Local Markets in/near Seoul

fruitsticks
What a great way to sell fruit, especially on a hot summer day

fish

funghi
Some dried root and a kind of fungi

Local Markets in Korea: Suwon, not too far from Seoul (depending on traffic!) and Inheon market, close to Seoul National University.

Traveling to another part of one’s own country or to another country is a wonderful way to learn about the place, the people, the culture, the history and the cuisine—all the things that go to make up what’s special, unique or different about it, what defines its character.

seaweed
A kind of seaweed, I think
shrimp
All kinds of small dried fish
seaweedcooked
Cooked seaweed, I think

One of our favorite activities anywhere (even at home) is to visit the local market. They may be daily or weekly, indoors or outdoors, but are always brimming with activity. It’s a lot of fun to wander around and see what kinds of fresh produce the market has, what kinds of breads, cheeses, meats, fish, and flowers. Often there will be stalls with local cooked foods too, to try. Depending on the country, we may find all kinds of olives and olive oils, or different herbs and spices. It’s always a flavorful, colorful, cheerful event.

In Korea, at the Suwon Market, near the Hwaseong Palace and Gate, I loved looking at the colorful hanboks, and the lovely fresh produce. I wrote about this market before (see here https://vivskoreanadventures.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/suwon-yeongdong-market/

snails
Tiny snails
seaweedplus
In the West, we couldn’t imagine so many kinds of seaweed!

At Suwon market and at Inheon Market, close to Seoul National University, I was fascinated most of all with all the really different items that seem very “exotic” to westerners, foods that we don’t typically find in the USA or at most European markets, like silkworms.

solkworms
Cooked silkworms
spicyseafood
These skewers look really spicy
veryhot
This unknown dish looks even more spicy

Some things I don’t recognize at all and can’t even guess what they are. Others I’m pretty sure that I’m not brave enough to try! For example, the red-hot spicy foods, cooked silkworms for sale, all kinds of seaweed and various roots, fungi and herbs for Oriental-style medicine and health. Many counties in the east prize traditional medicine—it’s been around for hundreds of years, so who am I to say it doesn’t work?

 

veryhot2
And this looks even hotter! Not for me!!

Here are just a few photos we took of those different culinary and herbal delights, a big part of Korean culture I believe.

unsure
Not sure what these are—maybe sea urchins?
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Daehangno District: Murals

muralarea
Street in Ihwa Village
muralmap
Map of Iowa area
muralstreet
One of the streets with murals

(Please note, I will be away in Paris for a week or so and may not be able to post on here for a couple of weeks. My apologies)

Part 4: Murals

Behind Maronnier Park many narrow streets lead uphill to much larger Naksan Park, passing through Ihwa Village.

Ihwa Village, still very much inhabited by locals, is known for its murals, created by “Art in the City” project. The murals began to appear in 2006 as the city ministry launched a project to develop the poor neighborhood as a tourist landmark with a unique atmosphere.

 

muralintro
The first mural I saw

murals

murals2I visited some of the lower streets and the murals are really colorful and interesting. However, I also heard that many of the local residents are not at all happy with all the tourists who troop by, taking photos and making a lot of noise.

I guess that must always be a problem if public art is located in a somewhat private area.

murals3

Daehangno District. Part 2, Marronnier Park

parkentrance
A large modern sculpture greets you at the entrance to Marronnier Park
park
A pretty urban park
replica
Replica of Seoul National University campus that was on this site

Part 2 in Daehangno District, Seoul; Maronnier Park

Located on the former site of Seoul National University, Marronnier Park was opened in 1975 after the campus relocated to a new location in Gwanak and the area was redeveloped. I found a miniature replica of the university near the center of the park, which gives visitors an idea of what the area looked like before the university was moved.

edgearea copy
From one corner of the park the Daehangno Theater and Entertainment area begins
cafe
Coffee shop and street market

Marronnier Park is named after many horse chestnut trees (marronniers) growing in the park (maronniers originated from the Mediterranean). The horse chestnut tree tradition began with three trees that were left when Seoul National University moved and most of the buildings were demolished.

This small park has become the center of Daehangno. It has pretty fountains, a large children’s playground and an open-air performance stage, used by street artists and young musicians or dancers. Every week, there are various different performances, both traditional and more modern. Many restaurants, galleries, museums and theaters cluster around the park and famous Daehangno Street starts from one corner of the park.

shoes
A thriving shoes market
bikes
Bikes for rent

In the park is a coffee shop (where I stopped and it was very pleasant) and along the main street you’re very likely to see impromptu street stalls—the day I visited the park area, there was a large stall selling shoes, hundreds of shoes of all kinds, and many people were trying on shoes and buying.

You can also rent bicycles here (similar concept to the Vel’ibs in Paris), but I have to admit I would be way too afraid to try and ride in this traffic!

 

bikesign