Exploring Korea: Jagalchi Market, Gujke Market & BIFF Square

It felt to surreal while I was walking down the street with my parents to Jagalchi Market. It felt kind of familiar and new at the same time. Everything reminded me of Japan but of course the Korean characters and the locals speaking Korean quickly brought me back to reality. 

I found it funny how I could already spot a 노래방 (Noraebang - Karaoke Room). 

Jagalchi Market was not that hard to find. We used the subway to get there and although we did get off on the wrong stop (my fault haha), we did manage to find the actual market without any hassle.

On the way to Jagalchi Market you can see a number of different stores and restaurants. The stores will usually ignore you especially if they can see you're a foreigner. They probably already know we're just there for pictures. haha

The only people who will stop you are the restaurant owners. You can usually tell they're restaurants as they have large aquariums with fresh seafood outside and they will have people calling out to people passing by while holding out their menus and trying to get you to come in and eat. They can be very pushy. 

This lady in particular was very pushy. But I liked how she surprised me with a giant crab which was bigger than my hand. It was so spiky and still dripping wet that my sweater got soaked. TwT

Most of the restaurants will even hand out a business card to you. It's all usually in Korean but it's a nice souvenir(?).

Finally, Jagalchi Market. Jagalchi Market is in actuality, a giant building. The first floor is where you can go around and check out all the fresh seafood on sale. On the second floor, there are restaurants and little stores which sell a number of different things like dried seaweed, dried squid, and dried fish to name a few.

There are some stores outside as well, so I suggest you walk around and take a look before entering the building. There is literally so much to see. 


Below is what the inside of Jagalchi Market looks like. 

If you plan to have a meal while you're at Jagalchi Market, be sure to purchase your seafood from the 1st floor and bring it up with you to the 2nd floor. You can ask the people at the restaurants to prepare them for you. It is supposedly cheaper this way but if you are a clueless traveller me, then you probably wouldn't even know how to ask them to prepare it. 

Instead, my parents and I just opted for something on the menu. 

As with other restaurants, the people can be a little rude pushy as well. Ignore them and take your time and walk around before making a decision.

Our next stop was Gukje Market. You're supposed to be able to just walk there from Jagalchi Market. So, with the help of Google Maps (this thing is a lifesaver), we walked on over to Gukje Market. On the way, we passed by BIFF Square, which was also another place we wanted to visit.

It was a Sunday and the streets were pretty packed and bustling with people and stalls. They even had a whole alley set up for little food stalls like the one above. 

Unfortunately, I didn't take many pictures of Gukje Market. If you're Malaysian, think of Gukje Market as the Petaling Street or Chinatown of Busan. They sell everything there. Mostly fake products of course, but if you're looking for cheap bags or souvenirs then head over to Gukje Market and get lost among the stores.

Moving on to BIFF Square. Just like Gukje Market, I didn't manage to take pictures of the area as they are just stores. Walking down the streets you will pass a number of cosmetic and beauty stores like Innisfree, Etude House, Nature Republic, and more. They're everywhere. So even if you don't purchase them right away, you can still purchase them elsewhere (even in the subway!).

The most notable thing about BIFF Square, however, is their little street food stalls. They are all selling different things, from fried chicken to ice cream. It's best to come here during lunchtime while you're good and hungry. Then you can just chill along the side of the road finish your food and head out to find other things to eat. 

My favourite is definitely the Ho-ddeok. As the nuts are mixed with honey it can be a little too sweet for some people. 

I'll cover some other Korean snacks we tried in another post. :)

Overall, if you only have a short time in Busan like we did, I would recommend you stop by these places especially if you love shopping and street food. However, if you are planning on going shopping in Seoul then I suggest you skip Gukje Market.


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