Sunday, December 21, 2014

Gwangjang Night Market

Gwangjang Market in Seoul offers a variety of traditional Korean street foods at night. Even on a cold evening, the covered arcade was bustling with both locals and tourists. There seems to be a few staple street foods on offer at Gwangjang.

One kind, which we did not try, is a type of big thick fried pancake, made with a flour or egg batter. It is filled with a variety of different foods like vegetables, meat, and seafood.

At Gwangjang, each shop has stools right on the street so people can sit, eat, and watch their food being cooked. There isn't as much grab-and-go as you'll find at a Taiwanese night market.

At an intersection within the market, the crowds were dense, and there were so many vendors placed together, creating a thick cloud of steam with their cooking. The whole place smelled delicious and was warmed up by the steam.

Some of the most popular vendors had all their seats filled, but so many places sell the same foods so you will have no trouble finding something to eat.

We found a slightly quieter and emptier part of the market, where a long line of vendors were all selling noodles and steamed Korean dumplings called mandu. We decided to go for some dumplings, which looked plump and fresh. The seats were heated, a nice touch on this wintry night.

There were two types of dumplings, meat and kimchi. One order of each was $5 USD, and the owner recommended that we split a plate of half of each kind of dumpling.

On the plate below, the rounded moon-like dumplings are pork, and the other kind is kimchi. They were really good! I especially liked the pork dumplings - thick and meaty.

We also decided to try a dish that sounds very strange but we saw lots of people eating - "sundae." It's a plate of various types of meats and offal, including pig stomach, liver, and intestines stuffed with glutinous rice. A big plate of this meat was $10 USD, and included some soup and side dishes.

It wasn't too bad! The meat had interesting textures. A whole plate of it would be too much for one person though, in my opinion.

There were also various traditional shops lining the arcade, though most of them appeared closed for the night. It was a fun night market experience, very different from the Taiwan night markets though. I would go back for the dumplings!

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