Inside Noryangjin, Seoul's Largest Indoor Seafood Market

 Black Buddha

With its narrow walkways, hurried streams of trolleys whisking inventory in and out and master sashimi chefs drumming up orders on cutting boards, Seoul's Noryangjin Fish Market is a worthy destination for adventure seeking foodies.

Established in 1927, it's the city's largest indoor seafood market and as real as it gets -- a close up look at the ocean's bounty in a no frills, bustling bazaar that's open 24/7, 365 days a year.

Noryangjin moved to its current home in 1971 and a modernization project was carried out in 2015. The sprawling structure, spread over eight floors, houses hundreds of shops, many of which don't have names and aren't numbered.

The market handles about 50% of metropolitan volumes of seafood and a whopping 250 to 300 tons of marine products are traded every day, according to official stats.

Seafood is hauled in from ports around the country to shoulder demand.

The market is open all hours of the day but the real fun begins during the early morning auctions. And by early, we mean 1 a.m.

Some may find it a bit eerie to make eye contact with the fish they're about to eat, and the blood and guts on the floor may also prove a challenge, but more often than not, taste buds prevail.

You can pick seafood right out of the tank and the fishmongers will prepare it for you on the spot. Nearby restaurants can also cook fresh seafood purchased from the market. It's not fancy, but that's why it's so dang good.

Even with prices at Noryangjin falling 20-30% below those of larger, surrounding retailers, bargaining is still common. Bear in mind merchants brandish very large, very sharp knives, so you'll need to keep your nerve.

Check out the above video by Black Buddha for a peek inside Seoul's Noryangjin Fish Market.

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Category: Food & Wine

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