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Food Guide to Gwangjang Market (광장시장)

광장시장 (Gwangjang market) is a prime location in Seoul for eating various Korean foods. Do not expect to find strict hygiene standards or to seat on a nice chair; you will, however, be surprised by the food offerings in the market. From 육회 (shredded raw beef) to 빈대떡 (mungbean pancake), 광장시장 does not disappoint. This post lists the most popular foods to eat in 광장시장 Gwangjang market, as well as some tips to have the best experience while navigating the numerous stalls and restaurants.

Learn about the emblematic foods of 광장시장.

Accessing 광장시장 Gwangjang Market

By bus

Many buses stop in the vicinity of the market; you can use the following address: 서울특별시 종로구 종로32길 2, or this Naver Map link to find the best bus itinerary from your location. Learn about the different types of buses in Seoul before heading to 광장시장.

By subway: 종로5가역 (Jongno 5-ga Station) (line 1) exits 7 or 9

While several websites including Wikipedia list 을지로4가역 (lines 2 and 5) as a station close to 광장시장을지로4가역 is very far from the food part of the market. Prefer exiting at 종로5가역 (line 1) exits 7 or 9 (exit 9 does not show up on Google Maps as it corresponds to an exit within the underground mall; signs in the station will guide you there). Learn about Korean subways.

By taxi

Tell your taxi driver to drop you off at 종로5가 사거리 (Jongno 5-ga intersection) or give the following address: 서울특별시 종로구 종로32길 2 (front of one of the entrances to the food part of the market). It is usually easy to get a taxi around the market.

Tips

  • Ahjummas and grandmas will do whatever it takes to get more customers. Do not interact with them unless you want to eat at their stalls.
  • The number of people waiting or eating at a food stall or a restaurant is nowhere indicative of food quality. Some places with huge lines are passable, some okay food stalls may have a couple of people there because the owner is a savvy rhetorician, and some great food stalls may be empty because you came at the touristy hours (midday) instead of when the regulars show up (mornings, evenings).
  • For the reason outlined in the previous bullet point, prefer going in the morning (around 11 am) or later in the evening (after 8 pm).

Pattern V-고 싶다 To want to V, Would Like to V

Verb (V)-고 싶다, conjugated as V-고 싶어(요), means "to want to V" and is a common pattern in Korean as it is in English. Replace V in V-고 싶다 with an action (processive) verb by taking its dictionary form and replacing '' with ''. 

The pattern V-고 싶다:

  • can only be used with action (processive) verbs, such as 가다, 먹다, or 자다; it cannot be used with adjectives (descriptive verbs) such as 춥다, 필요하다, or 예쁘다
  • can only be used when the subject is yourself, or when you are directly asking a question to somebody else; for any other case, use V-고 싶어하다.
  • cannot be used with Noun (N)-이다; use N이/가 되다 instead ("I want to become N").
  • can be combined with past and future markers. These markers go after 싶다 and not after V; for example, "하고 싶었어요" (O) & "하고 싶을거예요" (O), and not "했고 싶어요" (X) & "할고 싶어요" (X) or "했고 싶었어요" (X) & "할고 싶을거예요" (X). Like in English, using the pattern V-고 싶다 in the future tense is not common (e.g., "I will want to see you; 내가 널 보고 싶을거야").
  • cannot be used with 못 (as in 못하다 cannot do).

When using honorifics with V-고 싶다:

  • place the honorific marker -- in the conjugation of 싶다: V-고 싶으세요/V-고 싶어하세요.
  • if V is a verb with an honorific equivalent, use the honorific form instead. E.g., 드시고 싶어하세요 (O) instead of 먹고 싶어하세요 (X).

Examples

나는 이 책을 갖고 싶어.
I want to have this book (반말).
저는 이 책을 갖고 싶어요.
I want to have this book (semi-polite)
이 음반을 듣고 싶었는데 잃어버렸어(요).
I wanted to listen to this album but I lost it.
Note that the verb 듣다 "to listen" conjugates to 들어(요); however, as mentioned above, this pattern uses the dictionary form 듣다 and replaces '다' for '고', resulting in '듣고' (O) and not '들고' (X).
준형이 육회를 먹고싶어(요)?
Junhyeong, do you want to eat yukhoe?

