There are hundreds of markets to be found across the whole country of South Korea. Perhaps most often you might see large food markets, home to an array of fresh produce, delicious delicacies for sale and even traditional and herbal medicines. However, even within predominantly food-based markets, you can often find goods such as fabrics, household items and traditional clothing. How on earth can we navigate these markets?!
The Korean word for ‘market’ is 시장 (shi-jang). Famous markets within Seoul are Namdaemun, Gwangjang and Noryangjin markets. Namdaemun is mainly home to clothing and home retailers but also has its own food district and sells popular Korean meals, all made fresh on site! While Gwangjang does sell many household products and fabrics such as silk, it is renowned for its massive selection of fresh food and food items, with food vendors lined up back to back. Noryangjin is a wholesale fish market open 24 hours a day! Not only are fish auctions held daily at dawn, there are many restaurants that will grill your fish for you at very reasonable prices.
Here is some vocabulary that you might need during your visit to the market!
…주세요 (ju-se-yo) // Please give me… – It is likely that many people already know this. For those of you who might be unsure, there is no casual way to say ‘please’ in Korean without sounding like you are begging and this is simply the most polite and accepted way to ask for something.
얼마예요? (eol-ma-ye-yo) // How much is it?
이게 뭐예요? (i-ge mwo-ye-yo) // What is this?
그거 속에 들어있는게 뭐예요? (geu-geo sog-e deu-reo-it-neun-ge mwo-ye-yo) // What is inside that? What is the filling inside?
너무 비싸요 (neo-mu bi-ssa-yo) // It is too expensive.