[Jeju Travel and Food] Getting the feel for real Jeju at Dongmun Market

You arrive on Jeju Island and rain is descending from the sky. If your trip is a short one a feeling of dismay may descend as well. Yet with a positive mind an enjoyable travel experience is still there to be had come rain or even snow.

Due to Halla Mountain in the middle, the north, east, south, and west directions on Jeju lead to diverse weather patterns. The conditions could really be different depending on where you are. Prediction is not easy either.

So if it does rain during your trip and you are not sure what to do then Dongmun Market takes care of any dilemma.

Of course there are alternatives with the huge five day market in Jeju City’s Nohyeong-dong and the Olle market in Seogwipo. However, this post will deal only with Jeju City’s Dongmun Market.

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It is a market that has been around a long time. Now it is split into two main sections. You’ll find a seafood section and an everyday life section sprinkled in with ample boxes of bright Jeju produced fruit for visitors.

First of all I looked around the seafood.

Galchi (hairtail) is caught in the nearby ocean and available to buy.

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 Abalone and seashells await too.

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Jari (damselfish) is usually easy to buy unless it is off-season. Jari tastes great raw. Just slice and eat with cho gochujang (pepper paste). Alternatively have it as a cold raw fish soup. Jeju is famous for this.

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Hanchi is a small squid. By looking at the photograph you can see how different it is from other squid. Hanchi has ten legs of the same size. Squid, however, has two of the ten legs a little longer than the rest. The color and shape of head is also different.

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After sampling the seafood section I wandered east into the other section of the market for different dishes.

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You can get sundae (boiled or steamed pig intestines with filling) at Gwangmyeongsiktang as pictured below.

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Sarangbunsik is another famous place with so many people waiting to try ddeokbeokki (soft rice cake in chili sauce). I really wanted to eat it for a while, but in the end I gave up as the queue was too long.

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In the end I found a grandmother making bingddeok all by herself. For some it might be a mild and bland traditional Jeju food, yet there is something very refreshing about munching on one or two.

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This entrance is near Dongmun Rotary. It is a place another grandmother sells hoddeok (sweet tasting pancake) and odeng (processed seafood product). Her hoddeok is more popular. Many people consider it an essential stop.

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Dongmun Market lies relatively close to the international cruise terminal meaning many foreigners come here. The market retains a sense of real Jeju while catering for those who want to eat or buy.

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It is a place to observe the hustle and bustle of Jeju life as it naturally happens.

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*****

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