South Korea's Largest Fish Market Highlights Busan's Rich Bounty

Because most of South Korea borders the Pacific Ocean, it is a country that has a deep love for a wide variety of seafood. Probably no place in the country epitomizes that affection better than Busan. Busan sits in the country's southeastern corner and, for decades, has been one of the country's premier locations for seafood.

This is thanks to the Jagalchi Fish Market. According to Dynamic Busan, Jagalchi was founded during the period of Japanese colonial rule over the country that lasted from roughly 1910-1945. During this period, Busan became the epicenter of the country's seafood production. Even after the end of colonial rule and the Korean war, the Jagalchi ajime (vendors, often middle-aged women) would sell their wares straight from their boats to hungry customers (via Etour Korea).

Korea Track notes the hustle and bustle of this gigantic market starts bright and early every day, well before it allows its first customers at 5 a.m., and makes for a great choice if you're looking for something a little fresher than what you find at your local grocery store.

A unique dining experience

According to Eater, the market is the largest fish market in Korea and the second largest in Asia. All of the sea's bounty is on display in the many stalls spread throughout the indoor and outdoor facility. Expat Guide Korea points out that the freshest catch is brought into the market daily — and with a wide variety of fresh and dried fish, crab, lobster, and shrimp, you won't need to be a seafood expert to enjoy the market's offerings.

Dynamic Busan says that the Jagalchi Market is one of the greatest locations in Korea to sample fresh fish, thanks to its unique structure. While strolling through the first-floor market, anyone can simply request their preferred fish, and for a small fee, it will be taken out of its water tank and served in the second-floor dining area. Soul of Seoul explains that the fish is then served according to each diner's preferences, though it's possible to follow traditional Korean culinary wisdom by taking workers' recommendations.

Eater points out that this approach to seafood exemplifies the Korean people's love for enjoying the freshest seafood possible. Any trip to Busan certainly wouldn't be complete without a stop at this historic market.