Overview of Noryangjin Market (노량진 수산시장)
Tokyo, Japan has Tsukiji Fish Market which is a worldwide destination and Seoul, Korea has its own globally renowned Noryangjin Fish Market. Opening way back in 1927, it has been the largest wholesale market for fish and other seafood for the Korean Peninsula and beyond. Now, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations for visitors who want a taste of the freshest South Korea has to offer before the catch heads to restaurants all over the country and world.
The market opens at 1 a.m. and live auctions occur around 3 a.m. in the early morning hours everyday. There are two stories of vendors and plenty of variety of seafood to see!
Since Noryangjin is a place of business to business activity, do not expect it to look like a typical grocery store or supermarket. Wear close-toed shoes and clothes you wouldn’t mind dirtying a little. There will be water on the ground that was used for washing cutting boards or live seafood and you may step into some puddles or get splashed on accidentally.
What to Buy at Noryangjin
Koreans typically visit the market for fresh seafood at a lower price since these markets are closer if not closest to the source. Bargaining is generally accepted in these types of open markets but keep an eye out for signs that may price certain rarer items at a market price of the day.
Retail prices are around 10-20% higher than wholesale and you can find items such as sea cucumbers, varying types of clams, octopus, prawns, and of course, fish. Some vendors have seating areas behind their storefront where shop owners can serve up freshly sliced fish and other items for a small fee. The setting is typically somewhat humble but this is probably as close to the source as you can get! Koreans eat raw seafood with a mixed spicy sauce made with a base of gochujang. Other dishes vendors serve are seafood stews and soups.
A well-known Korean seafood dish is San-Nakji which means live octopus. The type of octopus used for this dish is usually smaller in size, chopped, and served with sesame oil and sesame seeds. Some people eat it just with the sesame seed flavor but others prefer a kick with the gochujang sauce. The legs of the octopus should still be wiggling when served to show the freshness of the product. The suction cups can cling onto your mouth when eaten and it is a unique experience many foreigners may be too queasy to try. Another way San-Nakji is eaten is by consuming the octopus whole. This is a less popular way of eating the octopus and it has been known to cause choking deaths when people could not swallow due to the strong suction of the tentacles.
Visit Noryangjin and check out San-Nakji and much more!
674, Nodeul-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 동작구 노들로 674 (노량진동)
Nearest Subway Stop:
Noryangjin Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 1.
Walk about 100m over the bridge before arriving at destination.
High Class Fish Market: 24 Hours
General Fish Market: 01:30 – 22:00
Frozen Fish Market: 03:30 – 22:00
Shellfish Market: 01:00 – 22:00