In this issue I will introduce Gwangjang Market, located in Jongno-gu, Seoul. Gwangjang Market, which was built in 1904, is one of the first permanent markets in Korea. Due to the market being located between Gwanggyo and Jingyo, this market is called Gwangjang. It is a source of pride where we can find a variety of products and it is also the nation’s largest market. The reason why I choose to introduce this particular market is that it has not only many foods and spectacles, but also unusual attractions. Now, let’s check out the attractions.
Before we enter Gwangjang Market we must first look around. The market is surrounded mainly by clothing materials, linen, etc., and you can also easily find some big stationery stores. They have many party goods for Halloween. We could find common markets that we already know. There were also many signs for newcomers to find their destination at every entrance.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a look at the market in detail. On the first floor, there are mainly food markets and some stores that sell Korean traditional dress, curtains, and fabric. Many food markets sell not only gimbap, bindaetteok and raw beef, which are most famous in Gwangjang Market, but also seafood and big sundae. These mouth-watering foods are just lined up there. We generally assume there are seniors and middle-aged women in traditional markets, but it is quite different here. You can find people of all ages, including middle and high school students, university students and after-hours workers. Needless to say, the atmosphere was very cheerful. We ate gimbap which is famous for a unique taste of Gwangjang Market. The price is 2500 won per person which is very cheap, and the amount of food is enough, the taste is also fantastic----that is why people refer to it as the addictive gimbap. The unique thing is that people eat the gimbap with a special mustard sauce. At a glance, it looks strange but the taste is unforgettable so some people order more sauce. You can easily find other restaurants and cart bars, but the raw beef sushi restaurants are gathered on one street. The meat melted appropriately with the yolk tastes terrific. We enjoyed eating thanks to the restaurant’s cheerful atmosphere, because the place was full of people. We left feeling very happy and satisfied.
Gwangjang Market also has a second floor. It was not easy to find the way to the second floor, but a middle-aged woman was kind enough to tell us where it was, so we were able to find it finally. There we felt the market’s traditional vibe, which was full of warmth and kindness. People offered help to one another and the storeowners were very nice towards the customers including us. When customers bought goods, the owners would give a little extra, which was very touching.
The second floor mainly consisted of cloth markets. Upstairs, we were very surprised because the second floor was a very different place. The clothes markets were large and the people were mainly in their 20’s and 30’s, while the first floor consisted of people of all ages. The second floor is crowded with the younger generation and felt very fresh. The young owners made us laugh with cheerful looks when we took some pictures for the article. They always recommended nice clothes and gave us fashion tips, since we all belong to the same generation. It was very different from other big markets in general. There were also a lot of haggling voices but it was what makes a traditional market. Depending on how well people haggle, they can purchase the clothes easily. This is another attraction of the traditional market.
These days, people prefer big and modern markets because they have more goods and a cleaner environment. Also people have a common misconception that the traditional market is a place where only senior citizens and middle-aged women frequent. However, the traditional market has its own cheerful and affectionate atmosphere, so distinct from general shopping malls. People of all ages can enjoy many interesting sceneries and also enjoy delicious food. The traditional markets try to renovate in order to revitalize certain fields and to create a clean and consumer-friendly environment. These markets are not far from us, they are always near, and there are not many of them nowadays. They are full of affection among people, and it is a rare space where people of all ages can be cheerful in this heartless society. When you are busy and exhausted due to your studies or job preparation, I recommend you to visit there. That opportunity allows you to enjoy many things as well as a wonderful day.
**Market hours< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >
General district: 08:30 - 18:00
Food court: 08:30 - 23:00
Clothes corner: 21:00 – the next day 10:00