I love this time of year with the weather has cooled off and the sky is clear. It makes me feel so energized. It’s the perfect time of year to wander around the city and explore new neighborhoods. While I have been to Gyeongbokgung Palace many times, I have not often explored the surrounding areas. This week was the perfect time for seeing something new.
Tongin Market is just a short walk north of the Gyeongbokgung subway station stop on line 3 (경복궁역). Taking exit 2, walk straight until you reach the small market road on your left. This is the smallest market I have been to lately, with it being just one short alley way long. The main offerings of this market are both fresh and prepared foods, with some clothing and household goods being sold as well.
Before coming to the market, I actually didn’t know what to expect or what it would be famous for. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the lunchbox or dosirak (도시락) is the most popular attraction. I went to the market planning on enjoying lunch there, so it was perfect.
This lunchbox is perfect if you want to try many different kinds of foods. You simply take the purchased coins and your black tray, walk around the vendors, and when you see something that interests you, you use the coins to purchase it. The lunchbox is a steal at just 5,000 won. I went with a friend, so we were able to try many different foods with enough left over for my dinner later that night.
You can see from the photos that everything looks very fresh and tasty. It was difficult to choose which foods to try, so I was glad to have went with a friend so that we could try double the items. My favorites were the kimchi pancakes and that japchae because it had extra black pepper.
During my visit to the market, I saw many foreigners and families enjoying the food. For people who are visiting Korea or new to trying Korean food, this is a great place to try a variety of foods at one time. Also, I found the vendors here to be very friendly and generous. When my friend and I asked about some of the foods or complimented the merchants, we were often rewarded with a little extra serving of something. This made us feel incredibly grateful as we were then able to try even more of the delicious foods!
Keep in mind that this lunchbox service is only available from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm, so be sure to come during that time to enjoy this great deal.
The only negative aspect of the food for me was that most of it seemed to be fried. As someone who tries to eat healthy, I love fresh, raw food or foods that are prepared in a healthy way. Fried foods taste delicious, but they don’t leave me feeling too great afterwards. So, I made sure to indulge today before resuming my regular diet.
The great thing about this neighborhood is that there is so much to do in the area! After having lunch, you can walk around to burn off the calories by visiting the Gyeongbokgung Palace, the museums or the many art galleries in the area.
The market website is http://tonginmarket.co.kr/mall/index.php