Han River and Noryangin Fish Market

  “The Han River is a major river in South Korea and the fourth longest river on the Korean peninsula after the Amnok (Yalu), Duman, and Nakdong rivers.[1]Along the banks of the river, especially in Seoul, pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths are available on both sides of the river. In the Han River Park, the Han River Business Division lends to citizens with 1-seater and two-seater bikes for rent at affordable prices. Various restaurants and cafes are located on these paths. While most bridges crossing the Han are for motor vehicles or subways only, citizens may cross select bridges on foot or by bicycle.” –Wikepedia

Sunday May 12th was a beautiful Day in Seoul!  We decided to make our way from Itaewon to the Han River.  The walk from the main street of Itaewonto the Han river takes about twenty minutes.  Through the winding roads you can appreciate all of Itaewon’s charm and diversity from it’s artist districts to the flea market area.  Once you get to the river you must walk up about five flights of stairs to cross the river.  Pedestrians be warned, the walk across the river is on a very busy highway, however, there are Pedestrian pathways, though with relatively tiny guardrails. 
            Once you arrive at the south side there are beautiful parks.  On this particular Sunday there were hundreds of people set up along the river enjoying picnics and the beautiful day.  There is also  a beautiful bike trail along the river where people of all biking abilities can enjoy a ride.  There are several places where one can rent a bike here. 

            After enjoying the river and parks along the Han, Thaddeus and I decided to walk along the river and make our way to Noryangjin fish market.  (There is a pedestrian walking path next to the bike trail.)

            The Noryangin fish market is a wholesale and retail fish market as well as an auction house. It is located in the Noryangjin-dong Neighborhood in Dongjak-gu just south of the Han- River.   The Noryangin station on Metro Line one is right near the market.  Take exit 1 and walk under the bridge to find it.  The market is open 24 hours a day!
            The fish market is a bustling place! It is estimated that 30,000 customers pass through the fish market every day!  There are over 4,000 employees that work at the market.
  Unlike the flower market your nose cannot lead you here.  The fish is so fresh that when you enter the building there is barely any odor of seafood.   Many of the fish are still alive!  It is like a delicious aquarium.
            There is a huge variety of fish and seafood at the market.  One of the main retail things they sell is hoe, which is more commonly known by the Japanese word sashimi or raw fish.   Restaurants line the market and will prepare your hoe or other seafood for a small service charge.  There are several small differences between hoe and sashimi.  Hoe is eaten immediately after being prepared while sashimi is generally placed on ice for several hours.  Korean hoe is generally more white fish where in Japan sashimi consists more of soft red and fatty fish.  Hoe is often also dipped in chogochujang which is a red chili pepper paste.
            Some seafood that is offered at the fish market includes scallops, clams, squid, oysters, conch, sea squirt, spoon worms, crabs of all sizes,  prawns, lobsters and much more! It is true that Koreans do sometimes eat octopus live.  In many movies it is depicted as people eating a HUGE octopus but when this practice does happen the typical octopus are very small.  Eating live moving octopus is called sannakjii.  It is more common for the octopus to be cut up when eaten raw.
            Once you select the fish you’d like you can haggle with the shop owners for a good price.  This can be difficult if you do not speak Korean.  They will prepare your hoe for you right in front of you.  Once you have your hoe you can select a restaurant, which is located on the upper level of the fish market, to sit and enjoy your meal.  If you do not know where to eat, the fish sales person can recommend a restaurant to you. 
            Once at a restaurant they will prepare your hoe how you would like it.   You can eat it raw, cooked, in a soup or in many other ways. The restaurants are clean and provide rice, sauces, marinades, soy leaves, lettuce and other vegetables to eat with your fish.  It will generally cost $3.00-5.00 per person to eat at the restaurant in addition to your fish purchase.
            Thaddeus and I purchased a huge array of hoe that in total cost us $10.00!  Because there are now so many tourists that attend the fish market they also offer hoe that has been previously cut up and is ready to be consumed.  I do recommend however having the experience of picking your fish and watching a fisherman prepare it in front of you!
            You can also request maeuntang from the restaurant.  This is a spicy stew that uses the leftover parts of the fish that are not eaten as hoe.   If you are in Seoul and are a seafood lover or just like aquariums I would definitely recommend a trip to check out this great Fish Market!

Fish by the Season Taken from www.visitseoul.net

 No matter what time of the year you go to Noryangjin Fish Market, there is always an abundant amount of marine produce, but the varieties of produce available may vary by season.
 In the winter, flathead mullet (숭어), yellowtail (방어), Spanish mackerel (삼치), chambok (참복), halibut (넙치), octopus (참문어), and snow crabs (대게) are in season.   
 In the spring, flounder (가자미), Spanish mackerel (삼치), black sea bream (감성돔), snapper (참돔), parrot fish (돌돔), hakkkongchi (학꽁치), chammuneo (참문어), and prawns (보리새우) are in season.
 In the summer, eel (붕장어), hwangdom (황돔), bass (농어), parrot fish (돌돔), grouper (능성어), filefish (말쥐치), and abalone (전복) are in season.
 In the fall, dotted gizzard shad (전어), mackerel (고등어), skate (홍어), filefish (말쥐치), sil squid (실오징어), and small octopus (낙지) are in season. 
 When Koreans eat various types of raw fish in one meal, they usually start with the fish with white flesh first (e.g. halibut, parrot fish, seabass) and then finish off with the fish with red flesh (e.g. yellowtail, tuna, mackerel).


I've been living abroad for a decade now! My travels have lead me to visit over 80 countries, marry a fellow globetrotter, and reside in 8 countries in four different continents. I am currently based in Brussels, Belgium! Join me as I focus on sustainable budget friendly travel and giving back while living abroad!