LINE 1 Noryangjin Exit 1
(Walk 100m over the bridge)
Noryangjin Fish Market is the largest wholesale and retail seafood market in Seoul and is definitely a place teeming with tourists. The market is opened 24 hours, with wholesale auctions starting early in the morning and fresh seafood ready to be served at your table at any restaurant in the market. I don’t think there is any type of seafood you cannot find here (unless it’s not edible I guess).
Getting here is simple; the subway station drops you off right by the market, just head up the bridge nearby and walk towards the fishy smell (if you’re crossing a busy street on the bridge you’re going the wrong way). Once you’re across the bridge, you will be on a rooftop of a parking structure, go ahead and walk down some stairs leading directly to the second floor of Noryangjin Fish Market.
The second floor of the market is lined with restaurants; that is where your seafood will be cooked and served. The first floor consists of individual stalls of seafood vendors. The market reminds me of the markets I’ve been to in Vietnam and Cambodia, just that this only sells seafood.
I was 100% intimidated the very second we stepped food onto the first floor of the market. As we walked down the aisle, people from individual stalls spoke in Korean (and some in Chinese) wanting us to stop by to buy their seafood. I don’t know much about seafood, nor did I know what we wanted to eat.
We finally picked a stall with a lady speaking in fluent Chinese. We told her wanted a soup and asked her what we should get for a seafood soup. She ended up picking out shell fish for us (but no crab, or shrimp please) and some sea urchin for sashimi (just for me). We also stopped by another stall to grab a plate of sashimi.
Once we paid for our seafood, she led us to a nearby restaurant. It was on the first floor and not the second floor as I had learned (nor did we get to pick out where we wanted to eat; interesting).
The restaurant was small, and it was obvious that almost everyone in there spoke Chinese. I guess that makes sense since we chose to buy our seafood from a Chinese speaking vendor. Most of these Chinese people were eating these huge crabs, it looked like they were simply steamed. Unfortunately I don’t like having to deal with the shell.
When our soup came out, I was skeptical. The broth looked very light (is it going to be very flavorful?), it almost looked as if our clams etc, were just thrown into a pot to boil topped with avocados. I was wrong. The soup was actually very flavorful (I think I can taste how fresh the seafood was), and the avocados were not avocados they are some sort of melon (I actually wanted some avocados, since it’s not easy to find in Asia). I liked that the clams etc (sorry, I don’t know what I ended up getting) since they were easy to eat and no messy hands.
The only thing that kind of got my hands dirty, was my sea urchin. I was kind of disappointed that they were cut open this way. I guess I’ve never really had any fresh sea urchin like this. They were delicious and creamy but looked a little unappetizing.
After finishing up my sea urchin, I wanted more raw fish. Yunti stepped out got a plate of sashimi for us from a near by stall out side. Interesting that it was wrapped in saran wrap as she brought into the restaurant.
For a big pot of clam soup, sea urchin, and sashimi we spent 56,000KRW for three people. Definitely not too expensive considering it was fresh seafood prepared on the spot. And an interesting experience.