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Gwangjang Market: A feast for the eyes and stomach
Gwangjang Market:A feast for the eyes and stomach

Located in the Jongno 5-ga neighborhood in Seoul, Gwangjang Market was the nation’s first permanent traditional market. Established in 1905, the market today is home to more than 5,000 stores selling fabric, bedding, handmade crafts, ibaji food, and hanbok. Many of Gwangjang’s stores and alleys have remained unchanged from the way they were in the past. It is not uncommon to find noodle restaurants and hanbok stores that have been in business for as long as three generations.

Specialties of the market include bindaetteok (mung bean pancake), mayak gimbap (a type of seaweed roll), vegetables, bedding, imported living goods, hanbok, fabric, and vintage goods. The market operates from 9am to 6pm, except for the food market, which is open until 11pm. Gwangjang Market is closed on Sundays, but the food market is open year round. Recently, the market was upgraded with modern-style restrooms and rest areas.

Food market: overflowing with cheap eats

The most popular item at Gwangjang Market is the food. The food market, which has been in business for forty years, offers good food at great prices, so the market is always bustling with people seeking out tasty Korean food.

1) Crispy bindaetteok pancakes

The first food item visitors encounter upon entering Gwangjang Market is bindaetteok, a pancake made from ground mung beans. Cooked to order, these pancakes are crispy, hot, and affordably priced. They’re also great paired with makgeolli (traditional Korean rice wine).
* Price: 4,000-5,000 won per pancake/take-out available

How is bindaetteok made?
Mung beans are soaked in water for about three hours and then the skins are peeled off. They are ground in a millstone or mixer with some water. The ground mung bean paste is mixed with other ingredients such as green onions, beef, pork, or some kimchi. It is seasoned to taste and then pan-fried. To eat, the bindaetteok is dipped in a soy sauce mixed with chili powder and onion.

2) Bite-sized mayak gimbap

Another representative food item of Gwangjang Market is mayak gimbap, literally “drug gimbap,” because these bite-sized rice and dried seaweed rolls are addictive! The rice is rolled with pickled radish and carrot, and comes with a dipping sauce made from mustard and soy sauce. These small, convenient snacks are very affordable.
* Price: 2,500 won per serving/take-out available

3) Sundae, Korean black pudding

Sundae, or Korean-style black pudding, is another popular dish at Gwangjang Market. Sundae is a popular street food that is tender and tasty. It is often eaten with soju or makgeolli.
* Price: 5,000-6,000 won per serving/take-out available

Hanbok and Ibaji food: the style and taste of tradition

1) Hanbok

At Gwangjang Market, high-quality hanbok (Korean traditional clothing) can be purchased at affordable prices. Carefully made by hanbok masters, hanbok are a unique souvenir of Korea.

2) Ibaji food

Ibaji food is a selection of food that a newly-wed bride takes to her in-laws after her honeymoon. The food is quite colorful and carefully presented. Ibaji usually consists of relish, side dishes, rice cakes, and snacks, which are all made using natural ingredients. The Ibaji food of Gwangjang Market is carefully made with attention to traditional tastes and presentation as well as modern adaptations.

Vintage Sangga: a paradise of vintage fashion

The Vintage Sangga is located on the second floor of the Textile Gallery Joong Ang Building in Gwangjang Market. There are about a hundred clothing stores located there. In business for fifty years, the Vintage Sangga offers quality vintage items at affordable prices. Most products are imported from the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom, and the area is popular among vintage fashion aficionados.

More Info

Go to Gwangjang Market

☞ Hours of operation
* Market hours: 09:00-18:00 / Closed on Sundays
* Food market: 09:00-23:00 (Open year round)
* Vintage Sangga hours: 10:00-19:00 (Closed on Sundays)

☞ Transportation
* Jongno 5-ga Station (Subway Line 1), Exits 7 and 8
* Euljiro 4-ga Station (Subway Line 2), Exit 4. Walk 100m.

☞ Major items
Vegetables, ibaji food, folk items, bindaetteok, gimbap, sundae, custom-tailored hanbok, clothes, fabric, bedding, vintage fashion, etc

☞ Homepage: (Korean)
☞ 1330 tt call center: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Nearby Attractions: Cheonggyecheon Stream, Dongdaemun Shopping Complex • Dongdaemun Shopping Town, the street of used book stores

Onnuri Gift Coupon

The Onnuri gift coupon was made to revitalize local economies and traditional markets. It can be used like cash at affiliated markets and stores nationwide.
The coupon comes in two denominations: 5,000 won and 10,000 coupons. It cannot be exchanged for cash. However, any unused amount that is more than 60% of the coupon’s value is paid out in cash when paying with the coupons. Coupons are valid for five years from the date they are issued. They can be purchased at post offices or banks such as Korean Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives (Saemaeul Geumgo), National Credit Union Federation of Korea (Sinhyeop), IBK, Gyeongnam Bank, Gwangju Bank, Daegu Bank, Busan Bank, and Jeonbuk Bank.

Onnuri Gift Coupon

☞ Types of Coupon: 5,000 and 10,000 won denominations
☞ Where Onnuri coupons can be used: Affiliated markets and stores nationwide

☞ Inquiries: +82-1544-4090 (Korean)
☞ Homepage: (Korean)

Places to see near Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market is located close to Dongdaemun Shopping Town, Cheonggyecheon Stream, and the street of used book stores.

1) Cheonggyecheon, a stream running through the heart of the city

A popular tourist destination, Cheonggyecheon is a stream that runs through the heart of Seoul. The stream begins with a waterfall at Cheonggye Plaza, and then passes twenty-two bridges, historical relics, and exhibits along its route.

More info

Go to Cheonggyecheon Stream

☞ Venue: Seoul-si Jongno-gu Changsin-dong
* Transportation
Cheonggye Plaza: Jonggak Station (Subway Line 1), Exits 4, 5. Walk for 5 minutes.
Samilgyo Bridge: Euljiro 3-ga Station (Subway Line 2, 3), Exits 1, 2, 4, 5. Walk for 10 minutes.
Seungyo Bridge: Jongno 3-ga Station (Subway Line 1, 3), Exit 12. Walk for 10 minutes.

☞ Related Columns
Cheonggyecheon: Four Years On
Cheonggyecheon - Relax and Chill
☞ Homepage: (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ 1330 tt call center: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

2) Dongdaemun Shopping Town

Dongdaemun Shopping Town is the nation’s largest fashion complex, and is home to about 35,000 fashion stores. Traditional markets and modern shopping complexes fill up 30 large buildings. The Dongdaemun Fashion Festival is held in the spring and autumn.

More info

Go to Dongdaemun Shopping Complex • Dongdaemun Shopping Town

☞ Transportation: Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station (Subway Lines 2, 4, 5), Exits 8, 9
☞ Related Article: Comprehensive Clothes Shopping: from Fabrics to Accessories
☞ 1330 tt call center: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

3) Cheonggyecheon street of used book stores

The street of used book stores is near Dongdaemun Station (Subway Line 4). Take Exit 7 or 8 and walk towards Pyeonghwa Market. You will find used book stores alongside the Pyeonghwa Market building. The clustering of used book stores in this area began in the 1960s. Though the number of stores has dwindled from the past, the area is still visited by people wishing to buy hard-to-find books, out-of-print books, student handbooks, and children’s books at affordable prices.

Date 06/14/2012

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