This past weekend, after a morning of work, a friend and I decided to pay Seomun Market a visit. Seomun is one of the many many many traditional markets in Daegu. They specialize in silk products (especially fabrics by the bolt and hanbok) and dried fish, but have many many many other products, too. The market is winding and easy to get lost in. When I think of “traditional market” this is exactly what I picture. Stalls overflowing with items to buy, strange and wonderful smells coming from street food vendors, and people crowded into tiny spaces to bargain for the best deal of the day.
The market is divided into sections loosely based on what is being sold; fabrics are in one area, seafood in another, etc. However, there are other vendors interspersed throughout.
We started with the dried fish and kitchen goods (pots, pans, dishes, etc.). There were stalls upon stalls filled with every size and type of dried fish imaginable. I think most of the dried fish is sold to be put into soups, but I’m sure the smaller ones are for snacks (probably as anju, or food to be consumed with alcohol). In addition to the fish, there are mounds of dried seaweed and kelp. Some of the packages are over 8 feet long! That is more than you or I might ever use in a lifetime, but when you live on a peninsula surrounded by the ocean, it makes sense to eat it.
After the fish/kitchen area, we headed inside to take in the sights at one of the more central market areas. Inside was filled with people eating, buying, meeting friends…the hustle and bustle of life. While there were clearly tourists at the market, on a Saturday afternoon it was mostly locals buying their groceries or running errands.
The fried bun station was one of the most popular street foods. I nearly got knocked down trying to take the picture below because someone thought I was trying to line jump. I just wanted a picture!
Seomun is known for selling pig feet, and they were everywhere. The market is set up so there are two sets of stalls, one behind another, and a central aisle. The front stalls are usually food and the back ones are dried goods. The food stalls all have very similar products in each aisle. The little benches in front of each stall were nearly all full and people seemed to be enjoying their meals. I think I’ll pass on the pig brains, but it was an exciting sight to behold.
Seomun market is a delight for all the senses (ok, sometimes the smells are a little much, but that’s part of the experience!) and I highly recommend a visit if you’re in Daegu. I love markets and my next adventure is the traditional herbal market in town. I can’t wait for next weekend’s adventures!