Korea – Fish Market & Seafood Dinner in Korea

by Mijune on May 7, 2010 · 38 comments

in Asia,authentic,Best Foodie Moments,Korea,Korean,sashimi,Seafood,Videos,visual blog

Post image for Korea – Fish Market & Seafood Dinner in Korea

Restaurant: Fish Market & Seafood Dinner in Korea
Cuisine: Korean/Seafood
Last visited: April 7, 2010
Location: Seoul, Korea
Address: Fish Market
Price Range: Varies – Market price

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: n/a
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 6
Overall: 5
Additional comments:

  • Seafood only
  • Relatively inexpensive fresh seafood
  • Very fresh
  • Take home, or eat at restaurant in market
  • Tons of options
  • Prices vary daily
  • Self selection
  • Me eating LIVE octopus video

**Recommendations: Live octopus, sashimi

Welcome to the fish market in Korea! This is definitely a must try when you’re in Korea especially if you’re a seafood lover. If you’re not, it’s still an nice place to visit because it is still a tourist attraction and local favourite.

This is the “stock market” of seafood and it’s the place to get the freshest seafood.

It’s stall after stall of freshly caught seafood and you can bargain with the vendors.

You select what you want and the prices vary from vendor to vendor. I had the benefit of being with locals so I was lucky to have them do all the communicating and “business deals”. Prices also depend on market prices and what’s available that day… but you can ALWAYS bargain here.

This is the fisherman hacking away at the fish we ordered. He beat it with his stick while it was flopping around on the floor. It’s maybe not the most sanitary place or ethical place for seafood, but it’s a different culture and environment entirely.

He got it!

It was pretty horrid after seeing it whacked on the floor and knowing that this was my sashimi. :(

How much fresher can you get?! He cuts the sashimi immediately and that was the same fish I was holding.

This is what I came to try! The famous LIVE octopus. It’s a delicacy in Korea and found at the fish market.

Okay… so it’s not kind of scary… it’s really scary. The octopus suctions onto her hands and she doesn’t even have to hold on to it. The tentacles just start flailing around like mad and reaching out to you. It looks like a giant spider and it’s really fast too!

Even upside down it still moves like crazy. We bought a slightly smaller version of him because it was only 3 of us eating. They vary in size.

After you pick all the seafood you bring it into one of the restaurants located inside the fish market. You can bring it home to cook yourself or have it there. We ate at this one.

It was super busy and it was already 9pm or so. The restaurants are all really casual with plastic tablecloths. Besides paying for the seafood you purchased at the market you have to pay a service charge at the restaurant which includes the preparation of the food you bought.

They also serve rice, noodles, wine and other things for purchase to serve with or along side your seafood.

On the table:

The traditional Korean condiments for seafood. A sweet and spicy soy bean paste sauce, lettuce (Koreans make salad wraps out of everything), chillies, garlic, and some wasabi for the sashimi.

I think this was a fermented plum wine. It was very sweet and very strong.

BBQ Prawns - 3/6

  • It wasn’t necessarily the best tasting prawns ever, but it was fresh, cheap and simply grilled.


  • I’m not even sure what kind of fish this was. My friends did the ordering.
  • This was the same fish I was holding in the picture above. It can’t get any fresher than this!

  • Besides eating it alone or with wasabi it’s common to use the sashimi and make lettuce wraps with them. This is common in Korea and lettuce almost serves as a condiment.
  • I topped it off with that fermented soybean chili sauce. Love that stuff! It’s very salty and more sweet than it is spicy.

**Live Octopus - 2/6

  • This was the whole reason I wanted to visit the fish market! I had to try the traditional Korean delicacy – LIVE octopus!
  • They cut up the tentacles but the octopus doesn’t die. The nerves are still active so when they serve it the octopus more or less squirms and crawls off your plate.
  • We had to collect them with our chopsticks and toss them back on the plate.
  • They eventually slow down after 20 minutes or even longer sometimes.
  • It’s definitely acquired. It actually doesn’t have much flavour, but it sure has texture.
  • It’s super slimy and chewy and the tentacles stick to your tongue, lips, chopsticks and basically anything it can grasp onto.
  • Before you eat it you can dip it in this salty sauce it’s served with. It’s almost pure salt with a little soy so a little goes a long way.
  • It’s important to chew the crap out of them because the tentacles stick like crazy and people have died from it… rare case, but it’s happened before.

Follow Me Foodie Videos

  • Video of live octopus rolling around in sauce… on its own – WATCH!
  • Video of me eating live octopus – WATCH!
  • Video of me eating the live octopus head – WATCH!

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Victoria May 7, 2010 at 10:19 am

Wow, good for you for giving the octopus head a try too! I’m not sure I’d be able to do that – especially after I was just diving with them a couple of weeks ago!

