Seoul has a lot going for it; noraebangs aplenty, mountains galore and cheap beer up the wazoo. But, for me at least, none of those are quite as essentially ‘Seoul’-y as the mad, chaotic, fantastic markets dotted around the city.
So here’s the first in (hopefully) a series called ‘Yeti Goes to Market’. Ladles and jellyspoons, I give you….
Namdaemun might just win the highly coveted title of ‘Rachel’s Most Favourite, Bestest, Most Awesome Market Ever’. It’s big enough that I can wander around for an afternoon without seeing anything twice, and not so big that I drop dead with intimidation at the sight of it. It has a super sweet mix of the traditional, the modern, and the plain old ridiculous. Most importantly, it’s cheap as all buggery.
Need a silly konglish shirt? Namdaemun. Craving some pickled ginseng? Namdaemun. Ridiculous souvenirs (kimchi chocolate, anyone?) for people back home? Namdaemun. Ruined your favorite belly dancing outfit and need a replacement? Namdaemun. Want a halloween costume in the middle of July? Namdaemun. Just got hired as a chef, and need a uniform, pronto? Namdaemun. Heading to the beach and just can’t find an inflatable raft anywhere? Namdaemun! I hope you’re getting the picture by now, people. You want it? Namdaemun has it.
If you don’t believe me…
(disclaimer: I asked everyone photographed for permission, even if it doesn’t always look that way)
Take the subway to Hoehyon Station, Line 4 (Blue line). Go out Exit 5 and… there you are!