NoRyangJin fish market - Live octopus & fermented skate

One of the interesting things to do in Korea is checking out the NoRyangJin fish market. 

It's not an overwhelmingly big market, but rather small, so you can get a good look (& smell) of the local Korean fish scene. 

We have visited the fish market mostly during the autumn seasons for the seasonal shrimp and fish called, Jeon-Uh.

 This ugly(it really is!) fish below called "Ah-gu" is popular for a dish called "Ah-gu-jjim" (braised & spicy).  I don't go out of my way to eat it, but it's quite popular among Koreans who enjoy seafood.  There are restaurants that only specialize in cooking this fish.

 You can pick and weigh your own seafood.

 The crabs below are worth 128,800won (around $100). 

 If you are one of the braver ones in the culinary department, dare to try the "fermented(rotten) skate fish" (called "Sak-Heen-Hong-Uh").  Yes, it is what is it.  It is fermented in its own urine that makes the fish smell of ammonia.  Not exaggerating here.  This is only for the manias.  Not all Koreans can eat this.

It is cut into sashimi pieces like below and served with a sauce made with vinegar & "go-chu-jang" (red pepper paste).  I've eaten and tolerated "stinky tofu" in Taiwan, but I can't do this.  I can only eat one piece and that's it!  The overpowering stench of ammonia runs through your nose and mouth and into your brain.  Highly recommended with Soju!

You can buy octopus in the fish market, which goes for 10,000won or up for a 3-4(depends on the season and bargaining).  Then you take the bags of purchased fish and head to one of the restaurants that will clean, cook, or grill in anyway you want.  The restaurants are located in the market and across the vendors.  Some vendors can even tell you what restaurant you can go to.

 Live octopus is usually not eaten as a whole (as seen on OLD BOY movie), but cut into tiny pieces like below.  They will still be moving.  You dig in with your chopsticks and dip them into any sauce of your choice.  I prefer the sesame oil & salt combo.  It's chewy and sweet and delicious!  I got used to this right away.  If you enjoy sashimi - this won't be too difficult.

 And more fermented skate for the guys.  I can't get myself to enjoy this one.

The restaurants only charge to cook your seafood.   It will run anywhere between 20,000won and up for 3 or more people (they charge per person/how they cook your food/drinks).   It's a fun way to immerse yourself in the food and get to eat like the locals.

 Grilled small fish called "jeon-uh".  You can ask the restaurants to grill anything.  We enjoy grilled fish and shrimp when in season.

 A table of interesting eats.  You get basic side dishes like kimchi and vegetable for wraps (called "ssam") with the sitting fee.

LocationNoRyangJin station - exit 1 and walk across the bridge toward the market.  Or an easier way to get there is to take a taxi by saying "no-ryang-jin-susan-shijang  ga-juseyo"(please go to n.r.j. fish market).  There's a main strip of vendors as you enter the market.  There are also vendors behind them if you want to see more - the fermented skate is usually sold behind the main vendors.   Make sure to bring cash and negotiate the prices :)

The market is the "green colored" area on the map.

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