As a very lively market, Dongmun traditional market is one of the many places in Jeju that I recommend to visit. The market itself is divided into four main sections: fresh seafood and other produce, fruits and snacks, souvenir, and street food. Out of many sections, I recommend the street food section most because the food carts menus are quite creative like the ones in Myeongdong, Seoul. Some stalls have long lines because of its popularity, but other stalls with less queues are also interesting. However, if you are looking for a more proper meal, and since the market is popular for its fresh seafood, I also have a seafood restaurant that I can recommend you later below.
The second important section of the market is where they sell fruits and snacks. I recommend buying the famous Jeju tangerine here because they let you sample everything! When you are sure the tangerines are nice and sweet, you can then bargain with the seller if you plan to buy in large quantities. Usually, they don’t mind giving a small discount if you plan to buy a lot. This also applies to the snacks. I recommend buying the Dol Haerubang-shaped (the grandfather stone) chocolate in a box with tangerine flavors as it could be the most Jeju-themed snack or souvenir you can get here for you friends and family back at home. When you buy a lot, they would happily give you small discounts (pssst, don’t ask for too much discount though, Koreans really hate this mannerism). As for other souvenirs, if you like collecting fridge magnets, small ornaments or even trinkets, this is where you can find them all for a fair price. Most of the stores have labels for the price, so, sorry, you can’t really bargain here.
I think this market can be visited together with anybody you want, whether it’s with your family members, friends of even for dates. It’s fun queue together in the line for food stalls and finally receiving the food that you are waiting for. Keep in mind though, you cannot immediately enjoy the food right in front of the stall, since it’s located at a really crowded narrow alley. You must go to the eating area and then throw away your rubbish yourself after finishing your food, following the littering instructions for each garbage bins (welcome to Korean littering etiquette!). You can enjoy this street food anytime of the year, even in the winter time, but note that it won’t be as enjoyable in the winter, since it is very cold to stand in lines in an open market, and your food will get cold pretty fast!
One of the foods I tried was this squid barbecue, which was actually delicious. I thought it was going to be tough to chew, but it wasn’t. Seems that they grilled it really well. If you’re feeling thirsty, I would recommend the bottled tangerine juices since you’re in the land of tangerine! It was one of my best decision to quench my thirst out of the spicy squid.
Lastly, the restaurant that I would like to recommend to you is called Gogaek Sikdang, where you can find Korean seafood in the menu. This restaurant is quite popular, judging their “wall of fame” filled with papers with signatures of famous artist and even pictures of them with the restaurant owner. The dish that I tried was one of the most popular dishes, which was the “braised Hairtail fish.” Even though the price range was quite on the higher side, at least if you split the bill with your friends, it would be okay. The fish dish is very good, seasoned well, but the fish itself is so boney. You cannot get away from the bones in each bite, which it ends up having you struggling to fish-out the bones from your mouth all the time. Therefore, I would not recommend this place for a first date. *LOL* You can enjoy this restaurant anytime of the year since it’s an indoor restaurant.
You can check the reviews and location address on Google Map for Dongmun Traditional Market and Gogaek Sikdang restaurant inside the market:
If you are not using private rental cars, and would like to go there by the bus, download Naver map in English on your phone, and follow the navigation using bus to this address.