Noryangjin Fish Market (노량진 수산시장)

If you’re looking to get your hands on some of the freshest seafood in Seoul, the Noryangjin Fish Market (노량진 수산시장) won’t disappoint! Visitors interested in seafood or unique places in general will have their sights and senses thoroughly stimulated by the plethora of wondrous sea creatures available for decadent consumption.

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You can find the market by going to Noryangjin Station (노량진역) either by subway line 1 or line 9. Be aware that if you go through line 9, you will have to go towards the older line 1 from exit 2. Once you are near the exit, you will see a footbridge north with the 63 building as a guide. Simple walk across the bridge and you’ll find an entrance on the left side which leads to a staircase towards the market. Do watch out for the stairs leading to the ground level, as I almost tripped on those notorious downward sloping steps of death.

Noryangjin Map Seafood

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Cross this footbridge towards the 63 Building.
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An unassuming entrance that looks more like a bunker.

 

This place is the largest fish market in Seoul with a seemingly endless number of vendors. Upon entering, you get a bird’s eye view of more stalls than the eye can see. There are a couple of restaurants and offices on the balcony floor. There’s also a bathroom, but it’s not for the squeamish.

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I was most surprised with the lack of fishy smell. The air almost felt fresh like stepping outside on a winter day (granted it was winter) with only minor hints of fish here and there. Granted during the summer it might be a different story, but I’m pretty sure these fish mongers know what they’re doing given that they’ve been in business for over 75 years.

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There appears to be some sort of organization with the vendors by rows. The first row you encounter will be full of live seafood and fish, with the middle rows a mix of fish on ice, and the last rows filled with prepped banchan (반찬). There are some exceptions and I do recommend going through the whole market to find the more unique vendors.

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There were multiple makeshift heaters to keep everyone warm on a winter day.

Live Seafood

I was quite impressed with the live seafood. Some of the first stalls I saw were full of live king crabs, lobsters, snow crabs, clams, mollusks and fish. The king crabs alone could average 100,000 won (~100 USD). The size of the lobsters was particularly shocking as I saw a few stalls stocking lobsters much larger than the average size I would find back in the states. They were much larger than the king crabs in stock. I’m quite an animal lover and love to see large, majestic specimens, but seeing them cramped up in tanks made me a bit sad.

Noryangjin Large Lobster
The lobster in the center was especially impressive!
Noryangjin Lobster Pile Up
I felt a little sad how these gigantic lobsters were stored in such cramped conditions. Lobsters that big are actually very old.

I felt a bit bad with the way the animals get treated, but understand that it is common practice to keep the animals alive for as long as possible. Some fish were subjected to being left on the ground to suffer while the vendor and customer were haggling. Other times, vendors used hooks instead of a more effective blunt club to knock out the fish. You should be mentally prepared if you get queasy looking at live animals being butchered like I do.

Large Tuna Noryanjin
Large yellow tail tuna among halibut and another type of fish. Yellow tail seemed to be one of the more valued fish.

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These two fish were flopping around while the customer was haggling with the vendor.
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Eventually they were turned into fillets.
Noryangjin Fugu
They even had the deadly puffer fish. This stall was hidden in the back and I wonder how they deal with this fish.

Fresh Seafood

There were a lot of fresh sea creatures on ice as well. Some of the notable ones were the gigantic prawns and large octopuses.

Noryangjin Shrimp
The shrimp on the left were about average to above average for a size comparison.
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Sea snails and other mollusks.
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Massive 4-5 foot long tentacles. Probably from a large octopus or squid.

 

Noryangjin Skate 홍어
The notorious skate fish. Koreans like to ferment this fish in its own urea containing juices. The final product smells as bad as it sounds, but some love it.
Noryangjin Giant Octopus
More gigantic octopus. This one was about 3 feet long or more.
Noryanjin Giant Scallops
Oversize shucked scallops. Found these guys on the east side.
Noryangjin Sashimi
Lots of sashimi being sold.
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All sorts of prepared banchan (반찬) which was all the way in the back.
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Make sure you’re wearing something remotely waterproof in the soles.
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Cold containers in storage.

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The Noryangjin fish market is bustling with energy and amazing sights. Be sure to visit it and be careful of the delivery motorcycles that like to go through the main road. It can be quite a hectic area, but is a perfect spot for a cheap date or a good meal!

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Author: Ryan Mar

Just a guy simply making the most with life abroad. Love travel, photography, food, and just enjoying life. Currently blogging about beautiful places in Seoul, Korea, along with food, culture, and observations at findingtheseoul.com.

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