Gwangjang Market 광장시장

One of my friends visited Korea in a sort of spur of the moment trip. Due to my busy schedule I was only able to meet them for a quick trip to Gwangjang Market which was on their must visit list due to having watched Netflix’s Street Food series. He specifically wanted to go to the Gohyang Kalguksu stall run by Yoonsun Cho. I arrived at Gwangjang Market first and before you go note that you need cash. While a lot of Korea has moved on to cards or even using apps or your transportation card to pay for certain things, any sort of side of the road vendor, street food vendor, small mom and pop shop or traditional market tends to only take cash. There are plenty of ATM’s around the area outside of the market, but just plan ahead.

This market is one of the oldest in Korea, since it opened in 1905. It’s also quite large and it’s easy to get lost. If you’re looking for something specific look for tourist information which will be people wearing red just standing around. Usually they have a little red hat on with an i on it for information. They speak English and can direct you through the market pretty well. When I entered I ended up in the fabrics section which was pretty dead. Nothing had opened yet.

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But I just kept walking and eventually there was more people.

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There are also signs you can follow, I wandered around until I found the grocery and restaurant section which was a bit busier and more open and found a information person in red and got directions to the food. Soon I found what we were looking for, waited for my friends and then waited for a seat to open up at the busy busy kalguksu stall.

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My friends were there for the kalguksu which are a thick wheat noodle and they got all the dumplings.

A metal bowl with thick wheat noodles, cucumber and some soggy looking salty seaweed chips in a milky broth

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I on the other hand got mulnamyeong which is a chilled buckwheat noodle soup because it was hot out and I wanted them to try some. It ended up having some gochujang added but I was able to still eat it, after picking out a lot of the gochujang.

a metal bowl with thin brown noodles, thin sliced cucumber sticks, thin sliced radish, a boiled egg and a lot of seasame seeds in a clear brooth with a little bit of red gochujang peeking through and some brown spicy mustard on the side of the bowl. In the background is a metal bowl of kimchi.

It was quite good and they were very very happy with their food. Essentially around the cooking space are tables with small stools. If there’s no space you pick a side and hover until a spot opens up. A guy brought us a menu and we told him what we wanted and paid.

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It was very busy and crowded but also very good. It’s also not the only food stand in Gwangjang Market that was filmed for Netflix’s Street Food series. As you walk around there are several stands that have signs like the one in the picture below that say Netflix on them. It makes them a bit easier to find. Though many of the stands have plaques from some publication, travel company or show.

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Gwangjang market can get busy, especially in the food section so be sure to be careful while walking around. The pathways can get narrow between stalls. Gwangjang market is also sometimes romanized as Kwang Jang Market on some of the signs. Generally the market is open from 9am until 6pm, but charity stores are open from 10am to 7pm and the food street is open until 11pm. Most of the market, except for the food street is closed on Sundays. The food street is open all year round.

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