Noryangjin Fisheries Market

This morning I got up at 1:20am to go to the Noryangjin fish market. It had been on my list of things to do for sometime but I hadn’t gotten around to going nor had the motivation as 1:20am on a Saturday doesn’t sound appealing. Thankfully Mark was also keen on going and was up for a very early start to the day to go check it out, giving me the push to wake up. The reason why we wanted to go early was to catch the fish auction that starts at 3am. Noryangjin is the biggest seafood market in Seoul and serves as the selling point for other markets and restaurants.
The early start was not easy and when we first got there I thought we had missed it as there wasn’t as much commotion as I had assumed there would be. Luckily we were just on the early side of things and after wandering through the market we came to the end of the market where they were setting up all the fish  to auction off.
The prep for the auction consisted of sorting the fish by type, quality, size and labeling them with their characteristics.  Then the auctioneer would roll up in a little cart with a screen and a microphone and things would start moving quickly. The auction would last about 15 minutes and the buyers would be at one end with numbered hats and each have their signal and a little notebook to write down their purchases. At the end of the auction there be a break and all the fish would be taken then they would start all over with a different type of fish. The whole process was overwhelming and Mark and I stood in awe as we watched it unfold, we were the only tourists foreign or domestic. 
After watching for a while we decided to head down to one of the smaller vendors and buy something to eat for breakfast. We ended up eating flounder served like sashimi and fresh octopus that was still moving. The octopus would stick to the sides of your mouth until you chewed it enough that it stopped. This was one of the cuisines that I’ve wanted to try for some time. I had expected that it wouldn’t be very tasty but was pleasantly surprised. The preparation consists of salting then dipping it in sesame seed oil making it pretty tasty.
I don’t think I’ll be getting up to go to the market frequently but it is definitely on the list for the next time visitors come to town and are looking for something to do when their jet lag is messing with their schedule.
They were constantly moving huge bags of ice everywhere to keep everything fresh.
First look at the market. The stalls are set up for smaller sales.

Preparing the fish for sale or for breakfast.

A bunch of squid on display. The papers list the weight so the buyers know what they are bidding on.

Right before the auction started at 3am.

Everyone was constantly moving getting different parts of the auction ready.

The plastic tubs had to be filled prior to putting the fish in, so that the fist would stay alive. They would then periodically rinse them to get oxygen to the fish.

28.7 kilo octopus.

The fish would be sorted based on size and quality.  I couldn’t really tell the difference.

The buyers all wore hats with numbers on them as ID.

As things started getting busy..

The auctioneer, my Korean isn’t too hot but there was no way I was going to understand him. He is standing on a little cart that would be driven from place to place to auction off different types of fish.

These guys were bidding on crabs.
They had to weigh them all, an another guy would mark it their official weight.

One of the guys in charge of prepping the fish.

These tunas were fighting back and not staying put.

The tunas a the bottom of the photo were about 200,000 Won.


Bidding on the tuna.

Dead tuna.
Squid Eye.
Cool octopus presentation.

We bought fish for breakfast and they cleaned it on the spot, then sent it down to a restaurant that was in the basement.

The surprised face was because the octopus was still moving.
Marks reaction to the octopus clinging to his chopsticks.
Here goes.

Not so sure about the pop of biting into the head.

My food playing with me.


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