Have a fabulous 2012


Gaga: Rest in Peace (b.2002 - d.2010)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Traditional Market: Yeoungdeungpho Shijang (영등포 · 永登浦 - on Line 5)

There are all sorts of markets in the world and some of the most original are the ones located in older part of the cities or are formally designated as the traditional markets. They are the flip side of globalized/modernized world. In South Korea there are about 1500 traditional markets and actually these are the places where you'd see a lot of middle aged people or old age ajusshies and ajjumas.

They sell about everything that you can think of. My first ever traditional market was the biggest and the most famous one - Namdaemun Market - in the heart of Seoul. I also frequented Dongdaemun Market that has transformed so much that it is hard to believe what you'd see. In 2002 -2007....it was a "very typical and traditional" market area, the place had a few malls like DOOTA Tower and across from it was the baseball stadium and underneath it were all sports related stuff being sold. This same area had a very dynamic and active night market that used to start at 8:00p.m and used to finish at 6:a.m. On weekends there was a huge "Weekend Market on the Streets " and one could buy things at a throw away price. I liked it then.

By 2007 with the end of his Mayor term (the current President)Mayor Bak came up with a plan to transform Dongdaemun area. There were fierce battles between the old timer shopkeepers and the police and finally what we see today is the jungle of malls in the area. Baseball stadium was demolished and so was the adjacent huge parking lots. All one can see are the flyovers and sky scrapers of steel and glass. There is still a huge market and sales all the time but it is NOT traditional anymore.

I also discovered Jagidong Traditional Market or  located near Cheongneagni for wholesale vegetables and fruits. They have one of the biggest centers for selling traditional medicines & herbs too. Nearby is Seoul's biggest meat market - highlight of it was dog meat and dogs in freezers. Korea has a long tradition of enjoying dog meat but these days not every place or restaurant sells it. One has to go to the typical markets or places to get the delicacy (yes...I mean, it is a delicacy).

This week, I finally went to Yeoungdeungpo Market / 영등포시장/  which has a reputation of being a famous flower market hub however, it has other things too. Since I have visited many traditional markets in Seoul, I had high expectations from Yeoungdongpo Shijang but it fall short to my expectations.

Almost everything was either sold for the same rate as any place else or was expensive. This should NOT be so. As soon as I entered the main entrance of Yeoungdongpo, the second stall had dog meat and dogs in the freezers - it is NOT a common sight of course. I mean I do NOT want to debate on eating dog meat or any other meat but I moved from that stall , as fast as I could. As I moved a little more, I found all sorts of grains some among them are used as "dals" or lentils in Indian cuisine - that made me happy. Commonly sold was "hari moong dal" for 5$/kg. ....not bad, I thought.

I loved to see these poped up corns and wheats though - it is a nice snack!

Fruits were sold at slightly low rate  (may be 500 won less or so) , like in the photo above that seeded grapes bucket was sold for 2$.

Painting of all sorts were available from Jesus to Jardin!

 Ajumma fasion was in high demand - colorful shirts and pajamas and traditional boots were plenty. I loved the Phaichu (Cabbage for sale) in the middle of the street for sale. Nobody can miss that out!

Chicken and ducks were a hot commodity especially chicken feet(as above). Entire family was involved in cleaning them and several other organs of chicken such as liver, kidneys skin etc. Chicken feet is a favourite Korean dish in all university neighborhoods. Even feet of pigs and cows are loved here. They simply boil them and eat it with soju+panchan of all sort.

Yeoungdongpo Market has one of the "huge underground markets" so give it a try. This one was filled with yound people.

Vegetables being sold on streets are cheaper than those inside the market

Trousers and trackking suits in all shapes and sizes!

Street Stall at Yeoungdongpo

Traditional Korean Cookingware Shop: if you need dolsut etc. I also found out where all the university eating trays and tableware is coming from...^^

Ajusshi: Dozing off!!!

Namja (men's) Shoes!

Ajumma Shots for summers in pretty colors!

Since Chuseok is around: Jesasang stuff /tableware and tables for sales

Yeoungdongpho Flower Market's : one side of it!

More shoes: Another Ajjoshi dozing off inside the shop where as the wife is selling the shoes, an interesting feature of this market is that some of the shops are linked to the real houses of the these shop owners so that was quite unique.

Korean pears: they are very juicy and huge and the juice is used in bulgogi marination as one of the ingredients!

 Mangoes from the Philippines and Apricots

More fruits!

I bought shrimps - had to throw half of them since I forgot to put them in the freezer ( I really felt bad and the paprika that I bought from there, had to be thrown - almost half - I can NOT use the huge quantities that these traditional markets sell for minimum. Hence, if you are not sharing with someone or are not here with your family: prepare to throw things that you may buy out of excitement of being cheap. It will cost you double the money as well as the effort - carrying all the way from the other end of of the city!!!

I'll recommend to visit these traditional markets that we call bazaars in our part of the world. They are very cool - they will show you how the cities have evolved as well as the real life, people and culture. The trip will be a memorable one!!!