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best street food markets in seoul

The Best Street Food Markets In Seoul

Are you a foodie looking for the ultimate culinary experience in Seoul? Look no further than the city’s bustling street food markets. From traditional Korean dishes to international cuisine, these markets offer a diverse range of flavors and aromas that will leave your taste buds tingling.

First up on our list is Gwangjang Market, one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in Seoul. Here, you’ll find an array of street foods such as bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes), bibimbap (mixed rice bowl), and tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes). The market also offers fresh seafood, meat, and vegetables for those looking to cook their own meals at home. With over 5,000 vendors selling everything from clothing to souvenirs, Gwangjang Market is a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists alike.

Key Takeaways

  • Seoul offers a diverse range of street food markets, each with their own unique atmosphere and offerings.
  • Tongin Market and Gwanghwamun Square Food Market are two of the best street food markets, offering authentic and affordable options for trying a variety of Korean street foods.
  • Both markets emphasize environmentally-friendly practices, with Gwanghwamun Square Food Market even using biodegradable packaging materials and encouraging visitors to bring their own containers and utensils.
  • Visitors to these markets should come with an open mind and a big appetite, ready to try traditional Korean dishes and immerse themselves in the bustling and lively atmosphere.

Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market’s bustling atmosphere and tantalizing smells will transport you to a food lover’s paradise. This market is a must-visit for anyone interested in trying authentic Korean street food. From tteokbokki (spicy rice cake) and bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes), to mayak gimbap (drug-roll sushi) and soondae (blood sausage), the variety of dishes available will leave your taste buds wanting more.

One of the most popular dishes at Gwangjang Market is the famous maeuntang, a spicy fish stew that packs a flavorful punch. Made with fresh seafood and served piping hot, this dish is perfect for warming up on chilly days. For those with a sweet tooth, be sure to try some hotteok, a type of filled pancake that comes in various flavors such as cinnamon or brown sugar.

Overall, Gwangjang Market offers an unforgettable experience that showcases the best of Korean street food culture. As you make your way through the crowds and sample delicious bites from various vendors, you’ll quickly realize why this market has become such an iconic destination for foodies around the world. But don’t stop here! The next stop on your culinary adventure awaits at Myeong-dong Street Food Market.

Myeong-dong Street Food Market

Get ready to indulge in Korean Fried Chicken, satisfy your sweet tooth with Korean desserts and explore the vibrant shopping scene at Myeong-dong Street Food Market. You won’t be able to resist the crispy, juicy goodness of the chicken that’s been marinated in a special blend of spices. And for those with a sweet tooth, there are plenty of options from traditional rice cakes to modern twists on classic desserts. As you wander through the bustling market, take in the sights and sounds of the vibrant shopping scene where you can find everything from trendy fashion boutiques to unique souvenirs.

Indulge in Korean Fried Chicken

Satisfy your cravings for crispy and juicy chicken with Seoul’s famous Korean fried chicken. This must-try dish is a staple in the city’s street food scene, and you’ll find several food stalls and restaurants that specialize in it. Here are some of the top places to indulge in Korean fried chicken:

  • Two Two Chicken: Known for their unique double-frying technique that results in an extra crispy exterior while keeping the meat tender and juicy.
  • Kyochon Chicken: Famous for their soy garlic flavor, this chain has over 1,000 locations worldwide.
  • BBQ Olive Chicken: Offers a wide variety of flavors such as honey mustard, sweet chili, and original.

Once you’ve had your fill of savory goodness, it’s time to satisfy your sweet tooth with Korean desserts.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Korean Desserts

You’ll be delighted to know that Korean desserts are just as delicious as their savory counterparts. From the famous bingsu, a shaved ice dessert with toppings like sweet red bean paste and fruit, to hotteok, a warm pancake filled with cinnamon sugar and nuts, there is a wide variety of sweets to satisfy your cravings. In addition to these classic treats, you can also try newer fusion desserts like croissant taiyaki or churro ice cream sandwiches.

