5 Must-Visit Traditional Markets in Seoul For Cheap Food And Unique Experiences

Traditional Markets in Korea Collage

When visitors are in Seoul, their itineraries are often packed with touring the grand palaces, retail therapy and relaxing at the aesthetically-pleasing cafes. While we can understand why travellers love these activities, Seoul actually has so much more to offer!

Traditional markets are often overlooked and deserve more attention to the amount of culture, food and interesting experiences that can be offered all in one place.

Feast on affordable street food, gawk at gigantic freshly caught fish and observe as the stall vendors make big batches of kimchi. Here are 7 traditional markets in Seoul you need to visit to get the very best out of your trip.

Gwangjang Market Seoul


#1 GWANGJANG MARKET


Opened in 1905, Gwangjang Market boasts over 5000 shops and 42,000 square metres. This is the traditional market you must visit if you are tight on time while in Seoul.

Gwangjang Market is food heaven for those who love affordable Korean street food and snacks; from cheap and generous portions of mung bean pancakes to steaming plates of spicy rice cakes and crispy deep-fried snacks.

Most of the food stalls here have been operating for many years, thus they are well-loved by the locals for the wallet-friendly prices and years of expertise they spent to hone and perfect the dishes.

In addition to food, visitors will be able to watch as stall owners make huge batches of fresh kimchi and explore the many uniquely Korean stalls available here, including antiques and cheap clothing!

88 Changgyeonggung-ro,
Jongno 4(sa)-ga, Jongno-gu,
Seoul, South Korea
Nearest Station: Jongno 5-ga/Euljiro 4-ga

Noryangjin Fisheries Seafood


#2 NORYANGJIN FISHERIES WHOLESALE MARKET


Featuring an impressive array of tanks filled with live seafood, Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market is Seoul’s biggest seafood market. Seafood lovers visiting the capital city, this is the ultimate market for you!

The market is made up of two buildings, and here’s everything you need to know before visiting.. Indulge in fresh assortment of seafood, including raw, live octopus.

Buy your fresh seafood from any of the seafood vendors, then head to the restaurants nearby for a freshly cooked meal with the seafood you just purchased for a delightful hot meal.

674 Nodeul-ro,
Noryangjin-dong, Dongjak-gu,
Seoul, South Korea
Nearest Station: Noryangjin

Tongin Market

Photo Credit: Seoul Insiders Guide


#3 TONGIN MARKET


A doshirak is a Korean lunch box that local mothers would pack for their children to bring to school and for their spouses to take to work. Tongin Market is popular for its one-of-a-kind concept of filling up your own lunchbox at any of the participating food stalls in the marketplace.

To have the complete dosirak experience at Tongin Market, visitors simply have to head over to the entrance of the market to exchange their money for a roll of traditional coin replicas. Then, they can visit the numerous participating stalls to pick out their side dishes and exchange them for a coin or two before heading off to the next stall to fill up their lunch box.

Load up a dosirak with various exciting side dishes including savoury pancakes, kimbap, egg rolls and dumplings; head upstairs to feast on your lunchbox once you are done, there are numerous tables and chairs provided to enjoy your meal.

18 Jahamun-ro 15-gil,
Tongin-dong, Jongno-gu,
Seoul, South Korea
Nearest Station: Gyeongbokgung

Changsin Market

Photo Credit: The Seoul Guide


#4 CHANGSIN MARKET


Go on a major throwback and head to Changsin Market, where there are various old-school toys to reminiscence on simpler times before technology and smartphones blew up.

Nostalgia will hit you like a tidal wave as you take in the many toy shops lining the market here with dolls, robots, kitchen sets and even toys that you have to assemble on your own.

6 Jongno 52-gil,
Jongno-gu,
Seoul, South Korea
Nearest Station: Dongdaemun

Yangnyeongsi Market

Photo Credit: The Soul of Seoul


#5 YANGNYEONGSI MARKET


Traditional herbal medicine has been believed to offer amazing positive effects for our bodies for decades (and even centuries) in Asia.

Discover the world of medicine at Yangyeongsi Market, where the smell of the medicinal herbs lingers throughout the market with the wholesale stores, street vendors and pharmacies that line the market. The traditional pharmacies will typically be spotted with wooden cabinets that cover the floor to the ceiling with an impressive collection of oriental medicine.

Korea is famous for its red ginseng, with numerous health benefits including aiding mental and physical health stimulation, as well as boosting the immunity system. Visitors will be given plenty of opportunities to purchase them at wholesale prices at Yangyeongsi market.

51-1 Namseong-ro,
Jung-gu,
Daegu, South Korea
Nearest Station: Banwoldang