Indulge in Fresh Sashimi & Seafood at Noryangjin Fish Market
March 08, 2017
Established in downtown Seoul in 1927, this market is officially known as Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market. In 1971, it was relocated to its current location on the banks of the Han River on the outskirts of Yeouido. Today, this is the largest and most popular seafood market in Korea.
Open 24 hours daily, there is a mix of wholesalers and retailers. The early birds (as early as 3am in the mornings) will be able to experience the rowdy and lively atmosphere during fish auctions. This is when the market comes alive! Not an early riser? Don’t worry, as you’ll still be able to see a display of large varieties of marine creatures in the stalls throughout the day. Everything you see are edible – be prepared to get grossed out by slimy creatures! The market is also bustling in the evenings when the dinner crowd heads down for seafood and drinks.
There are two areas at Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market – the old area and the new area. Both areas house many stalls, and almost every vendor will try to sell you their freshest catch of the day. Take your time to wander around the stalls, discovering all sorts of marine creatures ranging from commonly seen ones such as lobsters, octopus, salmon, tuna, prawns, mussels, stingrays, halibut, crabs, to rare ones like sea snails, spoon worms and many more. Remember to survey the prices before approaching the vendor you’re comfortable dealing with to start bargaining and making your purchases.
The old market might be less costly than the new market, but you’ll be dining in colourful tents instead of a proper restaurant. You first select and buy your desired seafood with a vendor and a runner from the tent will bring your purchases and guide you to your table. That’s when you pay the cooks stationed at the tents to prepare your purchases in whatever way you prefer (steamed, fried etc.)
The new market, on the other hand, looks more welcoming due to its brightly-lit interiors. The first floor is where you buy your seafood, while the second floor is lined with rows of restaurants where you can dine at after making your purchases. The runner of the restaurant will guide you to the restaurant where you pay to have your seafood cooked the way you like. Works the same way as the old market, but prices might differ quite drastically.
Cooking of each seafood dish is chargeable, but there will be no charges for sashimi and other seafood served raw. In short, just remember that you’ll have to pay for the seafood twice – first for the products, and second directly to the restaurant for preparation.
For the adventurous, try sannakji – live baby octopus chopped up and still squirming. We chickened out but noticed the table beside us happily dipping this delicacy in hot sauce. Please chew it carefully and thoroughly before swallowing as there are cases where the octopus gets stuck in one’s throat, resulting in suffocation.
As Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market is connected to the subway station, you can easily reach the fish market within the city of Seoul. Alight at Noryangjin Station (Exit 1) and walk across the overhead bridge to the fish market. Upon crossing the overhead bridge, you’ll have to walk across a carpark, which is the top deck of the building that houses the fish market. Take the steps down a floor or two, and you’ll start noticing rows of vendors. Besides, once you get a whiff of fishy smell in the air, you’ll know you’ve arrived at the right place!
If you’re planning to visit other attractions after spending time at Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market, do bring along a change of clothes as a fishy smell will linger in your clothes. Furthermore, wear shoes that are not too slippery or too thin such that water will soak through it as the floor of the fish market is wet and dirty. This is an important point to note, especially in winter season, or your feet will be getting frost bites.
Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market Details
Address: 674 Nodeul-ro, Noryangjin 1(il)-dong, Dongjak-gu, 서울특별시 South Korea
Nearest Train Station: Noryangjin Station (Line 1) Exit 1
Opening Hours: 24 hours daily