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Noryangjin Fish Market is a seafood PARADISE!

I visited the market several years ago and was amazed by the sheer assortment of fresh seafood available in the market. Piles and piles of shellfish, mussels, crabs, octopus, fish, prawns, sea urchin, conches, abalone, etc for sale.

How it works in this market is this: you pick what you like at any stall, pay for the seafood and the stall-owner will bring you to one of the restaurants located in the basement or the second floor of the market where they will cook the food for you, but at an additional price.  I am not sure what kind of arrangement each stall-owner has with the restaurants.

The last time I visited the market, I didn’t eat any seafood because I had already eaten lunch. I made it a point during this trip to go to Noryangjin for a meal. I was so excited at the thought of picking out my own seafood!

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Noryangjin subway station is on the Blue line and the market is easy to get to on foot, just by following the signs from the subway station. I arrived at the second floor of the market where I could hang round and watch the activity in the market below. It was a Tuesday morning and business seemed relatively quiet.

So many stalls.  So many choices.

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Crustacean food porn. 🙂

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I walked around the market drooling at the seafood on sale. Every stall sold fairly similar produce and I couldn’t figure out who I should buy from. It was a case of eeeni-meeni-mani-mo and I picked a stall where the person manning the stall was an ahjumma wearing an eye-catching PINK apron. It was really the colour of the apron that was the deciding factor. 🙂

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This place should be called a ‘seafood market’ and not just a ‘fish market’.

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Mouth-watering right?

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There she is…the stall-owner whom I bought my seafood from.  She was a good sport for allowing me to take a photo of her with the crab.   I was soooo tempted to buy the crab but I had already picked prawns, clams, abalone, sashimi and octopus!  This is the sort of place that one should avoid coming on your own – you need the critical mass to try every type of seafood that is on display.

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That’s my fish.  Straight from the fish tank.  One moment it was swimming merrily in the tank and the next, it is flopping around on the floor, on the way to becoming my sashimi lunch.

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The ahjumma brought me to this restaurant in the basement of the market to have my seafood cooked.  There wasn’t very much cooking needed as I opted to eat my seafood either steamed or sashimi-style.  I was craving for a big pot of spicy seafood stew…but I know I wouldn’t be able to finish all the food.  It took me a lot of self-restraint not to indulge my greedy self.

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My wriggling octopus sashimi, known as sannakji in Korean.  Don’t screw up your face!  It tastes very good!

Ever since I watched the famous Park Chan Wook movie, Old Boy, I have always wanted to eat a live octopus (if you have watched the movie, you’ll know what I mean…:-)).  This time, I didn’t go as far as swallowing a live octopus but ate one that was dead and chopped up.  The tentacles of a dead octopus continue to move when it has been freshly cut because the nerve cells are still active, and not because it is still alive.

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Sannakji sounds and looks gross to many people but it is very delicious.  Sweet, chewy and  flavourful and especially so with the light sesame dressing that they restaurant used to marinate the octopus sashimi.  I had to masticate some parts for a really long time before swallowing because they were so chewy, and I felt that I would choke on the bits if I swallowed them too quickly.  Octopus sashimi is super yummy and I want to eat it again.

The grilled prawn was good too, very fresh and tender.  With its huge head, this prawn looks similar to the Spanish carabiniero.  The steamed clams were juicy and sweet, I should have ordered double of the portion that you see on the plate!

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Raw abalone, straight from the shell.  Unlike the soft, tender ones from the can that I am used to eating, raw abalone is hard and crunchy.  I cannot say that I like it very much.

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The entire meal cost me KRW50,000 for the seafood and an additional KRW11,000 for the restaurant to cook the food.  I thought the price was reasonable.  I didn’t have the linguistic skills to ask the restaurant how they charge to prepare the food, but I am guessing it is by per head, or probably method of cooking, or by type of seafood, or a combination of everything!

This is a place that I should take the husband to, he will loooooove the crabs!  I must go back again to Noryangjin and eat a huge spicy seafood stew!  And the market is really easy to get to.  Take the subway to Noryangjin station on the blue line and follow the signages showing the way to the market.


Seoul: Lunch at Noryangjin Fish Market
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2 thoughts on “Seoul: Lunch at Noryangjin Fish Market

  • Oct 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Thank you very much for the lovely tips and pictures. However, did you mentioned wrongly regarding the price of the seafood and cooking? KRW50, and KRW11? Are you trying to say in “Thousands”?

  • Oct 24, 2013 at 6:59 am

    Hi Jason

    Thanks for pointing out the typo! Originally, I meant to say USD50 and USD11 but typed KRW instead. Have amended it to KRW50,000 and KRW11,000.

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