Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jukdo Market

Pohang is home to The Jukdo market, a huge traditional opened-air fish market. However, there is much, much more than fish in this market. Many of the things you find are common to Korea, but are also the likes of nothing I've ever seen in a fish market in the U.S. Even at Pike Place, Seattle! Below, I have quoted from the official city website:

"The Jukdo Market in Pohang was created after road merchants started to sell products at the swamp of the inner harbor in Pohang 50 years ago. In October 1969, the Merchant Group of the Jukdo Market was officially established, and the current number of stores is about 1,200. The market is the largest traditional market on the east coast of Gyeongsangbuk-do [my province].
The Jukdo Fish Market exists 500m east of the center of Pohang. About 200 raw fish restaurants are concentrated inside of the marine product stores, and fresh raw fish from the east coast can be purchased at low prices in any season. If you pay for sauces, you can eat raw fish right there at a store. In winter, you can enjoy fermented fish, which is a fish famous in Pohang."

I have walked through the market countless times since my arrival in Pohang, often just to get some fresh local produce or hot fried Korean pancakes (pajeon) from a food cart. It's pretty centrally located, near my bank and the main downtown shopping area where I often wander on weekends, so it's often on my way. I always forget to bring my camera though, and there is so much to see! Yesterday, I grabbed my camera and set out with a purpose! I mostly focused on the fish section, but it goes on for blocks and blocks--live seafood, vegetables, fruits, plants, clothing, bedding, shoes, toys, woodcarvings, housewares, jewelry--everything! And as far as the food goes, it is so cheap! On this visit, I bought a huge bag of mushrooms for about $3, the equivalent of which might be $20 or more at the grocery store.

At markets in Korea, you can't really buy just a few of anything, at least when it comes to produce. There's a weekly market near my apartment that I frequent. The first time I went there, shortly after arriving in Korea, I tried to buy just one apple, and the vendor wasn't having it . She kept gesturing that I choose more, and even after I had taken three, she placed another three in my bag. She looked like she would keep piling them in until I finally smiled and flailed and said "that's good! That's good!" She seemed to laugh at me, and said something in Korean. For all of those apples, I think it was also only about $3. I think I ended up taking them to work to share.

Another nice thing about it is that often, vendors give buyers "service" or free items with their purchases. This actually happens a lot in Korea, everywhere you go. Restaurants, small retail establishments, food carts, even in convenience stores! I'm told it's how they thank you for patronizing their establishment. Talk about customer appreciation!

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous pictures! And there's nothing more fun than the market. =)