Noryangjin Is NOT The Only Fish Market In Seoul

Again and again, I’m asked for information on the Noryangjin Fish Market. How to get there, what to order and how to make the most of a trip there. I’ll be honest, I’ve been there a handful of times and and it’s no more to write home about than any other fish markets in the city.

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Seoul, Korea: Noryangjin Fish Market

There’s not much around the Noryangin Market to see and while the fish is fresh, it isn’t any fresher than fish in other parts of Seoul. Straight up, my favorite fish market in Korea is Jagalichi Market in Busan hands down, but I live in Seoul, so I’ve gotta take what I can get. I think a couple other fish markets in Seoul deserve a shout out, so here is a round up of three, Noryangjin in the center, Mapo Market on the west side and Garak Market in the east side. Almost all of the traditional markets I’ve been to in Seoul and elsewhere in Korea have fish vendors, but these three have substantial fish and seafood sections and have restaurants within that will whip the fish into delightful culinary shape for you.

Decide which one is closest to what you want to see or where you’re living. Which one will be easiest to get to and head there for basically the same experience.

Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market

Seoul, Korea: Noryangjin Fish Market

Noryangjin Market is the largest marine products market in Seoul and is also the most popular with tourists due to that reason. It’s centrally located just south of Yeouido Island as well. In the past few years it’s seen a pretty dramatic makeover from the older traditional Korean style of a market into a new shiny bright white walled store. Now the older lived in market that is a bit dingy but homey sits beside the newer market so both can be visited in one go. If I hadn’t lived in Korea for a decade, I’d probably look askew at the fish on the styrofoam with wet down aisles that have fishy guts in the older market, so I get it if you don’t want to go there and wine and dine… er soju and dine as Koreans do.

What I would suggest on a visit to the market would be to check out the older lived in market and walk the aisles getting a good look at the interesting fish you could eat and then head into the newer building to actually buy and eat. The newer market has restaurants upstairs that are comfortable and can seat couples and groups. They’re also fairly used to foreigners coming in for an adventurous meal. While they’re used to foreigners, that doesn’t mean people are piping up with English everywhere. They’re not. Ideally, you’ll want a local with you or someone that can speak a modicum of Korean pertaining to fish so as to know what you’re getting and to know you’re getting the good stuff. I would recommend this if you plan to head to ANY of these fish markets. We’ve never gotten bad fish here or been taken for a ride, but I speak enough Korean to establish myself as a local foreigner and my husband is from Busan, so no one wants to mess with him.

If you want to visit this market, plan to fit it into the itinerary and check out nearby sites including:

Yeouido Han River Park & the 63 Building

Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market (노량진수산물도매시장)

Address: 13-6 Noryangjin-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, Korea (서울특별시 동작구 노량진동 13-6)

 

 

Mapo Agricultural & Marine Products Market

Mapo Agricultural & Marine Products Market, Seongsan-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea

Located just across the street from World Cup Stadium and near the substantial World Cup Park, the seafood stalls are located in the front, fruit and vegetable vendors in the back, and upstairs are dine in restaurants that will prepare the fish to eat. The fish vendors here sell everything you’d expect in a Korean fish market including abalone, prawns, salmon, octopus, squid and other white fish. There are king crab that can be steamed on site and fish that can be prepared into sashimi or cooked.

This market is especially appealing location wise as it’s near the World Cup Park’s System and not far from the artsy Hongdae district as well as the foodie district known as Yeonnam and the up and coming Mangwon District. Being in close proximity to some other great spots means it’s easy to get lunch or dinner and see more of the area. While it’s relatively small compared to Noryangjin, the seafoody delights are on point and the vendors are friendly. Another option here would be to get sashimi sliced and diced to go and take it to the nearby Peace Park or Nanji Han River Park to picnic it up.

If you want to visit this market, plan to fit it into the itinerary and check out nearby sites including:

Seonyudo Island Park, Sky Park, Yeonnam-dong, The War & Women’s Human Rights Museum, Hongdae Art District

Mapo Agricultural & Marine Products Market (마포농수산물시장)

Address: 533-1 Seongsan 2-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea (서울특별시 마포구 성산2동 533-1)

 

 

Garak Market

Garak Market is a wholesale market selling large portions of fruits and vegetables akin to portion sizes you’d find at Costco. Opened in 1985, this was the Costco before Costco came to Korea. Prices are cheaper here than at supermarkets and get cheaper the more you purchase. Most people shopping here will be local restaurant owners, but anyone can peruse the goods and get what they’d like. Like the other markets, they also have restaurants on the premises that will prepare fish purchased within.

Once the fish has been chosen and sliced, the vendors will have told the restaurant staff to come and scoop you and the fish up to be shown to the proper area to dine. Before you even have a chance to touch the bag of fish you’ve just purchased, one of the waitstaff will have it in their hands and will be leading you to a table. This market is immense so you might get a bit lost within, but the signage is easy enough to follow and really the hunt is half the fun. Check this market out if you’re on the east side of Seoul.

If you want to visit this market, plan to fit it into the itinerary and check out nearby sites including:

Lotte World Mall, Seokchon Lake, Olympic Park

Garak Market (가락시장)

Address: 600 Garak-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, Korea (서울특별시 송파구 가락동 600)

 

 

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9 Responses

  1. You answered my question. I was wondering if they had fish stands or restaurants to get the fish cooked up nice a fresh. Great to see that they do. I love the experience of choosing the fish and then having it brought back to me on a platter!

  2. It’s so funny we lived and did almost everything there is to do in Seoul for two years but NEVER been to the Noryangjin Fish Market? We weren’t huge fans of seafood in Korea sadly but we did make it to Daepo Fish Market in Sokcho and Jagalchi in Busan. Both were fun experiences but I am kind of sad we never did the iconic Seoul fish market!

  3. We’ve got a great market here in Pohang called Jukdo Market. I used to live really close enough to it (but not close enough to smell it), but now I’m a 20 minute bus ride away. This has got my craving some seafood, though, so I might have to make the trip down for some 회!

  4. Cori Carl says:

    I love visiting markets around the world, but I almost never eat there. There’s a “famous” market a few blocks away from where I live and I hardly go unless I’m taking visitors there. I guess I need to be better about actually enjoying markets!

  5. I love visiting markets. They’re absolutely gorgeous and make for stunning photographs. Plus, I love getting that feeling of local life. However, fish markets are my least favorite because the smell so foul! It’s great to see all the different options, though!

    • Hallie says:

      Hahaha the smell should the foul at all. If it is that means the fish isn’t fresh. Fresh fish doesn’t smell like anything… hahha

  6. The variety of fishes is astounding! Since it is at a wholesale rate it must be so much cheaper than supermarkets. The fishes look really fresh.

  7. ravenoustravellers says:

    We’ve been to Noryangjin so many times, we didn’t realise there were other options – need to try and get to Garak and Mapo. We don’t tend to buy any seafood but just love wandering around and looking at all the different kinds of fish. Cool pictures too!

  1. March 29, 2017

    […] and couples that head here, this is always plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the area. With the Mapo Agricultural and Fishery Market just next door to purchase a great sashimi picnic or some fruit and veggies, this is the place to […]

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