Jagalchi, Busan

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After spending much time in Seoul, I made my way to Busan, a city to the South East of South Korea known for its many beaches. There, I stayed with an American couple who highly recommended the Jagalchi area.

Exiting the metro station, I walked around the area until my steps led me to the largest fish market of Korea. One look at the place and I knew it would become one of my favorite spots in Busan. I loved the fish market, the surrounding traditional market and the street foods. I loved the relative chaos and liveliness of it all.

As I crossed into the concrete building, I was awed by the amount of stalls and fishes. I slowly walked the main aisle, taking in my surroundings. I looked around with a curiosity, not unlike the one of a child, born out of the novelty and the “largeness”. I had seen fish markets in Vancouver that had appear large to me at the time, but this was unlike anything I had ever seen. Especially for fish, when in all honesty, fish are not that popular of an item back home.

I ventured further, sidestepping the water puddles on the ground and drawn by the diversity of fishes offered. Some of which I had never seen in my life. I saw live squids to other unknown specimen, among which one more notable than the others reminded me of a heart, as in the actual organ.

Atop the indoor market area, on the second floor, you will find a restaurant. To my regret, I haven’t tried personally. However, I was told you could pick your catch at the market and have it prepared and served to you in the restaurant.

Surrounding this concrete structure, and really spreading as far as you can see along the coast, is an open air market. There, and I did do a double-take upon seeing it, I saw fresh water turtles swimming in a tank. While I did know they were edible, I was troubled none the less by the sight.

As you venture deeper in the market, and away from the sea, the wares diversify quite a bit until finally the market really looks like any other traditional market.

It is there in that market that I tasted for the first time a Korean sweet called hotteok, a sort of pancake filled with nuts, cinnamon and sugar. It is also by the sea that I tried an abalone and rice porridge.

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