Jagalchi Market is South Korea’s largest seafood market, running between Nampo-dong and Chungmu-dong right next to Pusan Harbour in Busan. It is one of the country’s landmarks and has its own festival which is held every autumn to celebrate the centuries-old attraction.
Jagalchi Market is divided into two main areas, as the market’s west side deals predominantly with live and freshly caught seafood, then sold immediately right off the boat to waiting customers, and the east side of the market concentrates on dried seafood. The lively market pulsates with the all- encompassing routine of catching, cleaning, processing, selling and long-term storing of fish which is overseen by the “ajumas” married women who bring the fish to their presentable, edible conclusion in record time. The area is lined with tank upon tank of fish and shellfish of all varieties, including squid, eels and an impressive amount of molluscs. On the road to the market and along the shore, women sit on wooden boxes selling whale meat and mackerel. For those preferring their fish dish already seasoned, prepared and ready to consume, there are restaurants along the main street that are open both day and night.
Jagalchi Market is served by Busan’s subway system, as travellers can hop off at Jagalchi Station and the market is just a short walk away.
The name of the area comes from the Korean name “jagal” meaning “small rocks” as the location at one time consisted only of gravel. The site is now completely concreted over with its own wharf.