Noryangjin Fish Market

I have a confession to make……I hate seafood.

My hatred doesn’t really stem from the taste (though I am definitely not a fan), but from something else.

Seafood creeps me out.

Seeing dead fish, laying in ice, with their eyes….bah! Freaks me out.

And over the last couple of years, I have accumulated a small (yet completely irrational) fear of crabs. The bigger they get, the jumpier I get. The massive ones at the COEX aquarium scare me a little.

This thing haunts my dreams…(sorry for the bad photo but I didn’t want to around to take a better one)….taken at the COEX aquarium.

Irrational fears aside, the reason why I told y’all about my seafood woes was to explain my photos from the Noryangjin Fish Market. They look like they were taken from above and afar because…well they were.

I just wanted to clarify that I was not being a lazy journalist — just creeped out by seafood (ironically though, I love aquariums).

Noryangjin Fish Market opened in 1927 and is one of the largest seafood markets in Korea, according to the official Korea tourism site,

It is housed in a massive warehouse.

The “front” of the market (everyone comes from the metro station, which is in the back).

The live-seafood section of this market is open 24 hours a day, while the dead-seafood section closes around 8-9 p.m. (but I was there around 10 p.m. and some stalls were still open).

The rows behind this first row are the dead-seafood section.

But the live-seafood section…they ain’t kiddin’ when they call themselves a wholesale fish market. You get to pick the swimming fish/crab/lobster/octopus/eel and they scoop it out of the tank and plops it into a basket or just on  the ground so the customer can inspect it.

Poor flounder.

And the customer wants it, they kill it for you right there (and I do mean “right there” that man didn’t even move the flounder before killing it).

It’s the freshest seafood that you can get.

Along with fish, there was an array of muscles, clams, oysters, other shelled sea life everywhere… and crabs. King crabs were everywhere. But let’s not dwell.

Also for sell are baby octopi. In Korea, these are usually eaten alive. Think Old Boy (a Korean film btw). If you want one, or a few, they just put them in a black bag, not far from a convenience store bag, and hand them over. And the older ones end up on the chopping block.

One of the many unusual seafood things you can buy easily here…this place would be a seafood foodie paradise.

And for the customers that want the fish but don’t want to do anything between picking which wriggling animal looks the best and how it should it look on a plate dressing, they got guys that will fillet your “catch” for you.

As I have stated before, I am not good with the potential-seafood-dinner scene but I went for the sake of journalism! (I feel that should always be said intense sarcasm, though I live by that motto).

And I found out it is a great people-watching place. I didn’t realize I had been there for an hour before I made it down the stairs onto the sales floor.

This was a quick lap before I ventured out the front to snap a photo of the name of the joint. A cat greeted me when I walked back in….I wondered how dangerous his curiosity is. It kills cats, you know.

Didn’t stick around to find out…just wondered around the empty rows, only finding half-covered fish tanks…one, I think had puffer fishes in it.

One of the closed rows of the “dead-seafood” section.

And if you are not tried of seafood but tired in general, there are like 8 restaurants on the second floor — where I hid out.

Rather interesting, probably would go back during the day…it’s just not my cup of tea outside of the “glimpse into Korean culture” brew.

The woman needed something and she was going to get it without help…

This shot gives me an odd horror-movie vibe….does it to anyone else?

Well Cheers! I have to go to bed and wash everything I had on immediately (I am not fond of the smell either).

— Sara

Videos and more on my Facebook page, Cross-Pacific Paper Airplanes.


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