When in Seoul: Visit Gwangjang Market

I was sorting some of my stuff lying around the house when I came across a postcard of the Namsan Tower that had the most touching dedication at the back of it. Then I just realized that it has been exactly four months since our trip to Korea happened. I clearly remember that during this very moment in May, we were fixing our luggage and trying to fit our pasalubong into the boxes we got at E-mart, with Joy’s dad helping us tie the red straw around the boxes to keep them secured, even if it was way past his sleeping time. The hospitality of Koreans is just one of a kind.

Aside from posting a vlog, I haven’t really said much on the trip. I’ve always wondered how I would be able to make entries that wouldn’t be too lengthy, and now I’d thought of a way to post them in a logical manner by making a When in Korea series of sorts. Hopefully it’ll be something I’d be able to do religiously.

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I first heard of Gwangjang Market when my brother and I were watching an episode of K-Pop Star Hunt on Channel M way back last year, and the contestants were sent to a mission to visit different places in Seoul, and they were tasked to taste the different kinds of food sold at the market and to take a picture of the dish which they think is the most famous. That show was so cool, by the way, and we’ve been faithful followers of it ever since season one. I don’t think there’s anyone around me who has heard of the show (even Joy isn’t familiar with it) probably because it airs on a channel that is only provided by the cable we are subscribed to. Basically it is a talent search for people around our age (or older) who hail from different countries of Asia and are sent to Korea and are trained to be, well, K-pop stars. If there weren’t any Filipino contestants I don’t think I would have bothered watching it, haha. Season three’s auditions are ongoing and I can’t wait for the show to resume again!

I remember Joy asking me during school days what places we wanted to go to in Seoul so that she could plan our itinerary and I would always mention this place and she would respond, “What’s that?” and I would always say, “What? I saw it on TV!!” The place never rang a bell to her. She never even knew it existed… haha.

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The traditional market sold everything from fresh fish to ceramic plates. It was also hanbok heaven, as what we coined it to be as we were walking.

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Seeing products that come all the way from the Philippines literally put a smile on my face!

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But of course, we went here for what else but food. The three of us shared lunch, having a plate of drug kimbap (ever since the TV show, the ‘drug’ part of the name has always made me curious… would it be that addictive? haha), cold barley tea, kimchi pancake, and deep fried vegetables coated in batter… I think they were called yachae twigim. There are so many food stalls to choose from that serve a variety of Korean food, while some that sell the same, exact dish, so you’ll be lucky if the stall you end up sitting at serves the cheaper or more delicious one.

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When you walk out of the place a bit, you get to see Cheonggyecheon. The water was so clear that you can see fish and ducks swimming. We crossed the stream to get to the nearby establishments in the area such as department stores that sell clothes… think of the stall-like type such as Greenhills.

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I haven’t been to a lot of places but I’d like to think that Korea sure is one of the most photogenic places on earth!

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