Namdaemun Market – Home to Korean Aunties

I am so freaking hungry from my morning hike up Nam-san that my first priority at Namdaemun Market was to find a good restaurant, rest my feet and replenish my energy.

I chanced upon a small eatery that was crowded with people! Based on typical Singaporean mentality, so many people – the food must be good. So I went in and got myself a seat at a corner table together with 2 rather fierce looking Korean aunties who should be in their 50s.

I faced a very serious problem when making my order. I cannot comprehend the Korean language on the menu! The only item on on the item that I could read was cold noodles written in Chinese text. I pronounced it’s ‘Len Mian’ which the Waitress appear to understand.

Great! I have managed to order a dish that I have no idea how it looked like.

10 mins later, a steaming bowl of soup noodles was placed in front of me. Hmmm, this is strange … Cold noodles in Chinese text should means cold noodles in Korean right?

I did not bother to ask…I am hungry and it’s food. Plus it’s a pain to try to explain issues when I can’t even speak the language.

Just as I was about to tuck in, one of the fierce looking aunties sitting opposite me started shouting angrily at the waitress. Wah drama, so exciting. Haha

The auntie is definitely winning the fight and the actual cold noodles was served to me. The auntie actually fought her battle for me! I was very touched by her kind gesture.

So in the end, I get to enjoy both the cold and hot noodles and just paid for the price of 1.


I received a call halfway through my meal to meet a local friend at Hamiliton Hotel. Took a cab down to meet him for coffee before going back to Namdaemun Market later at around 4 plus to finish off my shopping.

The Market is located next to Namdaemun, which means “Great South Gate,” and was the main southern gate to the old city. The nearest subway station that serves the market location of the market is Hoehyeon Station, Line 4.

Namdaemun market is one of the oldest and largest continually running retail markets in South Korea. The streets in which the market is located were built in a time when cars were not prevalent, so the market itself is not accessible by car. The main methods of transporting goods into and out of the market are by motorcycle and hand-drawn cart.

Namdaemun is a popular tourist attraction, but most of the ‘real customers are Korean.

You will be able to get a clear view of Korean Post Hq which to me looked like a giant zipper. I happened to spot some really cute tea spoons with floral details at one of the road side vendors near the vicinity. Ok, must be a sign to get them as gifts for the postal gals.

5pm saw quite a number of seafood vendors doing set up for business, should be pretty popular with the locals. It looked really interesting but intimidating. The prices are not written upfront and I could not understand a single word of Korean.

In the end, I settled my tea on 2 Pau from an extremely popular local Pau shop. The Pau flew off the racks so fast that you would have thought that they are going for free!

The skin is relatively thin compared to our local pau, no evil thoughts intented here. I had no idea what were the exact fillings but in general there’s meat, some crunchy greens and it tasted pretty spicy.

Namdaemun market is an interesting sight for tourist but unless you are keen to purchase local wares and daily utility products (more auntie stuffs), there is nothing much here for you.

I head straight to Dongdaemun while munching on my pau to cover the remaining shopping malls by the end of the day. On reaching the station, I got off on the wrong exit and ended up at the Dongdaemun wholesale market instead. It’s a cold dark site with rough ah beng and ah lian type of people. Not a friendly environment.

The perk of going up the wrong exit is the chance to see the supposely romantic canal walkway, Cheonggye Stream – a canal running through the heart of the city. The stream has been filled in by the Japanese during its most recent invasion but was which was recently dug up as a proud landmark of Seoul.

I was planning to visit it one of the nights but having seen the day view…. the lonely planet write up may be a little overrated….. Still I still feel that it is an important symbol of Korea stepping out of Japanese oppression.

I completed my shopping at Dongdaemun and reached home only at 8pm. Raymond must be famished! So bad of me to make him wait…

I decided that I had enough of traditional Korean food for a while. I suggested the Moroccan restaurant just right by the corner. It sounds pretty exotic, I never have moroccan before.

The rice stable in the dishes tasted like cereal but not as sweet. The chicken was abit dry. Overall it’s a unique palate experience but not satisfying.

The rest of the night was rather uneventful except for my emotional release triggered from a love movie we were watching. It reminded me of my Taipei holiday romance.

Embarrassing… Arghh..

You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here

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