Gwangjang Market is the nation’s first market and nowadays becomes a popular tourist spot. The market is where the locals shops for silk, fabric, bedding, hanbok, clothes, home furnishings, and goods for future brides and grooms. When the shops close in the evening, that’s where more people coming here to have their company dinner or night snacks.
Although most of the market shops are close, but not for the food market. As the night gets deeper, the market gets livelier. As I entered the market, I saw a big hall of food stalls selling different type of food. Bibimbap 비빔밥 (mixed rice), bindaetteok 빈대떡, tteokbokki 떡뻑이 (rice cake), soondae 순대 (pig blood sausage roll), japchae 잡채 (stir-fried glass noodle), mayak kimbap 마약김밥 (‘addictive’ rice rolls, smaller than the normal ones), and etc. I could not wait to taste all the food.
The traditional market is also famous for its bindaetteok 빈대떡. What is bindaetteok 빈대떡? It is a pancake-like made from mung bean batter, mixed with meat and vegetables, and deep fried until it is crispy. Not only it is delicious, it doesn’t cost a lot. One piece of bindaetteok 빈대떡 is costs less that 4,000KRW!
The biggest and most popular bindaetteok 빈대떡 stall is “Sunhwane Bindaetteok 순화네 빈대떡”. The snacks seems to be the speciality of the market itself. People coming here just to eat the bindaetteok 빈대떡. There are 2 food carts in the middle of the market. But the seats are limited. So the ahjumma told us to go to the shops around the corner which has more seats. You may have to queue for a while.
As it is in the market, the shop is lack in cleanliness, but it’s not that bad. Since the shop is not huge, it is a bit stuffy. Perhaps because the tables and chairs are put close to another. But, once the bindaetteok 빈대떡 was served, we forgot about the packed crowd. They are crunchy outside but soft inside. If you dip the bindaetteok 빈대떡 into the soy sauce, it is very delicious.
As we still wanted to try the rest of the food outside, we only ordered 1 piece for meat and veggie version each. The veggie version is in the size of a small pizza and the meat one is smaller. They will cut one piece into 4 for sharing. Similar to pajeon 파전, it’s best to enjoy together with makgeolli rice wine. We ordered the bottled makgeoli but it did taste as nice as the fresh makgeoli one.
The best food here are manyak kimbab 마약김밥 and bindaetteok 빈대떡. It was good that there were a few of us, so we could share the portions together. I will definitely come back here again to have a real street food with a good taste and price. It is the place where you can taste all kind of Korea street food in the cheapest price!
Opening hours: 9am-10pm (for normal stores), 8.30am-11pm (for food stalls)
How to go there:
Take subway to Jongno(5)-ga Station (line 1, dark blue line) and take exit #9 or #10 (nearest to the food market).