Wherever you travel, it is exciting and interesting to visit local markets, which have so many things to look at and buy and eat. Through visiting local markets, you can gain a deep understanding of the places you visit because you can see and experience what the locals eat, wear, buy and use. Modern shopping malls are easy to access, but visiting a local market is a wonderful, immersive cultural experience. It is more traditional and more fun. There are quite a lot of local markets of all sizes in Jeju Island. On this page you’ll be introduced to four popular local markets. After you read this article, you’ll find how to fully enjoy Jeju like the locals do.
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture in any new place is to eat the street food, just like a local! In Jeju you will find tasty, affordable, authentic street food. Keep an eye out for food stands and try these local specialties, which you will find at local markets in Jeju.
Hoddeok is a dish similar to pancakes – flat fried dough with a sweet filling. Hoddeok was originally adapted from a Chinese dish, and the Koreans have made it their own. This is a dessert beloved by Koreans old and young. The filling varies by region. Some fillings include sugar and cinnamon, or sugar with nuts. Sometimes the dough will contain green tea powder, or sticky rice powder. The fillings are hot – take care! This dish is perfect for the winter time.
Bingddeok is a native dish of Jeju. It is a thin, savory pancake made from buckwheat and filled with chopped radish or red beans. This dish is also known as Meongseokddeok, Jaenggiddeok, and Jeongiddeok. In the past it was common for the people of Jeju to bring this dish when invited to a neighbor’s house for traditional ancestral rites.
Pulbbang is best described as Korean pancake dumplings. They are sweet, and usually filled with red bean paste. It has various molds, and Pulbbang can be named either by the shape of the mold or by the filling. For example, Bungeobbang is fish-shaped (“bungeo”is a type of fish, but this does not contain fish). Gukhwabbang is flower-shaped (“gukhwa”is a type of flower.) Hodugwaja is chestnut-shaped. Ddangkonggwaja is peanut shaped – AND has peanut filling, instead of red bean. Like Hoddeok, Pulbbang is especially delicious in winter.
Modakchigi is a word in the Jeju language that many mainland Koreans are not familiar with – it means “gathering together” (of people or things), and here refers to the gathering of many food items into a combination dish, served together on a plate. The combination varies but typically consists of gimbap (seaweed and rice roll with filling), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), kimchi jeon (kimchi pancake), twigim (battered meat or vegetables), somyeon (noodles), sundae (Korean sausage – not to be confused with the Western ice-cream dish), and mandu (dumplings). This dish is commonly sold by street vendors or at casual restaurants. Like the name Modakchigi, you will enjoy this more if you “gather together” with your friends to eat it!
Heuk dwaeji ggochi gui (흑돼지꼬치구이)
Heuk dwaeji ggochi gui means black pork skewers. This is a Jeju specialty. The pork comes from the Jeju Black Pig, a small breed native to the island which has been designated a natural monument. Jeju people call them “poo pigs” because in the past they were fed human waste – these days they eat conventional feed. Black pork has a distinctive flavor, quite unlike the flavor of other breeds of pig. Black pork is often a feature of festivals and events in Jeju. There are many dishes in Jeju containing black pork. Don’t miss this skewers on the street!
First opened in 1954, Seomun Market is a large, 5-day market located at the west side of Jeju-si (“Seo” means “west”). In the 1960s, many customers visited this market and it was crowded because there was a bus terminal in this area at that time. But one day, the bus terminal moved to another area and then many government offices moved to another towns as well, so it faced a recession. In the 1990s, Jeju-si discussed ways to revitalize it. It was remodeled and modernized to its current form. Here you can find a range of products, including fresh meat and vegetables, clothing and other miscellaneous items. The market is especially famous for its pork and beef – try the pork of the Jeju Black Pig, one of Jeju’s natural monuments. Tourists can save money by shopping at Seomun Market for meat; naturally, if you eat at a barbecue restaurant you will pay more. Of course, it can be hard for a tourist to find somewhere to barbecue their own meat, and you don’t want to spend your holiday in your hotel room but the perfect solution can be found at Seomun Market. Go to a butcher’s shop and select your favorite cut of pork or beef. You can find some restaurants near the butcheries – just ask the butcher for a recommendation! Take your meat to a nearby restaurant, pay about 10,000 won for a table, and you will be given a burner, a pan, side dishes, sauce and fresh vegetables, and you can cook your own Korean barbecued meat! In Korean, this arrangement is called “sangcharim (상차림)”. Seomun Market is popular for this system among local people.
|Seomun Market (서문시장)|
|Address||13-2, Seomun-ro 4-gil, Jeju-si, Jeju-do|
Opened in 1945, at the center of the old downtown of Jeju-si, Dongmun Market is the oldest local market in Jeju Island. Here vendors sell grain, fruits, vegetable, fish and other seafood, clothing, shoes, souvenirs and so on. It’s a great place to buy souvenirs at the end of your trip before flying home. You can also find plenty of street food at Dongmun Market, as well as mandarins – a Jeju specialty. There markets feature tightly-packed stalls arranged in alleys – it can be easy to lose your way so be careful. The main attraction is a large, stand-alone fish market where you can purchase fresh and affordable fish and seafood. This fish market is known for its famous hairtail. Plenty of seafood variety is available including tile fish, abalone, perch and others. Koreans often eat their fish raw; they call it hoe (회), and it’s the best way to enjoy the local fish. Some stalls will have a tank of live fish; you may select one, and the vendor will kill and fillet it on the spot, and pack the flesh for you, leaving you with the freshest hoe possible. There is also packed hoe already prepared and displayed. You can get a large serving for around 10,000 won. Just like at Seomun Market, if you want to eat hoe from the market, you can purchase it from a stall and take it to a nearby restaurant and order ‘sangcharim’ for 3,000 won or above per person. It’s the perfect way to experience fresh seafood while sticking to your budget. Or if you prefer, you can take it to your hotel room and eat it there. Popular fish varieties for hoe include: mackerel (godeungeo, 고등어), yellowtail (bangeo, 방어), hairtail (galchi, 갈치), salmon (yeoneo, 연어), pomfret (byeongeo, 병어), red sea-bream (chamdom, 참돔 or chamdomi, 참도미), abalone (jeonbok, 전복), and rockfish (ureok, 우럭).
