All good things must come to an end, and the last market on our Korean traditional food tour was the Tongin Market located in the same neighborhood as Seoul’s Gyeongbokgung Palace. Welcome to week 299 (10/27/2016) of Travel Photo Thursday. If you missed the first two markets visits and the delicious food you can find them here and here. Apologies that I’ve not been around much the past two weeks. It’s midterm time, and that makes for some long days.
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Tongin Market opened in 1941 during the Japanese occupation and catered to Japanese residents in the area. Once the war ended and the Japanese were expelled Korean storekeepers moved into Tongin Market and set up shops selling local products, and restaurants selling Korean traditional food. Nowadays, the market is frequented by both locals and tourists. The most popular food in the market and the reason for our visit is the gireum tteokbokki. Tteokbokki, made from soft rice cake, is stir-fried in oil with either soy sauce or red chili sauce. Our tour guide told us that this was the best tteokbokki vendor in the market and all of his other recommendations had been spot-on, so who were we to argue.
We ordered a small plate with the red chili sauce. Regular readers of the blog know that I never turn down spicy, and these were hot! My taste buds were on fire, and it was love at first bite.
(Once again I was at the mercy of harsh lighting. I need to learn how to shoot in this light. That will be my winter project! :))
I took this photo just after we finished eating. When we sat down, there was nobody close to the stand, and within 60 seconds all of these people were milling around waiting to order. Maybe we attracted all the customers! Notice all of the photos on the back wall. These are pictures of all the famous people who have eaten here over the years.
This photo gives you an idea of what Tongin Market looks like. Today, it’s home to about 75 shops and restaurants.
There’s a huge variety of Korean traditional food available. If you arrive between 11 am and 4 pm, pay 5000Won (receive some tokens), and you’ll receive an empty lunch tray. You walk through the market and choose whatever food you want to sample from the various food stalls. We arrived just as the lunch service was ending, so I’ll be going back another day for lunch. It’s best to stroll past all the vendors before deciding which items will make it onto your tray. Once you’ve made your choices, you can go to the cafe upstairs to enjoy your lunch, and purchase a beverage. This is a fantastic opportunity to sample a variety of Korean traditional food at a reasonable price.
How to get to TONGIN MARKET
Take Subway Line 3 to Gyeongbokgung Station (Exit 5).
After exiting, continue for 500 meters and the market is on your left.
Hours vary by store. Stores are usually open 9:00-18:00, but open as early as 7:00 am and close as late as 19:00 pm.
Food vendors and clothing shops are open on Sunday. Other shops are closed.
Have you ever tried gireum tteokbokki, or visited the Tongin Market? Let us know in the comments.
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