Yeongcheon Market is a small traditional market located between Seodaemun Station and Dongnimmun Station in Seodaemun-gu. Established in the 1960s, this single alley covered market with about 130 stores is popular for its street foods, fresh produce, fruits, meats, seafood, toys, shoes, and more.
Although it is not large in size, Yeongcheon Market features a wide variety of items sold at affordable prices. As you walk down the 250 meter (820 foot) alley, you might notice how many of the stores sell similar items whether it’s vegetables, meat, garlic, seafood, dried peppers, or spices.
If you are looking for a specific item, it is recommended to walk the entire market first so you can see the prices and quality of each shop. And, it never hurts to test out your bargaining skills when you are ready to buy an item. This is especially true when when buying fruits as fruits can be expensive.
If you visit on Friday, you will find some shops offering discounts on their products. To find out which stores are participating, look out for banners placed in front of the shops.
Popular foods to try at Yeongcheon Market include tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), kkwabaegi (twisted doughnuts), and twigim (fried foods). Many of these foods and the stores serving them have become popular with locals and tourists, and the young and old, after seeing them featured on popular television shows. This includes Baek Jong-won’s Top 3 Chef King which airs on SBS. To find these stores, look out for posters displayed on store fronts, showing the store on television.
While food is the most popular item sold at Yeongcheon Market, they do sell other items. This includes children’s toys, clothes, shoes, stationery items, onggi (Korean earthenware pots), secondhand books, and other daily necessities. Although you will find new toys for children, if you look around, you can find some shops selling nostalgic retro toys that even adults can appreciate.
The main entrance to Yeongcheon Market is located a few minutes walk north from Seodaemun Station (Exit 2). The northern exit of Yeongcheon Market is across the street from Dongnimmun Gate (Independence Gate), Seodaemun Independence Park, and Dongnimmun Station (Exit 4).
Foods to try at Yeongcheon Market
Tteokbokki is one of the most popular street foods found in Korea. The ubiquitous snack, made with boiled tteok (rice cakes) mixed in a spicy red chili pepper paste, is quite possibly the best representation of Korean street food. You can find tteokbokki everywhere in Korea from street vendors to high end restaurants. It is a must try on any visit to Seoul. What makes the tteokbokki found at Yeongcheon Market unique is the secret seasoning added to the rice cakes before being stir-fried. The result is a delicious but not too spicy tteokbokki that is loved by everyone who tries it.
In Korea, twisted doughnuts are known as kkwabaegi. These sweet treats found in markets all over Korea are made with a dough of glutinous rice flour or yeasted wheat and butter. Once the dough is prepared, it is deep-fried in oil and then topped with sugar and cinnamon powder. The result is a fluffy, spongy, and sweet snack that is popular with both adults and children. But, plan on going early as the shops preparing freshly made kkwabaegi sell out often.
In Korea, fried foods are known as twigim. You can think of twigim as the Korean version of Japanese tempura. As with tempura, twigim is a piece of meat or vegetable that is battered and deep-fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Twigim, as with most fried foods, is one of the most popular street foods found in markets all over Korea and Seoul.
Hours vary for each store