Markets are an important part of every city in Korea, and are great places to go if you want to try the local produce and taste some delicious street food. Dongmun Market is Jeju Island’s oldest market, and one of the biggest. It is open 6 days a week, closed on Sundays, and is located in Tapdong in Jeju City, about 20 minutes from the airport by bus – so it’s a good place to pick up some last-minute souvenirs. But mostly it’s a great place to soak up the busy market atmosphere and experience what a traditional Korean market is like.
One of the many pleasures of Korean markets is walking around trying the street food on offer. A favourite of mine is hotteok, a fried pancake with a sweet filling. There are a few fillings to choose, the most common being brown sugar and cinnamon, but in Dongmun there are green tea and tangerine options available too. One pancake costs about 500 Won (around 30p). So cheap! Other popular market foods are tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) with fishcakes or steamed dumplings.
The market contains everything from fresh food and snacks to clothes and furniture, but its speciality is fresh seafood. You can find a huge variety of seafood, everything from shellfish and eels to octopus. If you fancy tasting some, you can take your freshly purchased seafood into one of the small restaurants tucked behind the stalls and have them prepare it for you with lots of banchan (side dishes).
Of course, being in Jeju there are many stalls dedicated to selling the famous Jeju tangerines. There are lots of varieties to try and in many different forms. Popular choices are the flavoured cakes and Hallabong drinks. There are many Jeju trinkets you can pick up here too, most notably miniature versions of Jeju’s iconic stone statues – they make for good gifts for friends and family.
Dongmun market is one the most popular on the island so it is a must-visit, especially on the weekend if you like that busy market atmosphere. However, there are a few really great markets dotted around the island. The 5-day market in Jeju City is the biggest in Jeju, and is open every date ending in 2nd or 7th. There are stalls selling anything you can think of and it offers an abundance of street food too. It is well worth a visit if you can make it. Another one to check out is Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market. The stalls here have a more traditional atmosphere and there’s a stage where they host musical performances as well. Definitely make a market-visit part of your trip to Jeju, there’s something to try for everybody and you can pick up a lovely souvenir to remind you of your time here.
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