Mia SamGori and Namdaemun markets, Korea - 54

Namdaemun market

You can almost taste and feel the soul of Seoul, when you amble around the colourful markets, which can be found throughout Korea. In Namdaemun market foodSeoul there are large markets such as Namdaemun market, as well as smaller street markets and stalls in every corner of the city. If you are brave enough to try out your Korean, haggling for a good price can be almost as fun and rewarding as the food itself.

There are huge heaps of garlic, red chilly pepper, various kinds of meat, dozens of different type of beans, a variety of fruit, vegetables and many other things I cannot name and do not think I have tasted before.

You can buy ginger roots, boiled pigs heads and you can find dry fish, which is said to be very healthy and cholesterol free. As you walk around the markets, you are likely to find the ajummas (old ladies), who often sit squatting on the floor as they clean vegetables. The elderly Korean women are probably more flexible than a lot of Western children.

Mia SamGori Market - Mandu, Ttok Poki and Kim Pap

Markets are also rich of ready to eat food stalls selling a colourful variety of items including: steamed, grilled or fried Mandu (dumplings); chicken on a stick (our favourite one was from a food stall in an area called ‘Mia SamGori’); Ttok Poki (rice cakes in spicy sauce); Kim Pap (rolls of seaweed, rice and vegetables, tuna or ham). A great experience is the big fish market, in ‘Noryangjin’, Seoul, where the fish are as fresh as fresh can be.

So fresh in fact, that they are pulled alive from a fish tank and the fish monger/cook cleans the fish for you and cooks it while you wait at a table in the attached restaurant/food section. A sample of the food they can prepare - sashimi (slices of raw fish) with the flesh of the fish and a soup with its head. You can eat this with rice and, of course, Kimchi as a side dish. You can also find dead fish and dried fish.

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