SEOUL | Namdaemun Market

SEOUL // Namdaemun MarketSEOUL // Namdaemun MarketSEOUL // Namdaemun MarketSEOUL // Namdaemun Market

someone is waiting for her next victim

SEOUL // Namdaemun MarketSEOUL // Namdaemun MarketSEOUL // Namdaemun MarketSEOUL // Namdaemun MarketSEOUL // Namdaemun Market


SEOUL // Namdaemun Market

This creepy animated robotic lady is the stuff of nightmares. They could have at least dressed her better.

SEOUL // Namdaemun Market

After touring Gyeongbokgung we hopped in a cab and headed over to Namdaemun Market, the oldest and largest market in Korea. Without any plans and with no real desire to buy anything we wandered the market aimlessly, past large tables of clothes and tshirts and sunglasses and hats and bags for sale. I had left my sunglasses at home and thought I might find a decent pair here but found them to be too pricey, considering.

Sly headed down a narrow alleyway lined with restaurants. Each restaurant had a table full of fake food representing the items that were on their menu. My curiosity in the fake food displays was mistaken as interest and soon all the ladies from the alley of restaurants were beckoning us to come inside to eat.

Feeling more thirsty than hungry we passed by all the food stalls  and strolled around the market until we encountered a shop selling mandu — Korean style dumplings. Ladies were pushing and shoving and waving money in the air as rack after rack of mandu disappeared into neatly wrapped boxes. I wasn’t quite hungry yet but i couldn’t resist trying these dumplings.

3,000 KRW (approx $3) bought us a box of five mandu — the minimum order. Dumplings in hand we scurried off to the side to sink our teeth into the hot doughy pocket of goodness. Delicious. Soft and chewy on the outside, garlic chives and juicy pork (?) on the inside — a perfect ratio of dough to filling. For dessert, Sly had a kiwi on a stick while I sucked down a massive slice of juicy watermelon.

And that was just the appetizer. With our appetites now awake we searched for a nearby restaurant and found a simple seafood place. We sat down in the wonderfully air conditioned restaurant and ate plates of freshly grilled fish , spicy squid, tofu soup, and plenty of pickled and spicy side dishes.


NAMDAEMUN MARKET //  COST: Free to browse // DESCRIPTION: One of the oldest continually running markets in Korea and supposedly the largest retail markets. Clothing in particular is popular here, but you can also find alleys lined with glasses, socks, food, produce, etc. // GOOD FOR: This market seems to be particularly good if you’re in the market for a souvenir t-shirt // VERDICT: Definitely a lot of clothing can be found here though of questionable quality and manufacturing. As a market — it wasn’t much different from appearances from any other market that we have been to in Seoul or elsewhere. Prices were all over the place — some places seemed to be more expensive than going to some undergound Korean Mall. If you’ve never been to a market in Korea and are in Seoul, then it’s worth a visit. Or better yet, come here at night when the food stalls are a buzz and grab a bite to eat.

GAMEGOL SON WANGMANDU // LOCATION: Namdaemun Market, Hoehyeon Station, exit 5 and look for the yellow sign, steaming dumplings, and queue of people waving money. // COST: 3,000 KRW for 5 dumplings  //  DESCRIPTION: The take out menu consists of two types of dumplings: spicy or regular. The regular dumplings were filled with pork, garlic chives, and bean sprouts. Unlike most mandu I’ve eaten, these were more reminiscent of larger, hand-sized Chinese dumplings. Maybe a bao/dumpling hybrid? Once you get your dumplings move away from the storefront or one of the workers will yell at you. // VERDICT: We just randomly found this place, but it’s really popular and the lines can be long. (though they move very quickly).  The mandu here are really tasty though — some of the best I’ve eaten in Korea — not to mention cheap. I would definitely eat here again.

UNCLE’S GRILLED FISH // LOCATION: 0-2 Namchang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, — Hoehyeon Station, Exit 4 //  COST: About $7-10 an entree // DESCRIPTION: Small seafood place serving several types of grilled fish, spicy squid. and seafood soups and stews Menu has photos and is in both Korean and English. // VERDICT: The mackerel was cooked to perfection but the other fish we tried and the sides were good, not great.

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