A trip to Seoul, Korea is never complete without visiting THE place for seafood, Noryangjin Fish Market. Akin to Disneyland for seafood lovers, even if you don’t really like seafood, Noryangjin is a great sensual experience to visit.
Swimming fishes, gigantic live crabs, octopus and all things swimming in the sea, other interesting sights include humongous clams, Monggae / Sea Squirt (such a cute name that Kayos fell trap into eating it as her first raw seafood ever) and blind , wringgling sea worms (eww.)
We were there for the King Crab (OH MAMMA). Not the skinny snow crab counterpart but the ginormous monstrosity, the. King. Crab. K.i.N.G. (ok I know you got it)
We read somewhere that the source of these are from Russia and Korea. Not too sure cos we couldn't tell the difference. But if indeed there are two sources chances are the Korean counterpart might be more affordable? Not sure.
During our honeymoon in 2012, we were super fortunate to bump into Zarina Jani, a blogger from Malaysia (we’re fans of her blog on food and fun in Korea), whilst she was tour guiding a couple from Malaysia as well (the lady didnt look too happy that we were having a short convo). We bumped into her again at one of the market stalls and she graciously helped us bargain for a king crab at only 27,000 Won, a huge steal back then.
When we returned again in Feb 2014, seafood prices rose and after a tough time haggling, could only settle with 50,000ish Won. Nonetheless, seafood here at Noryangjin is still cheaper than in Busan. As a comparison, king crabs there were going at a starting price of 80,000 Won and hwei (Korean sashimi) were in small helpings.
How the place works:
Window shop for seafood, stop at a stall where you’d like, haggle like crazy and ask for service of a few oysters/abalones thrown in (it always helps to be nice and sweet, so smile wide -> :D ).
Once done, they will take your seafood up to the 2nd floor where rows of seafood restaurants will cook it for you at a service charge of approximately 10,000 won per person. This includes (usually) free flow hot steamy rice, kimchi and iced water.
The ladies in the restaurant can converse in Mandarin too, so if you're conversant do go ahead in Korean or Mandarin. If all else fails, simple words like steam, grill, soup are okay but do note that the ladies may counter-recommend especially for certain types of fish.
During our visits we’ve had our King Crab steamed, Abalones grilled, Octopus chopped up and wriggling as Sannakji (a Must try for the adventurous- please chew thoroughly) and our fishes grilled and also stewed with lots of greens (Maeuntang).
As you're likely to gorge yourself silly (we did and we're not embarrassed! :D ), its good to go there in the morning as a start of your day before travelling elsewhere. Do have your Wons handy as chances are it'll be your one splurge meal during your trip!
Status: Muslim friendly (Seafood only). Alcohol is served.
Location: From Noryangjin Station (Exit 1) walk across the overhead bridge to the market.
Note: Noryangjin Fish Market opens 24/7
Price: Varies. Haggle in Korean if you’re able to, it helps loads. Exploit your good looks (big eyes, clean skin yada yada) and be Aegyu at all costs. ;)
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