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[Eye Plus] Savor taste of Gwangjang market

With more than a century of history, Gwangjang traditional market is still bustling with shoppers and visitors. 

Although it sells all sorts of goods from clothes to fresh meat and vegetables, the biggest reason that people flock here is food. 

Long lines of stalls offer visitors a wide variety of food available at cheap prices, starting right from South Koreans’ all-time favorite delicacies – tteokbokki (spicy rice cake) and sundae (pig intestines filled with glass noodles) -- to sushi and beef sashimi. 

But Gwangjang is best known for “mayak gimbap,” the seaweed-rolled rice with spicy sauce, so tasty that it is “addictive like drugs.” (Mayak is the Korean word for narcotics.) 

Located at the heart of Seoul, in Jongno, Gwangjang is South Korea’s largest traditional marketplace. It is among the 100 must-visit places chosen by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism this year. 

The market draws both shoppers and travelers, particularly travelers looking to see a different side of the city.

While stores selling other merchandize are closed on Sundays, the food alleys and vintage clothing shops are open every day. The market opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m.

Photo by Park Hyun-koo (
Writing by Jo He-rim (