One must-try dessert is definitely the Korean rice cake called tteok. These chewy cakes come in various shapes and flavors like matcha or sesame seed. You can find them at traditional markets or even upscale cafes. Don’t forget to wash it all down with some refreshing sikhye, a sweet rice punch made with malt water. Now that your sweet tooth has been satisfied, it’s time to explore the vibrant shopping scene in Seoul!

Explore the Vibrant Shopping Scene

Now it’s time to discover the trendy and bustling shopping districts that will leave you feeling exhilarated and wanting more. Seoul has a vibrant shopping scene that caters to every type of shopper, from high-end fashionistas to thrifty bargain hunters. Here are some must-see districts that should be at the top of your list:

  • Gangnam: Made famous by Psy’s hit song “Gangnam Style,” this upscale district is home to some of the most luxurious brands in the world. Stroll down Garosu-gil, a tree-lined street filled with designer boutiques, art galleries, and cafes.
  • Myeong-dong: Known as one of Seoul’s busiest shopping districts, Myeong-dong is a haven for beauty enthusiasts. With an endless array of skincare and makeup shops lining its streets, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stock up on Korean beauty products.
  • Hongdae: If you’re looking for something unique and quirky, head over to Hongdae. This artsy district is full of independent boutiques selling handmade crafts, vintage clothing stores, and streetwear shops.

As you explore these exciting districts, keep in mind that there are plenty more hidden gems waiting to be discovered throughout Seoul. But for now, let’s move on to Namdaemun Market – one of Seoul’s oldest markets with a rich history dating back over 600 years.

Namdaemun Market

If you’re looking for an authentic Korean experience, Namdaemun Market is the place to be. This bustling marketplace offers a wide variety of traditional Korean cuisine that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more. Not only can you indulge in delicious food, but you can also shop for traditional Korean goods while enjoying the lively atmosphere of this historic market.

Taste Authentic Korean Cuisine

Experiencing the rich and diverse flavors of authentic Korean cuisine is a must-do at Seoul’s best street food markets. At Namdaemun Market, you can indulge in traditional dishes such as bibimbap, bulgogi, and tteokbokki. Each dish has its unique blend of spices and sauces that make it stand out from other Korean foods you may have tasted before.

To fully enjoy your culinary adventure, try these three sub-lists:

  • Start with the iconic bibimbap which is a bowl of warm rice topped with vegetables, beef or pork, and gochujang (Korean chili paste). Mix all the ingredients together to get an explosion of flavors in your mouth.
  • Next up is bulgogi which is thinly sliced marinated beef cooked over an open flame grill. It has a sweet yet savory taste that pairs well with lettuce wraps or rice.
  • Lastly, sample some tteokbokki which are spicy rice cakes served in a hot sauce made from gochujang. The chewy texture combined with the fiery kick from the sauce will leave you wanting more.

After satisfying your taste buds with delicious Korean food at Namdaemun Market, it’s time to shop for traditional Korean goods.

Shop for Traditional Korean Goods

Indulge in the authentic cultural experience by browsing for traditional Korean goods at Namdaemun Market. This bustling market has over 10,000 shops selling everything from clothing and accessories to pottery and souvenirs. Take a stroll through the narrow alleys and marvel at the endless array of merchandise on display.

One of the highlights of Namdaemun Market is its food section where you can sample local delicacies like tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), mandu (dumplings), and bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes). In addition to food, there are also shops selling herbs, teas, and spices that are used in traditional Korean medicine. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as you haggle with vendors and soak up the sights, sounds, and smells of this iconic market.

As you browse through Namdaemun Market’s shops for traditional Korean goods, don’t forget to enjoy the lively atmosphere around you. The hustle and bustle of locals going about their daily lives will make you feel like a part of Seoul’s vibrant culture. And if shopping gets too overwhelming, take a break at one of the many food stalls or restaurants scattered throughout the market for some delicious Korean street food.