Dongmun Market will soon feature a night market as well. Free parking is available for 30 minutes.
|Dongmun Market (동문시장)|
|Address||20, Gwandeok-ro 14-gil, Jeju-si, Jeju-do|
Jeju Minsok 5-day Market is a local market which opens once every five days – starting on the 2nd of each month, then on the 7th, and so on. Jeju Minsok Market is located near the airport and is the largest 5-day market in Jeju Island. There are many tour places to visit nearby such as Yongduam Rock, Halla Arboretum and Iho Tewoo Beach. Opened in 1905, it has about 1,000 shops. You can find almost anything at these markets, though most of the miscellaneous goods come from the Korean mainland. Cheap and tasty street food is everywhere. Korean pancakes, noodles, rice cakes, various kinds of soup, traditional snacks, fried food and so on. You can buy plants or flowers, see a fortune teller, and you can even find pets here; parrots, rabbits, and hamsters. There is a ‘Halmang Jangteo’ which means ‘Grandma Market’ where local elderly women sell their own produce. Don’t miss out on the fascinating Korean snack Bbeongtwigi (뻥튀기), a crispy puffed-rice snack only found in local markets. Bbeongtwigi is automatically made with a machine – small baskets of rice grains wait to be poured into a small pressure pot, which is closed and then superheated. The process is quite loud; you will hear the rice grains pop all at once like a crack of thunder, and the machine will eject the puffed rice cake. Order one and chat with other customers while you wait!
Eating the local cuisine gives you a real taste of the local life and culture. This market is abundant with authentic local food. In the past, many of the local people of Jeju were poor and often could not afford to eat meat. At festivals and events, some simple dishes made with Jeju black pork were served so that the poor could eat some meat. At the markets you can try three such dishes. Try some Momguk (몸국) soup made from Jeju black pork stock with gulfweed, a type of seaweed. The pork stock was an efficient way to let many people have meat in the local feasts and events. Another dish is Gogiguksu (고기국수), literally translated as “meat noodles”; boiled noodles in Jeju black pork stock, with some pork pieces as well. Sundae gukbap (순대국밥) is soup with Korean pork sausage. The sausage is lined with pork intestine and filled with rice and various vegetables. If you’ve had enough of pork, why not try Bomal kalguksu (보말칼국수), noodles with sea snails. ‘Bomal’ is a Jeju word referring to a type of sea snail found in the local waters. It has a unique, chewy texture. Traditionally in Jeju it is a woman’s job to dive for Bomal. The women who do this are known as Haenyeo. You can try these local foods at restaurants within the Jeju Minsok Market. Some good restaurants are Chunhyangine (춘향이네), Jeonguksikdang (전국식당), and Hwangtosikdang (황토식당), and you can try these dishes for about 5,000 won to 7,000 won.
Traditional performances are held at the markets twice a month. Toilets and free parking are available.
|Jeju Minsok 5-day Market (제주민속오일시장)|
|Address||26, Oiljangseo-gil, Jeju-si, Jeju-do|
|Dates||2nd, 7th, 12th, 17th, 22nd in every month. Opening hours are 08:00~22:00. (09:00~18:00 on Saturdays)|
Another 5-day market is Seogwipo Hyangto 5-day Market, located in Seogwipo-si, and starting on the 4th of each month. The market has established itself as a modern cultural hub with additional variation in street food and entertainment, while retaining important elements of traditional atmosphere and scenery. Local markets have an authentic charm that cannot be replaced in modern malls. At Seogwipo Market you can visit a traditional blacksmith and mills, and see all sorts of farming equipment, such as sickles and hoes. Taste the assortment of nostalgic street foods such as Korean corndogs, Chapssal donuts (Korean glutinous rice ball doughnuts), sweet red bean bread, and skewered octopus. The food at Seogwipo Market is quite affordable – you can have gukbap (hot soup with rice) for just 5,000 won. You can also find typical Jeju Island goods like fresh seafood and vegetables.
A unique feature of the market is a flea market called Teumeong Jangteo. Teumeong Jangteo has very distinct local soul, and its symbol is a Jeju black pig and horse. Most of the food sold here is made of pork and horse meat. Live performances by large groups of musicians are available for the visitors to enjoy. Teumeong Jangteo is also held during the weekend, both Saturday and Sunday. Buy what you want and have fun while doing so!
|Seogwipo Hyangto 5-day Market (서귀포향토오일시장)|
|Address||18-5, Jungsangandong-ro 7894beon-gil, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do|
|Dates||4th, 9th, 14th, 19th, 24th, 29th in every month. Opening time is 10:00~20:00.|
*Teumeong Jangteo is also open every Saturday and Sunday from 12:00