Jagalchi Market in Busan: The Best Place for Seafood in Korea

Jagalchi Market is a place that lives and breathes Busan’s coastal culture. It’s not only Korea’s largest and most famous seafood market, but is also a place where Korea’s culinary traditions meet the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Busan is Korea’s largest coastal city, known for its love of seafood.

So what’s the best way to dive into Korean seafood culture? By heading to its biggest seafood market!

Jagalchi Market is without a doubt the best place to get seafood in Korea. With so many options, you can find almost any seafood you can think of, from king crab to shellfish, and even some unusual items you might not have seen before (more on that below!).

And the best part about Jagalchi Market? You can choose your own fresh seafood right there in the market. Then, they cook and serve it to you in a restaurant upstairs. No need to worry about cooking it yourself, which is perfect for visitors.

But even if you’re not looking to eat or don’t like seafood, Jagalchi Market is still a cool place to visit. It’s a great place to take in the busy market atmosphere and check out all the unusual live fish and seafood.

Jagalchi Market Details

  • Hours: 5 AM – 10 PM (2nd floor restaurants open at 9 AM). Closed on 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month.
  • Cost: Free to enter
  • Location: Jagalchi Market – Google Maps

What Kind of Seafood Can You Find at Jagalchi Market?

This market is seriously fascinating. There are hundreds of different types of marine life species there – all of which are edible.

There are many vendors at the market. Some can speak English and are really friendly! They could tell we were tourists and even let us take pictures with the seafood.

We suggest taking a stroll through the entire market to see everything before deciding where to buy your seafood. Some places have seafood that looks fresher and more lively than others.

Here are a few kinds of seafood that you can find at Jagalchi Market:

Shellfish (Oysters, Clams, Scallops, etc.)

The market is full of shellfish, more types than we’ve ever seen in one spot. If you love shellfish, this is a great place for you.

Crab and Lobster

Crab is a big deal at Jagalchi Market. There were lots of booths selling snow crab and king crab from Russia. We’ve never seen so many snow crabs before. The prices were actually not too high compared to the USA, but it was still more than we wanted to spend, so we skipped the crab.

Sea Eel

Sea eels are everywhere in the market and really stand out. At first glance, when you see a tank full of them, you might not realize what they are. But when you look closer, you’ll see it’s a tank full of eels!

Gaebul

The weirdest dish we found in the market is what the Koreans call gaebul. The word translates to a certain body part that we won’t mention here but it’s not hard to figure out which one it is.

We didn’t try it because it looked a bit too unusual for us. But from what we’ve read online, it’s said to taste like a salty rubber band. Not sure about that, but it doesn’t seem like something we’d enjoy.

Koreans typically prepare gaebul with salt, sesame oil, and gochujang (a type of red chili paste). If anyone’s tried it, we’d be curious to hear your experience in the comments below!

Fish

If you’re not up for trying something wild, you can always have some fish cooked for you, which is what we did. Even if you’re not a big seafood lover, it’s still pretty cool to see the freshest seafood being cleaned and cooked right in front of you.

Our Experience Eating at Jagalchi Market

After browsing the aisles of the fish market, we got hungry from looking at all the seafood so it was time to get something to eat!

Lots of the stall owners speak English, so it was easy to find someone we could talk to about what we wanted.

We said we felt like having fish, and he suggested choosing a flounder from what he had.

We chose a flounder that wasn’t too big, and the vendor cleaned and prepared it right in front of us. He suggested we try it half raw and half fried, so we went with that. He called the restaurant upstairs to let them know we were on our way, then took us up there himself and handed over the fish to be cooked.

When we got to the restaurant upstairs, they showed us to our table and brought out banchan (Korean side dishes such as pickled vegetables) and rice while they cooked our fish. The banchan wasn’t free, but it was a nice addition, especially since eating just the fish alone would have been a bit much.

As soon as our fish arrived, we started eating. The raw flounder was somewhat chewy, which is probably why you don’t often see it at sushi places. However, the fried flounder was amazing, and we immediately wished we’d had the whole thing fried instead.

The meal was plenty for the two of us, and we noticed other larger groups enjoying a variety of fish, shellfish, and crab. It seems like coming in a big group would be fun to try different seafood options.

Here’s how much it cost us to eat at Jagalchi Market:

The fish itself cost us 20,000 KRW, and the restaurant charged 25,000 KRW for cooking it and for the banchan. So, our total came to 45,000 KRW, or about $34 USD, for the whole meal with side dishes.

So, Is Jagalchi Market Worth Visiting?

Our answer is absolutely, yes!

Even if you’re not into seafood or not looking to eat, Jagalchi Market is still a fantastic place to explore for free. Many visitors go just to look around and snap pictures, not necessarily to buy food.

But getting something to eat at Jagalchi Market is an experience all on its own! It’s really cool to wander the market, check out different stalls, then choose a fish and watch as they prepare it right before your eyes. It’s a unique way to connect with what you’re eating and understand a bit more about how food is prepared.

Watch Our Experience at Jagalchi Market on YouTube!

Trey Lewis is an outdoor enthusiast. Whether its hiking knife-edge ridges or just fishing by the river, Trey isn't afraid to get dirty in search of the next adventure.

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