Namdaemun Market (남대문시장) & Namdaemun Kalguksu Alley (남대문 칼국수골목)

Friday, 19 February 2016



Namdaemun Market (남대문시장) is known as the oldest and largest traditional market in Korea. It sells many items at affordable prices, such as jewellery, clothing, ginseng, and imported goods. In fact, Namdaemun Market was where we bought all our ginseng products for our family as souvenirs.







Though not as extensive as Myeongdong or any of the university neighbourhoods, Namdaemun Market also sells very yummy street food. We bought a tteok hot bar (떡핫바); and fishcake (omuk 어묵) as a snack before dinner. Honestly, I think omuk is one of the best Korean street foods—especially on cold days because the broth is hot and super warming to the body.



After walking around for a bit, we decided to have dinner at the Namdaemun Kalguksu Alley (남대문 칼국수골목), which was located in the market itself. When looking for directions to this Alley, Visit Seoul instructs you to find Gate 6, but it's actually Gate 5, and conveniently from Exit 5 of Hoehyeon Station (회현역). You only need to walk down for about 20m from Gate 5 and the entrance is a clear door to your left. It's easy to overlook (like we did a couple of times), but if you're in need any help, just look for the tourist guides in red.





Upon entering, be prepared to feel like the most popular person ever because ahjummas will be calling for you from all corners of the alley to eat at their store. One ahjumma even tried grabbed me by the arm because she was so eager for a customer! Flustered, I kindly refused (because we still wanted to walk into the alley) and eventually chose a store towards the end of the alley on the left. (Talk about decisions!)



We each ordered a bowl of rice and barley with vegetables (boribap 보리밥) and a bowl of noodles (kalguksu 칼국수) each. But those two dishes also came with "side dishes" of cold and spicy mixed noodles (bibim naengmyeon 비빔냉면) and soy bean paste soup (doenjangguk 된장국), so it was basically 4 dishes each! We were stuffed by the end of the meal and it only cost us 16,500 won in total, which is about about AUD$20! It was definitely the cheapest meal we had in Seoul (not including the street food).









Finally, we completed our trip to Namdaemun Market by checking out Sungnyemun Gate (숭례문), Korea's National Treasure No. 1 and one of the remaining gates in the Fortress Wall of Seoul. Sungnyemun Gate looks best in the evening, so I suggest going after dinner or some time during the evening.



Namdaemun Market (남대문시장)
21 Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
서울 중구 남대문시장4길 21

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