[this post was first published in online magazine K-Magazine]
Prior to the trip, I’ve already heard loads about Noryangjin, the biggest fish market in Seoul, and have seen it featured in many dramas/movies. Thus, it was a must-visit for me.
The place did not disappoint. I was lucky that the market was holding its first ever festival during that weekend and the whole place was filled with activity. The people there were genuinely happy and excited about the festival and the atmosphere was great.
There was a game where contestants had to spin 10 rounds (and get really giddy), after which they had 30sec / 1 min to catch the slippery fishes in the pool. Finders, keepers. It was pretty hilarious to see them going off in the wrong direction and listening to the audience’s tips and directions on where the fishes are.
The whole place was well ventilated, so there isn’t any strong stench. At the side, there were many made-shift stalls selling seafood at discounted prices and you can even eat them on the spot. The tables were filled with ajummas and ajusshis enjoying their seafood over a beer or soju.
The market itself is pretty standard, and most of the stalls sell the same stuff. It was fascinating to see live fishes and octopus of gigantic sizes but it got boring after awhile.
Most people come to Noryangjin for the cheap sashimi, but I went there on a full stomach so I didn’t manage to eat anything. You can buy the fishes in the market and then go to the restaurants on the next floor to get them sliced into sashimi (회) and the rest made into a spicy fish stew (매운탕). The store owners along that stretch were very actively promoting their stores and it got to the point where they will try to grab you towards their stores.