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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)

Busan Food Journal, Part Two

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Buy Bulgogi Online

Early on, we started to learn how to pick out some of the Korean words for foods we especially liked. Bibimbap is easy, mostly a lot of “b”s strung together (비빔밥). And we could quickly identify both bulgogi and kalguksu. But we weren’t out of the woods yet! On one Saturday night, we sat down a popular place in Seuyoung and only realized at the last minute that they serve strictly intestines. Props to the English-speaking kid at the neighboring table for warning us!

Food Journal: Part One | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six

BBQ Pork (목삼왕소금구이)
Bulgogi-BBQ

This was an adventurous meal at K’ubso-K’ubso (꿉소꿉소), near the Geumnyeonsan metro station (location). We were feeling confident (or, a little buzzed on soju) and took our seats at this popular restaurant, knowing full well that the menu would be entirely in Korean without any pictures. We didn’t even have our dictionary. And so we used the venerable and classy “walk around with the waiter and point at other people’s tables” method of ordering… and ended up with a great spread. [More Pics]

Hotteok (호떡)
Sweet-Stuff-Korea

These mini-pancakes stuffed with sugar, spices and sunflower seeds are one of the more popular types of street snack in Busan. We tried them once at BIFF Square (location), and they were good! But to make sure that the first time wasn’t a fluke, we tried them again. Yep, still good. We weren’t convinced though… and decided to try them a few more times to make extra-sure. It took forty-three hotteok-tastings, before an adequate confidence level was reached. Forty-four. It’s simply what we must do to maintain the integrity of our blog. [More Pics]

Korean Melon (오꿀복)
Korean Melon

The first time I saw this beautifully shaped and colored fruit, I thought it was an orange which had been carved for decoration. But then I saw them being sold by an old guy on the street, and realized there was no way he had carved all those oranges. I bought a few, and was surprised to discover that they’re in fact tender, sweet melons. To eat, just cut lengthwise down the middle, scoop out the seeds (I use my thumbs) and peel off the skin.

Cheese Tonkatsu (돈가스)
Cheese Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu is a dish which was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese, and has since found a permanent foothold in the cuisine of Busan. Our friends Robert and Jumi from Paella de Kimchi took us to a great restaurant called Rila Bapjip (릴라 밥집 – location) to try the crispy-fried pork cutlets. They were covered in a thick sauce and stuffed with cheese. So delicious, and the gorilla-themed Japanese restaurant near the PNU University was cute.

Waffle and Ice Cream
Korean Waffle

Is it a traditional Korean dessert? Do I care? Waffles are a popular breakfast item here, and at BeansBins (perhaps my favorite of Korea’s many coffee chains – location), they’re sold with two scoops of ice cream plopped on top. This makes for an excellent Sunday brunch.

Kimchi Jigae (김치 찌개)
Kimchi Stew

Gim-Bap-Jeon-Guk (김밥전국), on the southern end of Gwangalli Beach (location), turned into our go-to restaurant when we can’t be bothered to find anything else. Cheap, good and, most importantly, close to our apartment. Plus, the three women who work there are accustomed to dealing with foreigners. When I spit out “chu-cheon hae-ju-shi-gess-eo-yo” (What do you recommend?), our waitress took a second to figure out what I was trying to say, then laughed and pointed to the Kimchi Jigae, a rich stew. So that’s what we got, and it was delicious.

Bo-ri-bap (보리밥)
Bo-ri-bap

Not the best meal that we’ve had in Busan, Boribap is a dish of boiled rice and barley mixed with veggies and sauce. We tried this at a small joint near City Hall called Go-Hyang (고향 – location), which was full of women on their lunchtime break. All conversation stopped when we entered, and fifty eyes monitored our clumsy efforts to kneel and sit indian-style at the last open table. The other diners left us alone while eating, but as they left, each one stopped at our table to say “goodbye”. Kind of sweet. [More Pics]

More Pics and a Video from the Bulgogi BBQ
Meat Cutting
Korean Food
Korean Egg
Korean BBQ Busan
More Pics of Hotteok
Sweets Korean
Korean Street Food
Another picture of Boribap
Bo-ri-bap-Alge

