The Noryangjin Fish Market, one of the largest seafood markets in Korea, has been in operation since 1927. On any given day, you’ll see vendors selling more than 800 varieties of seafood, both retail and wholesale. It’s the place to go, to sample the freshest Korean seafood, prepared traditionally right in the market.
Visiting the market is almost like a trip to an aquarium, but the best part is sampling the wares. After you’ve made your purchase of clams, fish, squid octopus, sea cucumber, shrimp, or crabs, to name a few, you can take your choice to a restaurant stall, where the cooks will chop it up for you to eat sashimi-style, or prepare it grilled or in a spicy stew.
Market and culinary tours of Seoul often stop at Noryangjin, but it’s also worthwhile to take a guided tour of the market itself, to get insider tips from a local on where to buy the freshest seafood and which on-site restaurants will cook up the most delicious dishes. A fish market tour can be combined with a bike tour along the Han River or a traditional Korean barbecue dinner.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Noryangjin is a must-visit for foodies and families traveling with kids.
- Come hungry; market restaurants will cook up your seafood purchases for you.
- Most market vendors accept credit cards, but it’s always a good idea to carry some cash just in case.
- Be sure to wear sturdy shoes with a good grip; the wet floor of the market can get slippery.
How to Get There
It’s easy to reach the market via public transportation. Dozens of buses stop at Noryangjin Market Station, as does Seoul subway Line 1; take Exit 1 and you’ll find the market just over the bridge.
When to Get There
If you can get yourself out of bed and to the market in the wee hours of the morning—or really, really late at night—you can witness the daily seafood auction. This is the market at its best, as fishmongers fight to get the best price on bulk items. Otherwise, visit for lunch or dinner to enjoy the fresh seafood.
Sannakji, a Korean Delicacy
Adventurous seafood lovers should be sure to sample some sannakji during a visit to the market. This Korean delicacy is made from a small species of octopus that is purchased live, chopped up, and served raw, sashimi-style with sesame oil for dipping. Nerves in the tentacles cause them to move even after the octopus is dead.