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Jagalchi Fish Market

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The largest fish market in South Korea is found in downtown Busan, next to the busy shopping area of Nampo-dong and adjacent to the Lotte Aqua Mall. That it occupies such a valuable, central location speaks to how important the fish trade has always been to the city.

Cheap Fish

The market is massive and seems to go on forever. Thousands of stands with what must be billions of fish compete with each other for customers, and there’s no doubt who’s in charge: the hardened, crafty women known as the Jagalchi Ajumas. “Ajuma” means “married woman”, and these ladies conduct almost all the business at the market, whether that’s the business of beheading a fish, prying open a clam, or haggling with a customer. Most likely, they could do all of these things simultaneously.

We were amazed during our visit; the Jagalchi Market is like an aquarium, with every sort of fish imaginable and some species I’d never seen before. Among countless others, I saw colorful shrimp the size of trout, blowfish, shark, sea urchins, monkfish, mollusks, and the slightly off-putting penis fish.

Of course, the big difference between this and an aquarium is that these fish are waiting to die. To be ripped apart in the most horrific ways imaginable and then consumed. I saw a group of eels who had been skinned alive, still squiggling around in their pail. There’s enough material here to fuel a thousand gore flicks… just substitute “human” for “octopus”. That’s what was running through my head, as I watched a group of plucky octopuses working together to climb out of their bucket, only to be whacked in the head by their insidious Ajuma keeper. Soon, she would choose one to hack to pieces and then serve as a still-twitching meal. Hollywood, take note.

There are a few different sections of the Jagalchi market. We started in the outdoor zone, with a nice view over the port, and then moved into the Dry Fish area, where dried sardines, kelp and cod are sold in unbelievable volume. The centerpiece of the market, though, is the new Shindonga building, built in 2006. The exterior design features white winged shapes, creating the impression of giant seagulls descending onto the building. Inside are yet more stands and restaurants where you can eat sashimi; similar to the Millak sashimi hall we visited, but on a different scale.

We had a great time in Jagalchi — it’s one of the absolute highlights of Busan.

Location on our Busan Map
-Cheap Places To Stay in Busan

Photographer Busan
Shopping in Korea
Snail Cleaning
Korean Snail
Busan-Ajuma
Dry Fish Market Busan
Dry Me Some Fish
Waiting For Costumers
Good Posture
Fried Eel
Baked Fish
Jagalchi-Ajuma
Jagalchi
Jagalchi-Market
Korean Manta
Korean Squid
Life Fish
Oh Crab
OMG-Everything-So-cheap
Silver Fish
Skinned Fish
Dry-Silver-Fish
Lunch Time
Rusty Boats
Ship Blog
Korean Fisherboat
Night Fishing Korea
Korean LOL
Jagalchi-Snack
Harbor Dudes
Jagalchi-Nompo-Dong
Korean Bridge
Fish-Statue
View-From-Jagalchi-Market
Korean Fish Market
Fishy Hangout
Fish DAy
Humor Fish
Hook Up Korea
Huge Fishmarket
Very Cool Fish
Super Fresh Seafood Korea
Pretty Shell
Jagalchi-Restaurants
Working Hard in Korea
Snoozing Korea

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June 24, 2012 at 2:32 am Comments (3)

Grab a Seat in Eatery Alley

How To Make Kimchi

There’s a small street in the shopping nexus of Nampo-Dong filled with stands offering a cheap outdoor lunch. Hot noodles, kimchi, rice bowls, tteokbokki (a spicy rice cake dish), all served up by a colorful collection of Korean lunch ladies. The map refers to this as “Eatery Alley”, which is about as accurate a name as possible.

Eat Your Kimchi

Each lunch lady is hocked on the ground in front of her “kitchen”, which consists of a big, solitary pot. They’re always at work, slopping more noodles into bowls, speedily preparing more gimbap, or counting their earnings. Each has her own specialty, and we opted for a plump, smiling lady serving a spicy-looking bowl of glass noodles. We chose her stand because… the noodles looked so good! Because… it seemed popular with the locals! Okay, okay, fine. We chose it because, after hesitating for a second in front of her, she yelled at us to sit down. And down we sat, onto tiny stools fit for a Barbie doll picnic.

We each got a bowl of the noodles and split a plate full of snacks, such as rice rolls, kimchi and seaweed. It was all delicious, and cost ₩7000 ($6.30) in total. At least, that’s what it cost the Korean couple sitting next to us. But the crafty old broad charged us 10000, even though she knew that we had been closely monitoring the other, just-completed transaction. She must have reasoned that we wouldn’t be able to argue… and she was right. I held up my fingers, trying to sign “7?”, but she just smiled and waved goodbye.

Still, it was a good deal, and we left full and satisfied. We promised to return, armed with Korean phrases like, “Please, my dear, I do believe you’ve miscalculated”. Or, “Could I have the local price?” Or, “If you don’t stop ripping me off, I’ll kick your damned table over”.

Location on our Busan Map
-Hostels in Busan

Chop Stick
Green Bowls
Street Food Blog
Food Alley Busan
Kimci Mama
Korean Food Blog
Korean-Glass-Noodles
Small Gim Bap
Munch
Hungry Korean Girl
Ice Rice Drink

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May 14, 2012 at 9:33 am Comments (6)