As many readers would know, Ms. Buddha and I love food! And one thing we love more than enjoying the upper end restaurants is to roam around markets and just eat what we feel like. One great spot to try this in Seoul is the Gwangjang Market – which has its history dated back from early 1900s.
The market literally sells all sorts of stuff – from cloths, clothes and souvenirs to lots and lots of food that is more closely aligned to what Ms. Buddha and I love!
There are a lot of stalls in the area – and given that the owners are so used to tourists, even though they don’t speak much English (or Cantonese or Mandarin) – they’ll be able to direct you through gestures and generally they are friendly.
After roaming for a little while, and being a fan of blood sausage, we sat down at one of the stalls and ordered through the process of just pointing. The blood sausage in Korea (called Sundae – not the ice-cream) is different from blood sausages in say the UK in that they mix it with cellophane noodles because it was supposed to provide a more filling meal during the poorer years. The taste itself is actually quite mild and you generally need to add a good dose of salt or chilli sauce to add a bit of flavour (once again – born of poverty) – that said – I love these kind of dishes – and I think it’s really a representation of not wasting anything.
The next stall we tried was a dumplings place (because Korean dumplings are just excellent!) The dumplings themselves were excellent (in particular the dough) but I’m not a great fan of the soup.
The final one we tried was actually a restaurant within the market – here’s the shop front.
The place seems to be very popular for their beef tartare (called Yukhoe), which Ms. Buddha and I just pointed at one of the photos – it turns out that almost everyone had the same dish. The beef tartare comes with a soup, chilli, garlic and Korean miso. My recommendation is that you mix the egg well and then have it with either a bite of chilli then tartare or a garlic with tartare – the tartare has an excellent mix of sesame oil with the freshness of the egg and it turned out to be one of the better beef tartare I’ve had in a long time! (You can also be pretty certain it’s fresh given the turnover) – for those that are worried, because we’re dealing with raw meat here, Korea runs a pretty tight standard with regards to meat – so it’s pretty much one of the safer places to have raw beef.