Korea: Gwangjang Market

Staying with CK's family and not knowing any Korean leads to lots of TV watching.  I find that getting absorbed into a TV show makes a great excuse for not paying attention to conversation.  (It's awkward to just sit in the middle of a conversation that is neither in a language you understand or intended to include you.)

Okay, so maybe my lack of Korean language skills also impeded my ability to follow TV dialogue, but hey, some jokes don't require words.  And thanks to the variety show, "1 Night & 2 Days", I discovered Gwangjang Market.

I am a huge proponent of food stands and night markets.  I expected to encounter way more food stands in Korea than I actually did.  I guess I let my experiences in Taiwan color my expectations of Korea.

However, Gwangjang Market was everything I was hoping for...and more.

It took us a while to find the main food corridor (we entered through the fabrics section), but I could feel my excitement rising as we got closer and closer.  Suddenly, the fabrics gave way to a bustling food extravaganza.  Jackpot!:

We stopped at the first stand we saw, in part because we were starving and in part because we were so impressed by how efficient these ahjummas were:

This particular stand was churning out bindaetteok like a well-oiled machine:

Bindaetteok are essentially mung bean pancakes with various veggies.  These were super crispy, super hot, and super delicious.

There were a lot of stands serving dukbokki and sundae.  We eventually stopped at this one because the ahjumma was particularly cajoling and persuasive:

But the moment we sat down, her attitude took an abrupt 180.  I felt like we'd been aggressively courted and pursued, only to be neglected once we'd been hooked and reeled in.

Used.  I felt used.

It kinda hurt my feelings.

Sudden chilly attitude of the ahjumma aside, the food was legit.  We got an order of dukbokki and kimbap:

The dukbokki was more than a little spicy, not gonna lie, but the kimbap helped temper the heat.

We also got an order of sundae (blood sausage), which apparently always comes with liver (ew):

Sundae is made by stuffing intestine with cellophane noodles and pork blood and then boiling it.  Intense, right?  The smell of the liver next to it was almost overwhelming, but the sundae itself was impressive in its own right.

I don't know how to describe its taste.  All I can say is that it's...an experience.  One that I actually enjoyed.  True, there was something about the smell that made it difficult to place in my mouth and there's also something about the initial burst of flavor that comes as a bit of a shock, but after a few chews, it's really rather tasty (especially dipped in the salt provided).

Yup, totally bypassed the liver.

Thank goodness for Korean variety shows!

Gwangjang Market
Seoul-si, Jongno-gu, Yeji-dong 6-1


  1. I just rediscovered ur blog, the blood sausage sure does sound interesting!


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