Gwangjang market

The Gwangjang or Gwangjang market, located in the heart of Seoul, is more than just a market; it's a veritable institution in the South Korean capital. Renowned for its colorful stalls and abundance of traditional Korean foods, this market is a must for anyone wishing to immerse themselves in the culinary and cultural authenticity of South Korea. This article takes you on a journey through the history of Gwangjang market, before revealing the best dishes to enjoy there.

The History of Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market is the oldest covered market in South Korea, having opened in 1905. Originally known as Dongdaemun Market, it was renamed in 1960. The market played a crucial role in Seoul's economic development and served as a gathering place for citizens during periods of change and modernization.

Over the decades, Gwangjang Market has evolved to become not only a shopping center, but also a place for preserving traditional Korean culture and gastronomy. Today, it attracts local and international visitors by the thousands, all eager to discover its unique flavors and vibrant atmosphere.

But what to eat at Gwangjang market?

If you're here it's probably to find out but what to eat in this Seoul market? I'm going to give you my top 5 favorite dishes!

Bindae-tteok: The Korean Mung Pancake

Bindae-tteok, a kind of thick pancake made from ground mung beans, is one of Gwangjang market's signature dishes. Served hot and crispy, this dish is often accompanied by various small garnishes such as green onions and kimchi. Both simple and tasty, this dish is a perfect representation of Korean street food.

Kimbap: Korean sushi not to be missed

Unlike Japanese sushi, Korean kimbap is generally larger and contains no raw fish. At Gwangjang market, you'll find versions generously topped with ingredients like marinated beef, stir-fried vegetables and eggs. Each roll is an explosion of flavor, yet easy to eat on the go.

Tteokbokki: An Explosion of Flavors

Tteokbokki, made with fluffy rice cakes bathed in a spicy-sweet sauce, is another must-try at Gwangjang market. This dish, popular with young Koreans, is perfect for those looking to experience the authentic taste of Korean street food.

Yukhoe: Korean Tartar

For meat lovers, yukhoe is a must at Gwangjang market. This Korean version of tartare is usually prepared with thinly sliced raw beef, seasoned with various sauces and spices, and often accompanied by Korean pears for a sweet contrast. It's a unique culinary experience that showcases the finesse of Korean cuisine.

Sundae: Korean pudding

Sundae, or Korean blood pudding, may surprise with its ingredients, but it's incredibly popular in Korea. Prepared with glass noodles and pork blood, and often served with offal, this dish is rich in taste and texture. It is frequently eaten with salt and pepper, which enhances its flavor.

A visit to Gwangjang Market is a journey into the culinary heart of Seoul. Whether you're looking for traditional dishes or eager to test your gastronomic limits, this market offers a variety of choices to satisfy every palate. Don't miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in this cultural and culinary experience on your next trip to South Korea.

Various activities at Gwangjang Market

The Gwangjang market offers much more than its famous culinary specialties. Beyond the gastronomic exploration, visitors can indulge in a variety of other activities that enrich the experience:

  1. Textile shopping The market is renowned for its textiles, offering everything from traditional fabrics to colorful hanboks. These can be bought or rented, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Korean culture in an interactive way.

  2. Hunting for unique items For those in search of treasures, Gwangjang is a veritable hunting ground. You'll find antiques, handcrafted jewelry and vintage items that each tell a story.

  3. Attend artistic performances The market vibrates to the sound of performances by street musicians and artists, creating a dynamic atmosphere that enlivens the aisles.

  4. Take part in guided tours For those who wish to learn more, guided tours are available to explore the market's history and traditions.

These activities make the Gwangjang market a place of discovery and enjoyment for all, offering a range of experiences that go far beyond simple food tasting.

Gwangjang market is generally open daily from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. However, opening hours may vary for some stalls, especially those selling non-food items, which may close earlier.


Although the market is famous for its meat dishes, it also offers several vegetarian options, including tofu dishes, vegetable pancakes and various types of meatless kimbap.



Yes, in addition to its famous culinary offerings, Gwangjang market also features a variety of stalls selling textiles, including hanboks (traditional Korean dress), fabrics and other handicrafts that can make perfect souvenirs.



Although some vendors accept credit cards, many food stalls and small traders prefer payment in cash. It is advisable to carry some cash to facilitate transactions.


Gwangjang market is usually open on public holidays, but it's always best to check in advance as some vendors may choose to close during major festivals.


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Where is Gwangjang market located?

Gwangjang Market is located in the heart of Seoul, South Korea. More precisely, it lies in the Jongno-gu district, easily accessible via the Jongno 5-ga or Euljiro 4-ga subway stations. This iconic market is nestled in the center of a busy area of the city, making it a convenient visit for tourists and local residents alike.

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