Seafood in South Korea: One of Their Best Kept Secrets

By Kalina Ewing

As a visitor to South Korea, when you think of what foods you want to sample, korean BBQ, bibimbap, kimbap, and bulgogi might be at the top of your list, but one thing that is a must to see and taste is the local seafood. Since Korea is a peninsula surrounded on three sides by the ocean it has access to a wonderful variety of fresh seafood. When trying local seafood the first place you should go is to a fresh seafood market. There are many fantastic fresh markets throughout Korea, but probably the most famous and widely recognized is Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul.

This fish market is made up of two sections. The original section was built in 1971 with a new modernized area of the market built in 2002. The older section is probably the more authentic and popular destination to visit. Make sure you wear proper clothing and footwear as this is a live seafood market, and you will find open tanks and water that has splashed on the floor. If you want to experience live auctions be prepared to get up early and be there at 3 am. Make sure to visit the entire market and browse the contents before deciding what you want, and don’t be afraid to haggle. The vendors may have a set price listed but they are used to haggling over the price. If you are not comfortable with the price of anything don’t be afraid to walk away. Try something new like a sea pineapple or gaebul (nicknamed penis fish), and don’t be off put by the name or shape. The fishmonger will often butcher your seafood for you right there, and if you are willing to try it raw will often serve the items with soy sauce or dressings. If you do not want it raw you can have it cooked in one many of the restaurants in or close to the market. Just follow the vendor and they will show you where to go.

Busan Seafood Tents

Set right on Haeundae Beach you will find row after row of tents with tanks full of fresh seafood. Most of the seafood offered is similar in each of the tents, but there is a massive variety to be found. The most famous thing to try while in Busan are the clams, but don’t miss out on the other offerings such as mussels, shrimp, eel, octopus, squid, crab, lobster and many more. How can you compare normal seafood to those that are fresh caught from the sea, put in tanks, and prepared right before your eyes? In my opinion, you can’t. Although the tents are small, they can usually accommodate around 4 people at a time, and the experience makes up for the cramped feel. Some say that the price can be expensive for items such as lobster or crab, but for its size and amount of free sides that are usually served with them, it is very reasonable and will easily feed more than one person.

Yeongdeok Snow Crab Festival

Snow Crab fishing season is from December to April and the festival is held every March. This event is held on the seashore of Yeongdeok where most of the snow crab or daege are caught. At the festival, there are many activities including catching your own crab from a pool, auctions of live crab, cooking competitions, rides and of course food vendors selling fresh cooked crab.

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【Yeongdeok Snow Crab Festival 03.22.2018 ~ 03.25.2018 】 Snow Crab was once the food served only to the Kings and Royal families. Today, the tradition of serving Snow Crab is still alive. During special events and occasions, crab dishes are served to the South Korean President and their guests during special occasions. If you are a Seafood lover, look out for the Yeongdeok Snow Crab Festival that happens only once a year! Special events during the festival includes Cooking contests, Fishing competition, Auctions awaits. Freshly cooked crab meals are also available! Date: 22 – 25 March 2018(4 days) Admission: Free Location: Donghae-daero, Yeongdeok-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do Bonus: Grab the adorable Snow crab bread after your meal to complete the snow crab experience ~ Credit: , @gomsoosan , @vadasori , @jh_s0408 , Visit Korea #KoreaFreeAndEasy #KoreaTravels #Seoul #SeoulTravels #SeoulTourism #SeafoodLover #KoreanSeafood #YeongdeokSnowCrabFestival #snowcrab #Yeongdeok #SaSeoul #SaTour#Seoul #Korea #Koreanfestivals #snowcrabbread #한국 #한국여행 #대게 #맛집 #국내산대게 #먹스타그램 #식사 #힐링 #음식 #한국축제 #대게빵

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9 Layers of Seafood: At a restaurant called 무한조개구이 까까 (Loosely translated to Infinite Grilled Clams) which is located on the other side of the green line at Bongcheon Station, you can find an amazing dish of 9 layers of steamed seafood. Each seafood layer is steamed and then at the bottom, the juices all collect into an amazing broth that you can add ramen to if you wish. Make sure to bring friends as there is no way to eat this dish alone; even two people would be too few. A group of 4 to 6 is best. The price is very reasonable at around 90,000 won for the entire 9 layers which comes to about 15 dollars for 6 people.

Street Vendors

When out and about don’t overlook the local street vendors while visiting Korea. Some of the best hidden treats for seafood can be found here. One of the favourites enjoyed by locals is the fish cake that looks like a ribbon on a stick or odeng and is often served with hot broth. This is a wonderful dish to warm up on a cold night.

No matter how you choose to satiate your craving for seafood in Korea, the fresh and amazing variety available is sure to leave you beyond satisfied.

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