The Korea Herald


[Eye Plus] Dried fish market, Korean style

By Claire Lee

Published : July 19, 2018 - 16:29

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Seaweed, anchovies, squid and pollock, you name it -- it’s rare to see so many fish all at once, especially all in their dried forms. 

Seoul’s Chungbu Market is a rare spot for locals and visitors alike to experience what Korea has to offer when it comes to dried seafood. All sorts of dried seafood ae available at prices 20 to 30 percent less than most other stores in the nation’s capital. 

Drying as a method of fish preservation, which works by removing the water and then hanging it to dry in the sun and sea breeze, has existed in Korea since the 10th century. 

Among the most famous Korean dried fish dishes is gulbi, a yellow corbina known for its firm texture and rich taste when roasted or grilled. Some of the best gulbi, along with other dried fish, can be found in the market in central Seoul.

Historians say the market had its heyday in the 1980s, when gulbi was one of the most sought-after foods following a nationwide trend that celebrated the country’s traditional dishes. 

The market isn’t as popular nowadays, but it still houses some 1,000 stores inside, each specializing in an item or two. Some of the most common items are dried anchovies and seaweed, which continue to be very popular ingredients for everyday side dishes for modern Korean families. 

The market opens at 9 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. on weekdays. For more information, call (02) 2268-1855.

Photos by Park Hyun-koo
Written by Claire Lee