Jagalchi Market in Busan can be a bit overwhelming with the number of shops and restaurants set up. We’re going to make this one easy for you though. We picked one place. Chonggaksanghwe located in the Jagalchi Market building is a sure bet for the real deal.
The Jagalchi fish market can be a little overwhelming, especially if you haven’t chosen a restaurant yet. The easiest point of reference then would be the Jagalchi Market Building. The market building is walking distance from both Nampo Station and Jagalchi Station. The street and exit layout make it a little easier to navigate from Jagalchi Station, since Nampo naturally moves people into a shopping area.
Busan Station -> Jagalchi Station
- Subway Line 1 – 6 Minutes – 1,300 won
- Get off at Jagalchi Station
- Exit 10
- First Right, walk towards the water
- Left at the last intersection
- 5 Minute walk to Jagalchi Market Building
Jagalchi Station is on part of subway line 1, just 3 stops from Busan Station also on line 1. It only takes 6 minutes and 1,300 won. 1,200 if you have a card. Take exit 10 and your first right will bring you into Jagalchi. From there just keep walking towards the water and take a left (east). The building is quite easy to notice as one of the larger structures in the area.
Jagalchi Market Building -> Chonggaksanghwe
Now to get to the restaurant here I entered on the most western side doors. I had passed to the back to look at the view of the harbour at night time, but you’ll likely end up at the front doors. Chongaksanghwe is located in the southern most row, closest to the water. From there just walk down the aisle and look for the sign.
The Jagalchi Market is filled with shops, so it’s hard to choose just one. I spotted this shop because a group of foreigners were in front ordering food from the owner. I made a few rounds and coming back he greeted me in a number of languages. He finally got to English so I spoke with him in a bit of broken Korean and English.
Since the food is fresh it’s all on display so even if you’re not able to communicate in Korean, all you really have to do is point to the stuff you want. I ordered flounder and some carp, the cheapest thing on the menu. I had tried to communicate that Sojuwave was on YTN before so he threw in a baby octopus and some shellfish for free!
- Flounder (광어 – Pronounced “Gwang Aw”)
- Carp (붕어 – “Boong Aw”)
- Octopus (낙지 – “Nak Ji”)
- Shellfish (Not sure what he gave me)
= 40,000 Won
I recommend you come with a group of 2-4 people. While I was most likely upsold on ordering the second fish, I wanted to make it worth his while. Still though it came to about 40,000 won. Unfortunately I went alone so that was a lot of fish I had to down.
After watching the man at work for a bit I paid him there on the 1st floor, and headed up to the 2nd to take a seat. It’s a shared space so I was a bit confused as to where to go, but someone will lead you to the correct seating area for the shop you had purchased from. I was a bit worried that my order would be mixed up with someone else’s but they have that all figured out.
I didn’t wait too long since none of the food I had ordered was cooked. After all I was in Busan’s Jagalchi Fish Market, right by the ocean. I needed fresh raw fish for my short visit. The flounder and carp were as expected for not being frozen, which was spectacular. With every bit you can feel the real texture of the fish, as if you were a grizzly bear hunting salmon in a river. Dipped in either the hot sauce or the regular soy and horse radish add the necessary spice to flavour it. Korean raw fish is a bit different in that you can wrap it in the lettuce or sesame leaf (깻잎)
- Hold lettuce or sesame leaf in one hand
- Pick up raw fish with chopsticks in the other
- Dip into your favourite sauce
- Possibly put in some garlic or pepper if you like even more spice
- Munch away!
The live octopus, or 산낙지 (“San Nak Ji”) I hadn’t had in possibly 5 years. Even while I was living in Korea it’s not something I actively sought to consume. Yet, I was on vacation and I just had to. The octopus is technically not “live” anymore as they only serve the legs. The dish itself is not for everyone. The “live” part comes from the movement the arms make within the sesame oil and salt it’s doused in. It eventually stops but if you give it a poke it’ll start right back up. There’s been stories of people choking on live octopus, but those have more to do with swallowing it hole. This version is much safer as the legs are smaller. Still, the suction power of these legs are evident when dipping it into the pepper sauce, and in your mouth. Tip: Chew quickly.
I somehow managed to eat everything. I love seafood, but closer to the end it was a bit too much. Definitely don’t order this much unless you’re with a group. By the end of it I thought I was all done and was proceeding to leave. The woman who seated me asked me if I paid, to which I responded in Korean yes. She looked a bit confused and asked her coworker, then kindly explained to me. I hadn’t known there was a table fee I had to pay in addition to what I had paid downstairs. It’s only 2,000 won, so don’t be surprised if it seems like you’re asked to pay twice.
If you’re ever in the area I think it’s a worthwhile stop. Be sure to mention Sojuwave sent you!