Ahjussi Taste: Best Traditional Korean Foods (아저씨 입맛)

Some of the best Korean foods are also the oldest. People who love traditional foods that usually have a strong flavor or repulsing appearance are said to have an 아저씨/아재 입맛, or ahjussi taste. Learn about some of these traditional foods in this post.

곱창 Gopchang or Grilled Small Intestines

양념곱창 Busan Spicy Gopchang

Small intestines of a cow or a pig. The word 곱창 by itself usually refers to grilled small intestines, also called 곱창구이. It can also be eaten in a hot pot (곱창전골) or as a sausage (cf. 순대). Prefer 양념곱창 (marinated 곱창) over regular 곱창 if you doubt the quality of the restaurant. 곱창 tastes best with soju.

닭발 Chicken feet

닭발, Korean chicken feet

Chicken feet served in a spicy sauce. While their appearance is unattractive at best, chicken feet are really good for the skin as full of collagen. Pair with soju.

말고기 Horse Meat

말고기회 Korean horse meat hoe and yukhoe

Very popular in Jeju island, horse meat can be eaten raw (말고기회), grilled (말고기구이), in soup (말고기탕), and in many other ways. Best eaten in Jeju.

List of Korean Honorific Verbs

The Korean language has a finite list of verbs and nouns that are used to refer to older or revered/esteemed people. These verbs and nouns are qualified as honorific, and must absolutely be used when talking to strangers and older people you know. The honorific verbs to be used when you speak to/talk about somebody esteemed are listed below. Do not use them to talk about your own actions/status. Make sure to check out the appropriate honorific nouns to use conjointly with these verbs (list forthcoming).

Non-honorific Honorific Translation
데리다 모시다 to accompany
만나다/보다 뵙다 to meet/to see
말하다 말씀드리다/말씀하시다* to speak
마시다 드시다** to drink
먹다 잡수시다/드시다** to eat
묻다 여쭈다/여쭙다 to ask

See the full table and examples

Review of Chinese Characters Cognates - 808 Common Hanja

This book by Joon Geem lists the 808 most common 한자 Chinese characters in Mandarin (hanzi), Japanese (kanji), and Korean (한자) in a compelling format. This book is particularly recommended to language learners or both Japanese and Korean or Chinese and Korean. For each of the 808 most common Chinese characters across China, Korean, and Taiwan; the author lists the corresponding simplified Chinese character, the Japanese kanji, and the Korean hanja (한자).

Buses in South Korea

SeoulBus272

There are two major categories of buses in South Korea: 시내버스 (市內버스) or intra-city buses, and 시외버스 (市外버스) or intercity buses. 시내버스 include 마을버스, 지선버스, and some 간선버스 lines, while 시외버스 include some 간선버스 lines, 광역버스, and 고속버스

마을버스 are neighborhood buses (literally "village buses") that stop every few blocks in both residential and commercial areas. In Seoul, many of these buses run in a loop, with one or two stops connecting to subway stations. Their routes are the shortest among city buses. Walking is sometimes faster than taking a 마을버스, especially during rush hours, as these buses rarely take bus lanes. In Seoul, these buses are green and shorter than regular buses.

Trains in South Korea

Trains are probably the fastest and most comfortable means of transportation in South Korea. Most of the time they are faster than buses are they cannot get stuck in traffic, and they are also faster than planes in that train stations are usually in downtown areas rather than in suburbs. There are also plenty of train options for traveling within a city or a metropolitan area, such as subways and suburban trains. For tourists however riding trains in South Korea can be overwhelming given the number of train services available, the different operators, and the different booking processes. This post summarizes all you need to know to book and ride trains in South Korea.

Intercity Train Services

There are several types of intercity train service in Korea. From fastest to slowest (and most expensive to cheapest): KTX & SRT, ITX & 새마을, 누리로 & 무궁화. Most services (except the SRT) are run by Korail (코레일), a public company.

