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South Korea: Noryangjin Fish Market

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Noryangjin Fish Market | South Korea | Asia

[Visited: November 2008]

When I got off at Noryangjin station, I was not immediately sure where to go. It did not seem likely that there would be a large fish market on the street side of the station, so I decided to cross the bridge over the railway tracks. And indeed, when I approached the building on the other side, which seemed like an enormous concrete car park, I smelled the distinct flavour of fish. Strangely enough, I did not notice the smell after that. When I entered the building, I looked down at the bustling and enormous fish market of Noryangjin.

Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Noryangjin fish market seen from above

I came down the stairs, and stopped at the very first stall. What diversity of seafood! In fact, this market offers much more than just fish in various sizes and sorts: you can find clams, crabs, prawns, sea cucumbers, and many, many other creatures from the sea. It would even be more appropriate to call it a seafood market, as there is a relatively small amount of especially bigger fish for sale. Yes, I did see stingrays, small sharks, and salmon, but most of what is on offer is actually pretty small. Tanks full of baby octopus, a delicacy when eaten alive in Korea, squid, anchovies, mackerel, lobster, ribbonfish, and all kinds of crab.

Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Seafood on display at one of the hundreds of stalls at Noryangjin fish market

Most of the creatures are kept alive in small water tanks or simple buckets, with a tube administering oxygen to the doomed animals. You can often buy transparent plastic bags with the sea animals inside, guaranteeing a meal with very fresh fish indeed. But you can also find fish sliced in two, fish with their intestines lying on their side, or seasoned seafood on a skewer. Then there are stalls with fish neatly stacked, arranged in piles, as if to decorate the stall. Originally established in 1927 as Gyeongseong Susan, it moved to its current location in 1971. On the second floor is the auction area, as well as restaurants serving, well... seafood. Fresh, very fresh.

Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Business going on at the Noryangjin fish market
Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Small sharks for sale in Noryangjin fish market
Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Stingrays neatly exposed at a stall in Noryangjin fish market
Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Octopus in whole or just tentacles
Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Octopus in buckets filled with water
Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Specializing in crab: stall in Noryangjin fish market
Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Close-up of fish in a water tank
Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Long silver ribbonfish on display at Noryangjin fish market
Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Stacks of fish for sale at Noryangjin fish market
Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): View from above of a stall in Noryangjin fish market
Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Taking out a fish from one of the reservoirs
Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Giant squid, salmon, and other fish and seafood for sale
Picture of Noryangjin Fish Market (South Korea): Typical stall with a choice of sea creatures for consumption

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