South Korea // Gyeongsang //

Jagalchi fish market

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Every single person in Korea knows about Jagalchi (자갈치 시장), the largest and most popular fish market in the country. It has been used as a set in numerous movies and dramas, and is atmospheric in a wonderfully salty kind of way. Mid-October is the best time to visit, since this is when the Jagalchi festival is held, offering a rare shot at hands-on fish preparation and a whole slew of freebies to munch.

Most of the dishes here will be utterly confusing to the average Westerner; easiest on both brain and palate are the fried slabs of tuna (참치; chamchi) served at the outdoor stalls. The truly brave should make their way to the large indoor market for some raw seafood action. Its ground floor, swimming with seawater, is a truly hectic place full of tanks and baskets and thousands of fish. This is a place for buying, not eating, but whatever you purchase can be prepared (for a fee, of course) by chefs on the restaurant-like upstairs floor; alternatively, you can order a mixed set for around W15,000 per person. Here are few of the items you may well see on your plate, both in Jagalchi and at harbours, beaches and fish markets around the land:

Chamchi 참치 Tuna

Gaebul 개불 Sea worm

Galchi 갈치 Hairtail

Godeungeo 고등어 Mackerel

Gwang-eo 광어 Flatfish

Hoe-deop-bap 회덮밥 Sashimi on rice

Jangeo 장어 Eel

Kijogae 키조개 Pen shell

Meongge 멍게 Sea squirt

Ojingeo 오징어 Squid

Sannakji 산낙지 Baby octopus

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