whatever part of South Korea you are visiting, you never know what you may find there for yourself or for a loved one. When you have the time, remember to stop and enjoy the things that are around you. Take your time when visiting South Korea, learning about the culture, eating the various foods you do not see in other countries. I hope you look forward to my next blog.