How did you spend the first day of 2016? I went to Ganghwa Island in Incheon with my family. I wanted to share the best part of my tour which was a Korean traditional market. You can see the real Korea here.
Before you go into the market, you will see this guy in front of the entrance with loud music. He is called Gakseoli, a singing beggar. (He is not actually a beggar but just dresses up like a beggar.) Gakseoli usually dresses up, dances funny, and sells Yeot, Korean traditional candy. Yeot comes in various kinds and the one I had was made with rice. It is white, gooey, and sticky.
When you go inside, you see fruits, veggies, different types of side dishes, and other things. Halmeonis (할머니; old ladies) wearing aprons sit on a chair and sell many different things. That is what the legit Korean market looks like.
To enjoy a Korean market even better, you should ask the old ladies for a free tasting sample. Ganghwa is well-known for turnips, and they make Kimchi with them too. I asked a lady for a free sample and she kindly said yes
I tried one and couldn’t resist buying it. It was so delicious! For a jar, it costs 20,000 KRW. A turnip is softer than a normal radish and tastes bitter a little. You can’t find turnips often in other places in Korea, but Ganghwa island has some. All restaurants here give you turnip Kimchi instead of the normal radish one.
Looking around the market, one thing that you can’t miss is food, food, FOOD! Another famous food from Ganghwa is a type of small fish called Baen-daeng-yi (밴댕이). If you go upstairs, they are full of restaurants and many of them sell Baendaengyi.
Baendaengyi comes as a course meal. The first is Baendaengyi Hweh (회; raw fish) and making a wrap with it is the best way to eat it. It is fresh, soft, and savory. It is AMAZING
The next is spicy Korean salad with raw Baendaengyi. It is little sour with vinegar and savory with sesame oil. Yum! It is my favorite from the course meal.
The last is grilled Baendaengyi. It’s soft inside and crispy outside. Even though it has lots of bones, they are all small so you can chew and eat them.
After the Baendaengyi meal, we had Susu Bukkumi which is a fried sorghum pancake filled with red beans. It is a Korean traditional snack. It is super attractive; chewy and crispy at the same time.
If you want to feel the real Korea, you should definitely visit a Korean market.
강화 풍물시장 (Ganghwa Pungmul Sijang)
인천광역시 강화군 강화읍 중앙로 17-9 (17-9, Jungang-ro, Ganghwa-eup, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon)
032-934-1318 / open hours 08:00-20:00
If you want to visit a market in Seoul, here is another option.
서울 광장시장 (Seoul Gwangjang Sijang)
서울특별시 종로구 창경궁로 88 (88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea)
02-2267-0291 / open hours 09:00-22:00