Enjoy the Lively Atmosphere

Now that you’ve finished shopping for traditional Korean goods, it’s time to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Seoul’s street food markets. The streets are filled with the smell of sizzling meat and savory sauces, and vendors calling out their specialties in hopes of enticing hungry visitors.

One of the best street food markets to check out is Tongin Market. This market is unique because instead of buying individual dishes from vendors, you purchase a tray and coins that can be exchanged for various foods as you make your way through the market. This allows you to sample a wide variety of dishes without breaking the bank. From tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) to mandu (dumplings), there is something for everyone at Tongin Market. So grab a tray, some coins, and get ready to indulge in some delicious Korean street food!

Tongin Market

You’ll find yourself transported back in time as you wander through Tongin Market, a historic food market that has been serving up delicious Korean street food for over 70 years. This bustling market is located in the heart of Seoul’s Jongno-gu district and offers visitors a truly authentic experience. As you walk around, take in the lively atmosphere filled with locals and tourists alike.

One of the unique features of Tongin Market is their traditional dosirak (lunchbox) program. For just 5,000 won (approximately $4 USD), you can purchase a set of empty containers and fill them up with various dishes from participating vendors. This allows you to try a variety of different foods without breaking the bank.

While at Tongin Market, be sure to try some of their must-try street foods such as tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes), and hotteok (sweet pancakes with brown sugar filling). The vendors are friendly and eager to share their culture through their delicious cuisine. Trust us, your taste buds will thank you!

As you make your way out of Tongin Market, don’t miss out on visiting Gwanghwamun Square Food Market just down the road. Here, you’ll find even more mouth-watering treats to indulge in. From savory kimbap rolls to sweet honey butter chips, this market will satisfy any craving you may have.

Gwanghwamun Square Food Market

Located just down the road from Tongin Market, visitors can satisfy their cravings for Korean cuisine at Gwanghwamun Square Food Market. This bustling food market is located in one of Seoul’s busiest districts and offers a wide variety of street food options. From traditional Korean dishes like tteokbokki and kimchi pancakes to fusion creations like bulgogi tacos and cheese corn dogs, there is something for everyone at this market.

One unique aspect of Gwanghwamun Square Food Market is the emphasis on environmentally-friendly practices. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own reusable containers and utensils to reduce waste. The vendors also use biodegradable packaging materials instead of plastic. This commitment to sustainability adds an extra layer of appreciation for the delicious foods being served.

To help you plan your visit, here is a table showcasing some of the must-try dishes at Gwanghwamun Square Food Market:

DishDescriptionPrice Range
TteokbokkiSpicy rice cakes with fish cakes and vegetables3,000 – 5,000 won
Bulgogi TacosSoft tortillas filled with marinated beef bulgogi and fresh toppings6,000 – 8,000 won
Kimchi PancakesSavory pancakes made with kimchi and other ingredients4,000 – 6,000 won
Cheese Corn DogA hot dog covered in crispy batter and melted cheese4,000 – 7,000 won

Overall, if you’re looking for a vibrant atmosphere full of delicious food options that are both tasty and sustainable, then Gwanghwamun Square Food Market comes highly recommended. Don’t forget to bring your own containers or grab some biodegradable ones from the vendors so you can enjoy your meal guilt-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of Gwangjang Market and how has it evolved over time?

Gwangjang Market has a long and interesting history that dates back to the early 1900s, when it was first established as a wholesale market for fabrics. Over time, it evolved into a bustling hub for street food vendors, serving up some of the most delicious and authentic dishes in Seoul. Today, Gwangjang Market is one of the city’s top destinations for foodies and travelers alike, offering everything from savory pancakes to spicy rice cakes. The market’s popularity has only continued to grow over the years, with new stalls opening up all the time and locals flocking here for their daily dose of street food goodness. Despite its modernization and popularity, however, Gwangjang Market has managed to maintain its unique charm and character throughout the years – making it an absolute must-visit when in Seoul.

