Just came back from a short trip to Hong Kong (which explains why my 2014 Hong Kong photos will sort of merge with my 2015 Hong Kong photos ha!), and I'm flying off again in less than two weeks' time for another vacay. Where else to but my favourite city - Seoul. I had thought that it would not be possible to visit Seoul this year as there was the MERS situation a while ago, but thankfully, the situation has sort of settled and it's kinda safe to travel to Korea again. It's gonna be a loooooooooooooooooooong trip, and that reminds me that I've yet to post any 2014 Seoul photos. Okay, given the special circumstances, I'm jumping queue on my other travelogues, and posting a couple Seoul photos like now now. ;)
I was in Seoul late last September too (oh, so the photos are about a year old ha!), and it was a truly enjoyable trip with my girlfriend. I had another girlfriend who was on the same flight as us, who was traveling with her family, and it was a coincidence that we had booked airbnb apartments in the same building at Seoul Station! We met up a couple times to eat together, and the very first day we arrived, after settling in, we agreed to head to Noryangjin Fish Market together for a hearty breakfast/lunch. The more people the better right? When it comes to feasting.
I've been visiting Seoul annually for the past few years, but it was my first visit ever to the famed fish market. So glad that the girlfriend who travelled with me was a foodie and quite adventurous in trying new stuff, so I really got to try a lot of new stuff in the trip.
노량진 수산시장 (Noryangjin Fish Market), 2014
2014 was the year in which I went to both well-known Asian fish markets in the region, Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, and Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul. In comparison, there was a wider variety of sea creatures in the Korean fish market, as compared to the Japanese one, where there were mostly familiar fishes and seafood. I'll just let the pictures do the talking.
Friend's dad holding up a small octopus
All kinds of edible molluscs
Ready packed sliced raw fish and for soups/stews; Skate fish
In Japanese cuisine, the most common variety of fishes in sashimi is mostly of salmon and tuna. Sashimi in Korean cuisine is known as 회 (pronounced hwe), and the Koreans enjoy having whatever is fresh and in season I guess, for I have no idea what that platter above contain. We ended up ordering a platter of hwe, and I have no idea what we got except for Salmon. Ha.
After walking around the market, we made our buys from various stalls. Some of the stall owners do speak Mandarin, so it wasn't too bad to buy food. When we were making payment for our last seafood, a restaurant owner approached and we decided to follow him to his restaurant. There are many restaurants located within the market, and once you finish purchasing your seafood, you can either follow one of the restaurant folks, or head to your fave restaurant if you have one, and they will help cook your food for a fee.
The girlfriend was craving uni, but the uni in Korea didn't seem very fresh (or perhaps it's not in season?) as the colour was more of a dull mustard, than a fresh tangerine shade.
There were six of us, and we had grilled prawns, grilled abalones, "live" octopus, and a sliced fish platter. We also bought various fish parts, and a medium crab, ingredients for 해물탕 (haemultang - spicy fish soup).
My first time trying 산낙지 (sannakji - live octopus). The octopus is cut into small pieces and is lightly seasoned with sesame oil. There's a novelty factor in eating this dish as the pieces are still squirming about. An interesting experience for sure. It doesn't taste too bad, and perhaps the octopus pieces here were chopped up quite small, so I didn't really feel the octopus's "suction" power on my tongue. Ha.
The hwe was served with a spicy gochujang sauce, but of course, there was also some wasabi provided too. Somehow, the white fish slices tasted pretty good with the gochujang sauce.
Such pretty shells!
Our pot of 해물탕 (haemultang - spicy fish soup)! Looks so good doesn't it? It was darn yums too, one of my favorite meals of the trip. Then again, I tried so much good food on my trip that basically everything was good and I can't decide what was my absolute favourite.
Our ingredients were divided into two, and we had a second pot of clear seafood soup for those who can't take spicy food. I probably had just a sip of this pot? So can't really comment much on it. Ha. Gimme my spicy soups/stews anytime!
Trust me when I say everything on our table was wiped clean. Yums. Even though it was still early in the day, we also ordered a bottle of makgeolli to share too. *burp* Definitely a satisfying first meal in Korea.
The restaurant was packed by the time we were about to leave. I saw that alot of people were having steamed fresh crabs! A pity my friend's family was not a big fan of crabs, so we only got one crab for our soup. I would have loved to feast on fresh crab, but oh well, perhaps next time then!
The market was also getting crowded, that was perhaps closer to lunchtime? And so we left the market then, to walk off our heavy brunch...
노량진수산시장 (Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market)
Opening hours: 24 hours
Address: 서울특별시 동작구 노들로 688 (노량진동) 688, Nodeul-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul
Get there: Noryangjin Station (노량진역) (Line 1), Exit 1. Follow the crowd (or rather, the fishy smell...) and it's a short walk across the bridge.