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May 18, 2012 at 3:27 am Comments (5)

Busan Food Journal, Part One

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Korean Cookbooks

We ate a lot of interesting new foods during our time in Busan. The city’s supermarkets are rather expensive, and eating out was almost as cheap as cooking at home, particularly when you stick to the kinds of local joints which we prefer. This is the first of our recaps on what we ate, and what it’s called

Most of Busan’s restaurants don’t have menus with pictures or English descriptions, so a lot of our meal choices will be the result of a random guess-and-point, until we learn the basics. To help ourselves, and other newbies to the food culture of Korea, we’ve decided to keep a little journal of the things we’ve consumed. Bon appetit!

Food Journal: Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six

Mulmil-myeon (물밀면)
Mul-mil-myeon

Not sure if I’m transliterating that correctly, but mulmil-myeon is cold noodle soup. Thick noodles served in spicy cold broth, and perfect for a hot summer day… except, we had it on an unseasonably cool spring day. Brrrr. Juergen got the dry mixed noodles (비빔면), which were also cold, and we split dumplings. It was all good; the restaurant was called Bonga Milmyeon in the Suyeong District(location). [More Pics]

Dongnae Pajeon (파전)
Dongnae-Pajeon

“Jeon” means something like “pancake”, and this popular Korean dish can be made with a variety of main ingredients. When made with green onions, the name of the dish becomes “pa”-jeon. Pajeon is a specialty of Dongnae, the neighborhood we were in after having hiked around the Geumjeongsanseong Fortress, and we ordered some at a street vendor (approx. location). Our pancakes made with eggs, flour, chunks of pork and bunch of green onions. Yum (I’ve been practicing, and can now write “yum” in Korean: 염) [More Pics]

Pho Bo (쇠고기 깔국수)
Pho Bo

We tried this Vietnamese dish at a cute restaurant called Saigon, near our home at the Gwangalli Beach (location). I’m not sure what makes this a Vietnamese dish… maybe the type of noodles? But it was good. We also had spring rolls here. [More Pics]

Dolsot Bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥)
Dolsot-Bibimbap

Bibimbap is both the cutest word you’re going to see today, and a delicious meal which literally means “mixed rice”. It’s one of Korea’s signature dishes, and can be served up in an infinite number of variations. At the rather pricey Well-Being Rice Cafe in Seumyong (location), I ordered Spicy Octopus Dolsot Bibimbap, while Jürgen went for Mushroom & Bulgogi. Dolsot bibimbaps are served in a piping hot stone bowl coated with oil. Once served, you have to immediately stir the rice around, so that it doesn’t burn to the bowl. [More Pics]

Kalguksu (칼국수)
Kalguksu

We had this soup full of thick, wheat noodles at a small restaurant in Dongnae (approx. location). The name Kalguksu literally translates to “knife noodles”, referring to the fact that the noodles are hand-cut into shape. This hot and filling soup is, strangely, a summer dish in Korea. The waitress also gave us black bean noodles for free (“service”, as they say here). We weren’t about to protest! [More Pics]

Tonkatsu (돈까스)
Deep-Fried-Pork-Cutlet

On the 9th floor of Shinsegae Centum City (location), there are a number of restaurants which look uniformly excellent. Before watching The Avengers in the world’s biggest 4D screen, we got dinner at Mita’s Kitchen. These delicious pork cutlets were soaked in sweet and sour sauce, and served with the usual line-up of delicious side items. [More Pics]

More Pics from Bonga Milmyeon
Korean-Noodles-Gwangalli-Beach
Busy Noodle Place
/Scissor-Noodles
Mixed Noodles
Noodle Menue
More Pics of Pajeon
Pancakes-Busan
Bacon Pancakes
More Pics from Saigon
Gwangalli-Saigon
Saigon Menu
Saigon Rolls
Another Pic from Well-Being Rice Cafe
Mushroom-Bibimbap
More Pics of Kalguksu
Kalgugksu-Korea
Noodles-in-Black-Bean
We also ate Jajangmyeon, a black-bean noodle dish
Another Pic from Mita’s Cafe
Pork Korea

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May 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm Comments (9)