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Gwangjang Market and Netflix

Finding Seoul Restaurants Ep.6 Gwangjang Market and Netflix


Hello. In the last post, we learned how not to get lost in Jongno. It can be important information not only in Jongno, but also anywhere in Seoul.

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If you are not sure of the way to your destination, first look for it on a map or smartphone.

If you are still unsure, ask people around you to guide you. When you ask most Koreans for directions, they kindly answer them.

Although the distance from Cheonggye Plaza to Gwangjang Market was quite long, I remember walking without even knowing it was difficult because it was so strange that water was flowing in the middle of the city where there are many buildings.

Not only the water was flowing, but various wild animals were also seen. It seems to have a somewhat natural appearance.


1. A Brief History of Seoul Mayor

(1) Seoul's three largest markets

There are many markets in Korea that still maintain the appearance of traditional markets. There are many such markets in Seoul, the capital of Korea.

The 3 largest markets in Seoul Namdaemun Market, Dongdaemun Market, Seongdong Marketsays Seongdong Market is now called Seoul Central Market and is located near Sindang station.

Namdaemun Market is well known as the oldest traditional market, and it is also the largest as a traditional market. In addition, the number of visitors can be said to be as large as 40 a day, including foreign tourists.

Namdaemun Market sells everything necessary for daily life, such as children's clothes, alcoholic beverages, dried fish, and military uniforms.

Seoul Jungang Market is famous as a market where grains are traded. In 1953, after the Korean War, 70% of the grains consumed by Seoul citizens were traded in the central market.

If you come to the Dongdaemun area, you can see traditional markets and general stores lined up without borders. Because there are actually many markets around Dongdaemun. I found out that it has a different atmosphere from Namdaemun Market.

The markets in the Dongdaemun area include Bangsan Market, Gwangjang Market, Dongdaemun Market, Dongdaemun General Market, Dongmyo Market, and Seoul Central Market across the Cheonggyecheon Stream.

(2) History of Gwangjang Market

Before Gwangjang Market became what it is today, Gwangjang Market was originally called Baeogae Market. Baeogae Market was one of the three major markets in the capital city during the Joseon Dynasty, and its size was much smaller than it is today. Operating hours were all about 3 to 3 hours before and after sunrise.

There are several speculations on the etymology of the bae-o-gae market. One of them is a myth that changed from 'baekgogae' to 'baeohgae'. This saying comes from the saying that tigers often appear, so it takes 100 people to get over it.

At the end of the Joseon Dynasty, foreigners were prevented from living in Hanyang due to Heungseon Daewongun's refusal to establish trade relations, but the influx of foreigners gradually increased after the port opened. From this time on, merchants in Joseon began to be a little nervous.

In the early 1900s, two powers appeared together in Korea's commercial sphere: the Qing Dynasty and Japan. After winning the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War, Japan continued to try to take over the commercial area in the center of Seoul, and Koreans established Kwangjang Co., Ltd. to protect their commercial area.

Originally, Gwangjang Market and Dongdaemun Market were integrated and operated, but after the Korean War, refugees came to South Korea and the market gradually grew in size and separated. So, the market operated by Gwangjang Co., Ltd. became Gwangjang Market.

Also, the word 'plaza' does not mean 'square' where a lot of people gather.

The location of the company was between 'Gwanggyo' and 'Janggyo' of Cheonggyecheon, hence the name 'Gwangjang' Co., Ltd.

The photo above is of the Cheonggyecheon area, and Gwanggyo is on the upper left. And the blue marked on the map is the location of the 'Officer Building'. There are several bridges over Cheonggyecheon, but no officers are currently visible. So you can guess the officer's location by estimating the location of the officer's building. You can also naturally grasp the location of the former Gwangjang Co., Ltd.

2. How to get to Gwangjang Market

(1) When using the subway

Gwangjang Market is the closest to Jongno 5-ga Station (Line 1). You can get to Gwangjang Market more quickly by going out of exits 8 and 7. If you want to see Cheonggyecheon, you can also get out at Euljiro 4-ga Station (Line 5).

When you come out of Exit 4 of Euljiro 4-ga Station, you will see CU convenience store as soon as you exit. If you walk for about 5 minutes from there, you will come to Cheonggyecheon, and if you walk for another 5 minutes, you can see the entrance to the old-fashioned old-fashioned shopping mall.

(2) When using the bus

There are so many buses running around Gwangjang Market that it can be called a transportation hub. In a previous post, we learned about the 'Jong-ro' road, and in the map above, Line 1 is 'Jong-ro'.  Let's find out the meaning of 'Bell Road' in Jongno

For those of you who find it difficult to ride the bus in Korea, I would like to share with you a method. There is an application called 'Kakao Map' in Korea. With this app, you can quickly find the place you want.

The following are three advantages of Kakao Map.

- Set the starting point and destination and it will tell you how to get there.

-Notifies you of all types of buses passing through your destination.
- You can check the events around you from the center of your location.

(3) When using a car

You might even be able to visit the market by car, just in case you buy a lot of stuff from the market.

but on the marketIt is not easy to find a parking lot. If you are visiting by car, it is convenient to use the Jongmyo public parking lot. After entering the Jongmyo public parking lot in the navigation from the beginning, park your car and go to Gwangjang Market. It takes about 7 minutes from the parking lot to Gwangjang Market. As with parking in other markets, one hour of parking is free with receipt of purchases at the market. 

There are other public parking lots besides the Jongmyo public parking lot mentioned above, but I thought that the facility here was the best, so I introduced it.

3. Explore every corner of Gwangjang Market

(1) Business hours

Gwangjang Market is a market that has everything you need for clothes, food and the state. As Food Alley recently appeared on TV, you might think that it is only famous for its food, but in fact, Gwangjang Market is also the most famous place for clothes. In particular, it is the place with the highest trading volume of hanbok.