Are there any vegetarian or vegan options available at Myeong-dong Street Food Market?

Yes, there are definitely vegetarian and vegan options available at Myeong-dong street food market. While the market is known for its meat-based dishes like tteok-bokki and hotteok, you can still find plenty of plant-based options if you know where to look. For example, there are stalls selling vegetable pancakes (yachaejeon), grilled corn on the cob, and sweet potato sticks. You can also try some of the Korean-style tofu dishes like sundubu jjigae or bibimbap with tofu instead of meat. Additionally, many vendors will be happy to customize their dishes to suit your dietary needs so don’t be afraid to ask! Overall, while Myeong-dong may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of vegetarian or vegan food in Seoul, it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for delicious and diverse options.

Can you purchase souvenirs or other non-food items at Namdaemun Market?

Yes, you can definitely purchase souvenirs and non-food items at Namdaemun Market! This bustling market is one of the largest in Seoul, with over 10,000 vendors selling everything from clothes and accessories to traditional Korean crafts and ceramics. It’s a great place to pick up unique gifts for friends and family back home or to snag some trendy Korean fashion pieces for yourself. Just be prepared to haggle a bit – bargaining is expected at this market. And don’t worry about missing out on food options either – there are plenty of street food stalls scattered throughout the market if you need a snack break between shopping sprees.

What is the most unique food item you can find at Tongin Market?

If you’re looking for something truly unique at Tongin Market in Seoul, look no further than the Dosirak Cafe. Here, you can purchase a traditional Korean lunch box or “dosirak” and fill it with a variety of food items from different vendors throughout the market. The catch? You pay with old Korean coins instead of regular currency. This experience not only allows you to try a variety of different foods, but also gives you a taste of history and culture as well. From savory dishes like tteokbokki and fried chicken to sweet treats like hotteok (a type of Korean pancake), there’s something for everyone at this one-of-a-kind marketplace. So grab your coins and appetite, and get ready for an unforgettable culinary adventure at Tongin Market!

Is there a particular time of day or week when it’s best to visit Gwanghwamun Square Food Market for the best selection of street food?

If you’re looking for the best selection of street food at Gwanghwamun Square food market, the best time to go is during lunchtime on weekdays. This is when the market is bustling with vendors selling a wide variety of Korean snacks and dishes. From tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) to mandu (dumplings), there’s something for everyone.

The atmosphere is lively and energetic, with locals and tourists alike enjoying the delicious food and vibrant culture. It’s important to come hungry and ready to try new things, as this market offers some of the most unique and flavorful street food in Seoul. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable culinary experience!

But your culinary adventure doesn’t stop there. Namdaemun Market has an array of street food options that cater to all palates, including spicy rice cakes and fried chicken skewers. Finally, Tongin Market offers a unique experience where you can exchange old coins for lunch boxes filled with different side dishes.

Make sure to add these street food markets to your itinerary when visiting Seoul. Not only will you get a taste of the city’s diverse cuisine, but also immerse yourself in its vibrant culture and bustling atmosphere. Don’t forget to bring an empty stomach and an open mind – happy eating!

James Yeong
James Yeong

Once a quaint dweller of the English countryside, James is now a vibrant voice narrating his adventures in the bustling heart of South Korea. Since relocating to Seoul in 2019, James has immersed himself in the dynamic tapestry of Korean culture, from the serene temples tucked away in mountainous terrains to the neon-lit streets of modern cities.

This blog has become a haven for those seeking an outsider's yet intimate perspective on South Korea, often shedding light on hidden gems and local favourites rather than just the typical tourist hotspots. With a keen eye for detail and a writing style dripping with wit and warmth, James has managed to amass a devoted readership from all corners of the globe.

Whether you're planning a trip to the Seoul, the surrounding cities or just vicariously traveling from the comfort of your couch, Jame's tales of exploration and discovery are sure to ignite a passion for the Land of the Morning Calm.

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