I went to Namsan Jungang Market on a rainy Sunday that made me think that there would be a fewer stores open and people. Fortunately, the rain stopped, and I witnessed that there’s several people beyond my expectation. The back and side streets of the market didn’t have that much but the main street and street foods queue has a lot.
Namsan jungang Market, like any Korean traditional market, has a fish, meat and vegetables stores, marts, fashion stores, Daiso, restaurants and street foods. I tried some of the street foods there listed below.
1. 호떡 (Hoddeok) – Chinese pancake
I found only two space that sell Hoddeok, and among the street foods vendor these two has a long line of people queueing. I haven’t tasted it in my entire stay here in South Korea and the number of people queue made me curious and made me want to taste it. Well, for a 1000 won you can get 2 pieces Hoddeok and the taste of it will make you want to buy more regardless of the long queue. The Hoddeok is in a circular thin shape and the it has a soft texture. It is not that sweet as you imagine, and that little sweetness in a soft texture is its mark.
2. 고기빈대떡 (Gogibindaeddeok) – Meat mung-bean pancake
This is the second time I will try this street food but with different ingredients, a meat (고기빈대떡). I was attracted by this food because on how well they cook it by flipping and making it consistent with its rounded shape. It looks so delicious with its variety of ingredients in it. While I was waiting for my order, the vendor (ahjumma) talked to me in Korean telling me that since it rained that day, a lot of people came to the market to eat this food. So, I was wrong. Raining can be not only be the reason why people will not go to the market, but it can also be the reason why people go to the market. The vendor (ahjumma), though she knew that I am foreigner and cannot speak Korean, she still spoke to me slowly in Korean smiling. This food that is freshly cooked is not deceiving. It was made and tasted deliciously.
The mung-bean pancake has also other type of different ingredients like 쪽파빈대떡 (Jjokpa Bindaeddeok – scallions), 녹도빈대떡(Nokdo Bindaeddeok) and 땡초빈대떡 (Ddaengchobindaeddeok)
3. 소떡 소떡(Soddeok) – Sausage and a rice cake
Soddeok 소떡 is a combination of a sausage (소새지) and a ddeok (rice cake). The ingredients and the way Soddeok were cooked is very simple and that simplicity made me want to buy it. Many people also were queued to buy this food pouring chili sauce above it.
4. 돼지껍데기(Dwaejikkeopdegi) – Pork Rinds