2 Daniel S. May 7, 2010 at 10:37 am

Awesome! Love the pictures! We have live octopus at several restaurants in LA and I have yet to try it. I hear that the sauce actually helps with preventing choking. Yep jinro is really sweet. Welcome back :)

3 John May 7, 2010 at 12:58 pm

This place looks awesome! I’m gonna try to check it out next time I’m in Seoul. Don’t think I’m brave enough for the live octopus though

4 KimHo May 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Well, Mijune, you outdid yourself with this one! So, what is next? Balut? :)

5 laura May 7, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Wow! The head!!!!

6 Mijune May 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Victoria – lol aren’t they a bit scary?! It was like a giant jelly spider!! They were like worms crawling off my plate!!! With my support you could do it :)

Daniel – thank you!!! Oh yeah LA has a HUGE Korean market! You havta try it…but the money is more for the experience for me…b/c it doesn’t have much flavour….I can see how the salt may help…maybe to “kill” it a bit?

John – you’re brave enough…u have to! It’s “the thing” to try! Sometimes they put the tentacle right into your mouth and cut it right from the octopus they’re holding….that’s pretty gross

Kim – I actually want to try Balut…I need to go to Filipino event…or Vietnamese.

7 Elsa May 8, 2010 at 10:01 am

Love your video~and really enjoyed it~

8 James May 8, 2010 at 11:22 am

It was fun watching you eat. Hope you have more videos of your trip.

9 Kevin May 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm

You are luckkkky. I’ve been wanting to try this f

10 Kevin May 8, 2010 at 5:07 pm

You are luckkkky. I’ve been wanting to try live octopous for a longggggg time.
Unfortunately, I won’t be anywhere near Korea when I go to Asia.. :( I may try balut in Philippines though!

11 Jonathan May 9, 2010 at 4:45 pm

wow, great post!! impressive feat, i might be too wimpy for live octopus. especially the head. yikes.

12 Mijune May 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Thanks everyone! There are many more videos throughout my Asia trip so make you you subscribe to my youtube channel to keep up to date…there’s some really good videos to be posted!

Kevin – try the balut! I was in Cebu in the Philippines and had sea urchins picked right from the waters, opened on the spot and eaten raw right away! So good! (Be prepared and bring a tube of wasabi w/u…we did :)…raw food literally at your hands lol)

13 Elaine May 9, 2010 at 10:38 pm

You are one crazy foodie! Someone should give you your own food-travel show STAT! :)

14 Mijune May 11, 2010 at 11:30 am

Elaine – lol!! Thanks! Wait till you see the other videos then…it gets more exciting! ;)

15 Katy May 18, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Ooh where is this fish market? I’m going to Korea for a week in July and want to try some of these places but have no idea where they are.

16 Mijune May 18, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Hi Katy! Yeah all the addresses are in Korean and I can’t read them either..so the best thing is to show the pictures to the hotel staff/locals and hopefully they can read it for you or put it into context. I’m so sorry about not having the address, but I tried taking photos of the outside of the restaurant and what I thought was the address.

The fish market is an easy one! It’s a tourist attraction so any local will be able to point you to the right direction since it’s so famous!

17 SCPAUL November 15, 2010 at 7:15 am

Very good fish market. How could we buy yellow tail king fisk.
Best Rgds/S.C.Paul

18 Mijune November 15, 2010 at 10:31 pm

@SCPAUL – You could probably check with your local fish market? Good luck!

19 Jack Nadelle March 8, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Looks fantastic! Is there a map or address ?

20 Mijune March 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Hi Jack! Hi wish I knew, but this place is so famous that anyone will know what you’re talking about if you’re in Seoul. Try a hotel and maybe you can pull this post up and they’ll be able to recognize the photos and point you in the right direction :)

21 Jack Nadelle March 29, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Hi I just noticed you answered me. Thanks, I am planning a visit to Korea. You are very nice to respond! Thanks

22 James Melbourne June 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Check out the wiggling EEL in Busan. It’s actually cooked not raw. They skin it and cut it up and throw it on the fire. Then they put Gochjang on it. It’s served still alive and wiggling although it’s cooking.

Also you can get all kinds of raw fish. I liked the Red Snapper the most. Although the Flounder flatfish is good too.

23 Mijune June 15, 2011 at 12:42 am

@James melbourne – whoa really?! I didn’t even hear about that! I was supposed to make a day trip out to Busan, but ended up staying in Seoul. I love Gochjang… makes everything taste.

Thanks for all these tips James… now I just have to make plans to go back :)

24 Jon Phil September 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Around how much did you spend for everything? My friend and I will be heading to Seoul in a couple of months and I really want to lock down our budget :)

25 Mijune September 6, 2012 at 1:49 am

@Jon Phil – Hi Jon! Hmmm I’m actually not sure, but I know it was cheap (for North American standards). I think it was max 20USD per person for service and the seafood. The seafood is market price so that is just up to you.

26 rina September 10, 2012 at 1:18 am

hi dear where is the location of fish market?

27 Mijune September 10, 2012 at 3:46 am

Hi rina! I’m not exactly sure, but the easiest way is to show your hotel concierge the photos and I’m sure they could help point you to the right location :)

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