Noryangjin Fish Market. A famous fish market located in Seoul that is open 24/7 and is Seoul’s biggest fisheries market. I went there twice during the weekend and the weekdays. It’s really packed on the weekends, locals would dine out together with their family or friends for hours. So if possible, try going on the weekdays if you don’t like the crowd.
The Biggest Fish Market
As soon as you enter the market, you’ll find multiple stalls lined up one after another like a never ending domino selling all kinds of seafood you can dream off. The signs to each stall is colour coded either blue, purple, orange or green. They stand for live fish, frozen food, shellfish, fresh fish respectively. Honestly though, they aren’t that very different from each other in terms of what they sell. Every stall has similar seafood.
How Things Go Here
Now, I’ll tell you how you can try yourself the sliced live octopus, a famous Korean eatery called 산낙지 (sannakji). You can go to any stall you see, I went to one of the blue ones. Al though it’s better if you go to a few stalls and compare the prices that they offer. The stall owner will approach you, and you can just ask for ‘sannakji’.
Bear in mind that not all store owners will be able to understand English. If you’re worried about communicating with them, you can just remember that Korean word for live octopus ‘Sannakji’ and use your fingers to indicate how many you want.
The standard price of the live octopus can do down to as cheap as 10,000won for 2 octopuses. Be sure to bargain as much as you can, as they can pull the price up higher for foreigners.
How To Eat Them
Once you’ve made your order, a worker from the stall will direct you upstairs to any restaurant where you will be served the octopus. What’s the taste like? It’s very peculiar, interesting but rather decent. I observed the kitchen from my table when the live octopus was being prepared, I noticed they added a considerable amount of 참기름 ( sesame oil). That accounts for the flavour of the sliced live octopus. It does have a chewy texture, but it tastes good.
Is the octopus still alive when you’re eating it? Of course not. The tentacles of the octopus is indeed moving but that is just the muscles contracting and the octopus isn’t actually alive. If you’re a first timer and you feel a little scared to eat it, you can start easy by trying the smaller pieces first! You can refer to the video below that I took when I tried it.
If you’re there for a full on lunch or dinner, you can order some add on meals from the restaurant. My friend and I ordered fried rice because we were feeling quite hungry and we ate them together with the octopus. There are other variety meals you can order to fill up your tummy, you can try asking the restaurant owner for an English menu, or ask them directly what they recommend to fill your tummies! If you’re concerned about how to communicate, you can just pull out a direct translate dictionary like google translate or naver dictionary and show it to them! However you don’t have to worry about this. You’ll be able to get what you want properly as it is a tourist attraction and they’re used to dealing with tourists!
I hope this post was helpful on how you can try the live sliced octopus. Definitely a must recommend adventure in South Korea. See you in the next post!
Read more: Gwangjang Market