Mangwon Traditional Market’s Good Eats
Mangwon Market is our local traditional market. It’s nothing fancy like Gwangjang Market downtown with its rows of food stalls, vintage section and Hanbok section but, Mangwon Market has some good eats and it’s within close proximity to Hongdae and the Han River so it’s easy to stop by, grab some food and be on your way.
Though it’s not as memorable as the above mentioned, that hasn’t stopped Korean television crews from stopping by with their famous MCs and idol spokespeople to eat up the grub because there is some delicious grub in this hub.
Take the above pictured handmade kalguksu stall. There is almost always a line, though if you stop by between meal times, you could probably walk right in. If you do happen to be waiting in line, you can watch as they make the kalguksu noodles in the front. Kalguksu is handmade wheat flour noodles in a broth with some vegetables topping it off. The bowls of soup are delicious and not to mention super cheap. One bowl of janchiguksu is only W1,500, their handmade sujaebi is W3,000 for a bowl and the most popular dish the handmade kalguksu is W2,500. All of the soups mentioned are different noodle soups. Try one or try them all and see which one is your favorite. At this stall, they’re all worth the bite. My husband and I have been known to stop by the market and get some jokbal, or pigs feet, to go. You can easily grab some food and then head out to the scenic Han River for a little picnic.
Most locals in the area head to the market to get their groceries. The local market is by far the place to shop to get your food at bottom dollar. Check out those strawberries above! You can get that whole bowl-full for just W7,000 right now. Next time you’re in Homeplus, just try and get that many for W7,000. It’s impossible. This stuff is direct from farmer to vendor to mouth. Some of the vendors are the farmers, or farmer’s wives so you’re sure to be getting some good locally grown crops. One of my favorite things to do is to talk to them and ask them how to make stuff. As they are the local farmer, they want you to buy their food and they want you to come back. The old women know what is good for what when. I know when it’s time to make our garlic side dish because these ladies tell me. Tons of cucumbers for low low prices? Must be time to make the cucumber side dishes. If you’re not sure about making your own side dishes, well there’s even a vendor for that too. They’ve got it all done and whipped up. All you have to do is tell them how much you want and you’ll be on your way with a bagful of Korean side dish goodness. One of my favorite vendors is the guy that makes his own tofu. It’s the best in town and much better than that prepackaged stuff at the store. The guy has a big block of tofu and when you rock up, he slices off a hunk just for you. He even has some to taste on the front of the table too, if you want to make sure he’s got the good stuff.
Something else that is cool in our market is that it was one of six markets in the city chosen to start allowing customers to use their T-money cards to pay. You can’t use the T-money card to pay at every stall, but you can use it to pay at stalls that you would get food to eat right then and there. You can use your T-money card to pay for the croquettes pictured as well as the fried vegetables and shrimp and other goods. Just look for the little doodad pictured above in front of the the stall and it’s as easy as ordering and swiping. No cash on hand necessary. The Seoul Metropolitan Government started this system in six markets across the city including our Mangwon Market in Mapo-gu, Gildong Market in Gangdong-gu, Shinwon Market in Gwanak-gu, Shinchang Market in Dobong-gu, Youngcheon Market in Seodaemun-gu and Jeongneung Market in Seongbuk-gu. The city plans on extending the service to 330 other traditional farmer’s markets across the city by 2018. This cool idea is taken even further with the announcement that if the T-money card is used in a market within an hour of leaving a subway or bus to make a purchase of W10,000 or more , customers will get a W1,000 discount automatically. The city hopes to promote not only the use of public transportation, but also the use of the traditional markets.
Mangwon Market (망원 시장)
411 Mangwon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 마포구 망원동 411
Subway: Mangwon Station, exit 2. Coming out of the station make a u-turn to the right and walk into the neighborhood about 5 minutes or so and the entrance to the market will come up on your right.