Korail train service logos in South Korea

The different train services run by Korail (all but SRT) and SR (SRT) (adapted from https://flytoazuresky.tistory.com/602?category=669623)

KTX, for Korea Train eXpress, is the fastest transportation link between most cities in South Korea. Two classes of service are available, first class and economy, with economy class being usually 20% to 30% cheaper than first class. First class offers more legroom than the already excellent legroom in economy, so the higher ticket price may be hard to justify. Standing tickets can also be booked; these tickets do not have assigned seats and require standing if no seats are available. They are not drastically cheaper than economy tickets (5% to 15% cheaper) and are probably best booked when there is no stop between your origin and destination stations (such as 광명역 – 대전역).

KTX tickets can be booked in English on the Korail website. They can also be bought directly at any Korail station, such as 서울역 (Seoul station) or 용산역 (Yongsan station) in Seoul.

SRT is another train service run by a sister company of Korail. While KTX lines originate mostly from 서울역 or 용산역, SRT service originates from 수서역 in 강남구. SRT service map does not have as many stations as the KTX service,  but trains travel at similar speeds (수서 - 부산 in 2 hours 25 minutes) for similar prices. SRT may thus be a better option if you are traveling from areas surrounding 강남. A lot of Korean people do not know about SRT since it is a relatively new service (2016), so be aware of this option when booking your train itineraries. 

Learn about other train services in South Korea by reading the full post.

Metropolitan Train Services

Most major cities in Korea have an independently-run metropolitan train service, usually a mix of underground and overground trains, that connects the city center(s) to the suburban areas. These are different from intercity train services in that, in most cases, tickets do not need to be purchased in advance; instead, passengers need to tap their T-money cards onto the card readers before boarding their train. This includes the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, the Busan Metro, and the Daejeon Metro. Learn more about the different options to get around Korean cities by reading the full post.

Public Transportation in Korea (Vocabulary)

Public transportation is omnipresent in Korea and is faster than driving in most cases. This post gives you an overview of public transportation-related vocabulary that you may encounter and use in South Korea.

대중교통 (大衆交通) public transportation

교통수단 (交通手段)

transportation means

노선도 (路線圖)

route map

목적지 (目的地)

one’s destination

실시간 (實時間)

real time

2[이]번 출구 (出口)

exit number 2

교통카드 (交通카드)

transportation card

기차 (汽車)

열차 (列車)

train

See more vocabulary and examples by reading the full post.

Pattern V-더니 Past Observation of the Speaker

V-더니 is used to describe an observation of the speaker about people or things, or a change that came to be known through personal experience, and always precedes a statement resulting from that observation. A good example in English/Korean of how this pattern would be used: "my friend used to eat a lot of ice cream before더니 these days he even hates the sight of ice cream." V-더니 can therefore only be used in the middle of a sentence and can never end a sentence.

The clause before V-더니 can only be in the second or third person, so this pattern is therefore not appropriate to describe things the speaker has done. It is used to describe what the speaker has noticed about the external environment.

Examples

예전에 친구가 아이스크림를 많이 먹더니 요즘에 아이스크림을 보기도 싫어해요.
(I noticed before that) My friend ate a lot of ice cream in the past but now he hates even the sight of ice cream.
아침에 구름이 많더니 오후에는 없어졌어요. 
(I noticed) there were a lot of clouds in the morning, but they have all disappeared in the afternoon.
친구가 직장을 다니기 시작하더니 이제는 바빠서 못만나요.
Now that my friend has started working, we cannot meet a lot because he is busy (implies that the speaker and the friend used to meet a lot before).

Hanja 火 (화) - Fire, Anger

한자 (pronounced [한짜]) are the Chinese characters behind many Korean words used in modern Korean. Being aware of them helps with guessing word meanings and retention of new vocabulary.

火 (화) as a character has two main English meanings, fire and anger, and is used in many words related to these concepts. When 火 is used by itself as a word, it almost always means anger. as a radical that appears in many other 한자, such as (, flame) or  (, disaster). Read the article for examples of words including 火 (화) fire, anger.