Being one of Korea’s largest traditional market, Gwangjang Market is renowned for not only its vintage clothing arcade but also various good traditional snacks.
During 1905, the period during Japanese occupation, Gwangjang Corporation, the origin of Gwangjang Market is established with the purpose of reclaiming Korean sovereignty. In fact, at that time, Korean traditional markets were held only periodically. Not after Gwangjang Market establishment marked the first permanently established Korean traditional market.
This market is placed near Jongno-5-ga Subway Station and Euljiro-4-ga Subway Station. You could easily find the place with its huge gates with the name engraved at all 4 entrances.
Also, it is placed near Dongdaemun Market which you could find many fashionable shopping items at affordable prices at wholesale and retail stores.
Actually Gwangjang Market is not so special as compared to other Korean traditional markets. In fact, it seems to have less choice of street foods, if it is to be compared to Mangwon Market. However, Gwangjang Market, being the most historically old market, has many stalls selling good street foods which have even been broadcasted on TV.
Bindae-tteok, also known as Mung bean pancake, is one of the most famous to-eat food in the market. Two main bindae-tteok stores – Sonheuinae(손희네) and parkganae(박가네) literally dominate the market. Don’t be shocked if you are constantly being called to dine at their places throughout your way in the food section. We tried out the former. Not bad! But I prefer the other menu they have – the meat wanja- another pancake made of meat.
Price : bindae-tteok (4000 won), meat-wanja(4000 won for 2 pcs)
How is it different with kimbap in convenience store? I can’t really tell but the size is smaller, in bite size. The taste is good. I think the reason it is called “drug kimbap” is because it is addictive like drug.
At the end of the food section in the market, there is a famous stall selling red-bean donuts and braided donuts. If I didn’t have tried, I won’t believe braided donuts can be made so soft inside but crispy outside. This is really good. My number one! Besides, the food price is very cheap, 1000 won each.
Hotteok is some kind of Korean flour-made snacks with honey fillings. Sweet and perfect snack in a cold day. The hotteok in the market is quite special with honey fillings not only inside, but also all on the crispy skin.
How could these two things be left out in best winter snack list? Indeed, Gwangjang Market also serves great tteokbokki and omuk, where you could sit at the tables provided in front of the stall and dine in there. The food was great and it was fun!
Other foods you could get in Gwangjang Market include pig feet, live octopus, raw beef, and sashimi. I am not into them personally but they have good reviews generally!
Other than food, Gwangjang Market is also famous of the quality silk goods, linen bedding sheets and hand-made goods which can be found at the second floor! You could buy quality Hanbok for affordable price here!
If you wish to visit a local market in Seoul near the center of the city, Gwangjang Market would be your best choice. If you are hoping for more variety of street foods, do visit Mangwon Market!