When I first entered Gwangjang Market, the feeling of a traditional market and the feeling of a modern market were mixed together. In the past, when it rains or snows, you had to rely on a tent, but if you go to a traditional market recently, you can see that a dome-type structure is installed above it. It is said that the construction of the modernization began about 10 years ago. Now you don't have to rearrange your awning because it's raining.

Gwangjang Market can be divided into three main categories. The first is a traditional market that sells food ingredients found in general traditional markets. The second is an imported relief shopping mall, and the last is a food alley. Unusually, each business hour is different, so we hope that there will be no misunderstandings when visiting.

The general market is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Sundays. The import relief shopping mall is open from 10 am to 7 pm, and the food alley is open relatively late, from 9 am to 11 pm. In addition, the food alley is open 365 days a year, so you can visit it anytime.

The reason we visited was to try traditional Korean food first. So I headed straight to the food alley.


(2) Take a look at major locations at a glance

(Source: Seoul Tourist Information Center)

The blue circle is where clothes and clothing are sold at Gwangjang Market. An imported thrift store is located at the west gate, and a place where you can buy bedding and hanbok is located in the heart of the market. It is said that 20 years ago, there were as many as 300 Hanbok houses in Gwangjang Market. Now there are only 60 left, less than half of that. Nevertheless, those who are preparing for marriage visit Gwangjang Market to prepare for a coma. Please note that we also sell hanbok for children.

(3) Food alley

The fastest way to go to the food alley is from Jongno 5-ga Station. The long alley from the north gate to the south gate of Gwangjang Market was full of people. If you look at the map, the part marked B is the busiest place in Gwangjang Market. From the north gate to point B, there are many shops selling Bindae-tteok.

The rest of the stores sell foods commonly found in Korean society, such as pork feet, gimbap, tteokbokki, and chicken feet. There are many foreign tourists as well as Koreans.

If I had to pick one of the most famous foods in Gwangjang Market, it would be beef sashimi and octopus. To eat sashimi and octopus, you have to go inside the shop between the alleys. The price is around $40. Just as there is Bindaetteok Alley, there is Yukhoe Alley in a small alley next to the North Gate.

(4) 3 Gwangjang Markets introduced on TV

The photo above was taken in the middle of the food alley. Evening hours are full of people whether on weekends or weekdays. Gwangjang Market has become the second permanent market in Seoul after Namdaemun, and in proportion to its long history, the number of dishes and visitors is very high. In addition to this, it is gaining more popularity as it has recently appeared on TV.

1) Import Relief Shopping Mall

In the TV program 'I Live Alone' on MBC, broadcaster Na-rae Park went to an old-fashioned old-fashioned shopping mall in Gwangjang Market.

The exact location of the old-fashioned shopping mall is located on the left side of the map shown above. The second-hand shopping mall is located on the second and third floors of a large building and is a popular space for people who come to buy second-hand goods because of its size. The restrooms of the old-fashioned shopping mall are on the 2nd floor. If you ask the staff, they will kindly tell you.

(Source: MBC I Live Alone)

2) Original Nude Gimbap

It seems that the original nude gimbap introduced in one of the TV programs, Baek Jong-won's 3rd Emperor, cannot be excluded. All gimbap is made and sold in a different way from the existing gimbap, so it is famous for its unique form of gimbap.

People line up every time I go because of the taste and the price.

The exact location marked with 'A' on the left on the map shown above.

Gwangjang Market itself is wide and there are countless alleys in between, so it is not easy for first-time visitors to find it.

The business name is 'Mosa No. 41' or 'Original Nude Cheese Gimbap', but it may take all day to find it if you only know this name.

From now on, we will show you an easy way to get there.

Gwangjang Market has four large entrances: east, west, south and north. First, you need to go through the west door.

If you go to 'West gate 2' among several gates on the west side, you can easily find 'Hanyoung Tailor Shop'. There is an entrance to the clothing wholesale market as shown in the picture right next to the Hanyeong Tailor Shop, and you can easily find it if you enter there. The first time we went looking for it, I remember we were lost.

Despite the price increase, they were still selling at a low price. There were a lot of other customers, so we had to wait in line for about 20 minutes before we could eat. The most famous menu items are Japchae Rice and Tuna Kimbap.

(Source: SBS Baek Jong-won's 3rd Heavenly King)


3) Hometown Son Kalguksu

A series called 'Chefs on the Road' was aired on Netflix, the world's largest online streaming service. In this series, 'Hometown Hand Kalguksu' from Gwangjang Market was introduced in the Asian section while introducing street food from various countries. Of course, there were many foreigners when we visited, but there were not many Koreans, especially in my hometown Kalguksu, and it was full of foreign customers.

(Source: Netflix )

I have been making kalguksu for quite some time at Gwangjang Market.Chef Jo Yoon-sun, who came in, was skillfully serving customers. 

The name of this place is <East A70 Hometown Kalguksu>.  It is located in the alley from the north gate to the south gate of Gwangjang Market, but it will take a long time to find it by understanding the name.All.  A quick way to find it is to go down from the top and it is located opposite the pink signboard called 'Museumsa'.


4. Concluding

It would have taken a long time to look around the whole market, but there was no shortage of time as I only visited the food alleys and places introduced on TV. In Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam or Taiwan, the culture of eating street food is well established. They also travel to the country to experience street food.

It is not easy to experience street food as the purpose of tourism. However, recently people are using their own platforms such as YouTube and Instagram to share their experiences with others.

As I just said, the desire to try food on your own is difficult to become the purpose of tourism, but the desire to share special food and experience culture can be a sufficient purpose of tourism.

In that regard, I think that the influx of foreign tourists played a big role in what was introduced on a platform called 'Netflix'.