If you're planning to travel to Seoul
, apart from visiting all the amazing sights and spots, one thing you cannot miss out on is some incredible shopping experiences. We're talking budget shopping in Seoul
in particular because it is one of the best places to find amazing deals and discounts on all kinds of things in South Korea.
Another thing that you cannot miss is the well-known night markets in Seoul; they combine the elements of Korean culture, cheap shopping, and some incredible street food
, what more could one ask for! So, make a list of Seoul's to local markets to visit when you're there.
We'll start you off with this list of 5 of the best night markets to visit in Seoul!
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1) Dongdaemun Night Market
Picture Credit - www.kimcheeguesthouse.com
As one of Seoul's most famous shopping districts, there's no doubt that this is one of the night markets in Seoul you should go to. The streets are filled with bright neon lights, Korean labels, and people everywhere! And for good reason, because there's no chance you're leaving Dongdaemun empty-handed! From babies to elders, from ridiculously affordable clothes, shoes, accessories, to toys, stationery and so much more, Dongdaemun's yellow-tented open night market has something for everyone.
If you're feeling hungry, you can stop by at one of the many grilled fish restaurants lining the alley for a scrumptious meal of seafood and unlimited banchan (small dishes of food served with rice). Or you can pick up a hotteok (a popular Korean street doughnut made from rice flour and filled with sugar, cinnamon, and peanuts), or a gyeran bbang (egg bread) from one of the street food stalls. Keep in mind, though, that none of these is Halal-certified. It would be ideal if you could learn a few phrases in Korean to ask the vendors if there is meat/alcohol in the food.
2) Namdaemun Night Market
Picture Credit - www.english.visitkorea.or.kr
is probably the most famous night market in Seoul, starting up at 10 pm and running until 5 in the morning. The best time to visit would probably be after midnight if you want to avoid the busiest of times, which is when it opens. Get your wallets ready, because this is one of the best places budget shopping in Seoul (paying with cash will get you better discounts). This open-air market has vendors selling all kind of stuff from ginseng to electronics. Don't be afraid to haggle; in fact, it's expected!
Shopping in Seoul's night markets can be exhausting (but definitely fun and exciting), so you're bound to get hungry. You might not have too many Halal food options but there are at least a few places where you can stop by to have some delicious food, like a Halal food chain selling kebabs and another selling shawarmas. Sounds good enough to me!
3) Myeongdong Shopping District
Picture Credit - www.korea.net
If you ask a Korean which places to go during your travel to Seoul, this would definitely be one name to pop up, especially for clothes and cosmetics shopping in Seoul. Myeongdong
is one of the top traditional markets in Seoul, transforming into one of Seoul's most popular street markets at night. Vendors bring tents and stalls out onto the street, setting them up with all kinds of nicks and knacks. You can also find many shops selling high-end brands like Uniqlo, Bulgari, Polo, Ralph Lauren, etc. Cosmetics
are another thing you'll find plenty of, and you'll probably snatch a few free samples handed out outside the store even if you don't buy anything!
If you're looking for Halal food in Seoul, you can find a few restaurants with the Halal sign just a few steps away from the main Myeongdong area. You can find a few Iranian, Middle Eastern and Indian restaurants to fill your bellies.
4) Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market
Picture Credit - www.jacksonhung.ca
Apart from being one of the largest wholesale seafood suppliers in the city, this traditional market in Seoul also sees many “regular” people. Although it's open all day long, it's famous as a night market in Seoul, especially among workers.
You can find just about any kind of seafood here: prawns, squid, crab, and even some creatures you might not have heard of, like sea cucumbers! The best part is that once you pick out your seafood, the vendors then cut it up and take you down a back alley into a restaurant. Here, you can either have the freshly cut seafood raw or ask to have it cooked. They also have a bunch of side dishes and beverages, which you can also pay for. But be careful to ask if they contain any alcohol or meat. Or just bag the seafood up and take it home!
5) Gwangjang Market
Picture Credit - www.migrationology.com
Having been established in 1905, Gwangjang Market is the oldest well-known night market in Seoul that runs all year long. It is a traditional market in Seoul that specializes in fabrics and textiles. Get your own custom-made hanbok (a traditional Korean dress), or pick up some Korean silk or cotton for your loved ones back home. The awesome thing about this market is that it has stood the test of time, and still remains true to its roots as it did more than 100 years ago.
Although textiles are the main feature of this top street market in Seoul, it shares the title with food. Unfortunately, as Muslims, there's not a lot that we can eat as most foods contain pork or non-Halal meat. But don't let that deter you. Walking around, you are sure to find a few vendors selling vegetarian versions of bibimbap (rice bowl with vegetables, egg and seafood or meat), hotteok, and juk (warm porridge made from pumpkin, red bean, or mung bean).
You can also find some Muslim-friendly traditional Korean toast (eggs and veg), and don't miss out on the mayak kimbap (aka addictive kimbap, named so because it'll keep you coming back for more!). However, look for stalls that sell only the kimbap as many do sell it along with things like blood sausage. As always, be cautious and avoid questionable meats/food, and be sure to ask the kind old ladies cooking the food (ahjummas) about the ingredients and how the food is prepared.