A short walk from Seoul Station lies Namdaemun, the Great South Gate of Seoul, South Korea. Originally constructed in 1398, Namdaemun was one of eight majestic gates in the Fortress Wall of Seoul which surrounded the city during the Joseon Dynasty. Namdaemun was reconstructed in 1447, and significantly refurbished in 2008 after a devastating fire.
The Great South Gate is interesting. For this food traveler, however, the real intrigue lies just beyond the gate. Walk just a bit further, and you’ll arrive at the marvel that is Namdaemun Market. This center of sensory overload has been welcoming shoppers for over 600 years. Open since 1414, Namdaemun Market has survived challenges ranging from colonialism, war, and a series of fires. A true cultural gem, Namdaemun Market is difficult to capture in photographs. Try to imagine the scents and sounds surrounding these images:
Left: Ginkgo biloba root preserved in jars
Steam obscures the image of this boiled pig head
Sweets abound at Namdaemun Market
Close your eyes and smell the pungent spices!
Crab is prepared many different ways in Korean cuisine – yum!
Garlic and other interesting ingredients
Shoppers who find themselves hungry will find no shortage of prepared food vendors at Namdaemun Market. We’ll explore some of our most amazing Korean street food finds next time on Crowded Earth Kitchen, but for now here’s a sneak peek:
The world is small – have big fun!