“Mate, I’ve got to take you to Seomun Night Market” hummed Wonderboy, rubbing his hands together, “The food is just….”. I can’t remember exactly what adjective he used but it didn’t matter, I was already sold on the words food and market. After all this was Korea, where the promise of a fine meal is never far away.
Convening one evening with loaded wallets and hungry stomachs, we were joined by one of Wonderboy’s teaching friends Darren, an American who’d only recently recovered from being hospitalized by food poisoning during a trip to Thailand! In for a penny in for a pound, Darren seemed just as keen as us to sample some of Seomun Night Market’s culinary delights.
Seomun Night Market is the biggest traditional street market in Daegu with over four thousand stores. While there’s a focus on textiles, you can find pretty much anything here, it’s just a matter of searching through the logical grid system of lanes and alleys.
Luckily we knew exactly where we were heading so, following the smell of sizzling meat and the sound of derivative soft rock, we were soon working our way through the long row of terraced food stalls. I love how the singer even gives me a little wave.
Wonderboy and Darren had eaten at Seomun Night Market several times before and were keen to give me their recommendations. And I could quickly see that it wasn’t strictly Korean fayre, but plenty of creative fusion dishes and international favourites. Nevertheless, one of the first things I tried was Hotteok, a traditional Korean pancake made from brown sugar, cinnamon, and sesame seeds. Tasty and cheap, I put this down as my first Seomun Night Market win!
Elsewhere, there were giant turkey legs fit for a dinosaur, juicy chunks of sizzling beef stuffed with cheese and some seriously fresh sushi. For the latter, it’s also fun to watch them flame-cooking the beef topping as you wait. No messin’.
The food was all amazing and the beauty of it is that you could come to Seomun Night Market at least a dozen times and not eat the same thing twice. Sadly my memories of the place will always be a little tainted by my regretful misadventures in bag shopping. I was in need of a hefty holdall to get all my stuff home for my upcoming flight from Seoul to London. The bag seemed fine, I even tested it out. But having paid 53000KRW (£35/€40/$44), the handle basically collapsed on me during its maiden voyage from Daegu to Jeonju. In all my years of Asian market shopping this was my first truly duff purchase. But how about those cheese-stuffed burgers?
Seomun Night Market is free to enter and open daily (except Sunday) from 19:00-23:30, with an extended midnight closing on Fridays and Saturdays. The nearest metro stations are Sinman (Line 2) and Seomun Market (Line 3).