Whenever we visit Jeju Island, traditional markets are always at the top of our to do list. They’re a great place to take in island culture, try local foods and buy souvenirs. There are a few markets on the island to choose from, but Dongmun Traditional Market (동문재래시장) is by far the oldest and our personal favorite.
If you’re looking for souvenirs, this is the place to do it. You can buy all sorts of adorable hallabong and tangerine themed items, from bags and hair accessories to fragrances and stationery. We even bought a little tangerine hat for Uyu (our dog), which he wears every time we visit.
They also have an insane variety of chocolates and snacks to choose from. The dried tangerine slices dipped in chocolate are always a highlight of our visit here and we usually buy at least 4 boxes. Many of these things are sold all over the island, but this is the cheapest place to get them. Plus they always throw in a couple of tasty freebies. And if you’re lucky, you may even have an encounter with Yangi, the famous 14-year old cat who works part-time at one of the stalls.
On the the other side of the market, you can find stalls filled with fresh seafood and produce. Many visitors like to pick up fresh sashimi and take it to the beach for a nice picnic. We always recommend picking up a bag of locally grown tangerines to snack on throughout your trip. Jeju tangerines are incredibly sweet and juicy with just the right amount of tart, definitely not to be missed!
Of course, there are also plenty of street food type stalls for you to snack on as you peruse the market, but we recommend not filling up there because the crown jewel of this market only makes itself known at 6 pm. That’s when the Dongmun Night Market starts.
There’s music, neon lights and rows and rows of food stalls. You can find anything from skewered breads and fruits to grilled seafood and fried pancakes. Everything you could possibly want from a night market. Our strategy was to buy one item at any stall and split it amongst the four of us, so as to try as many things as possible. It worked out pretty well! We got to try the Tangerine Tanghulu, Hallabong Cream Bread, Cheese Octopus Bread, Fried Black Pork and even Watermelon Juice.
The star of the show, however, was definitely the Kimchi Pork Belly Roll. Not only did you get a well flavored, mouth watering, juicy snack, but a show with it too! Crowds flocked to these food booths as the cooks danced to popular K-pop songs while setting the meat ablaze. Our favorite was the performance to Psy’s “That That”. The guy flawlessly executed the choreography while cooking with a blowtorch in his hand. If that isn’t skill, I don’t know what is.
While the market itself is open from 8am to 11pm the night market doesn’t open until 6pm so make sure to plan your arrival accordingly. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this Jeju experience.
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