[Korea Travel 9] Seoul- Namdaemun Market~ Kalguksu 칼국수 Alley

Posted by Jia Hui on Monday, August 05, 2013 with 2 comments
If you are in Namdaemun Market you can't visit the place without going to the Kalguksu Alley. Hidden in a corner, it will be hard to spot if you do not know about its existence.

Take subway line 5 to Hoehyeon Station, exit 5. Upon exiting, turn right and walk straight for a short distance of 10m or so.

While walking, keep a lookout on your left and spot this blue signboard (as per below) with a tiny entrance. 

Push past the door and you are in for a treat! Okay so what is Kalguksu?
According to Wikipedia: Kalguksu (literally "knife noodles") is a Korean noodle dish consisting of handmade, knife-cut wheat flour noodles served in a large bowl with broth and other ingredients. It is traditionally considered a seasonal food, consumed most often in summer.
It's really delicious and you won't regret having it. 

It was really crowded during a weekday lunch hour when I visited and quite impossible for me to search for a seat and slowly enjoy my food. So I left and returned on another weekday, but earlier in the morning before lunch.

And tada... hardly any crowd! Yea! Which means I can slowly enjoy the food and take photos like a 
true-blue tourist. HAHAHA
Crowded or not, upon entering, the ahjumas will start to wave and call for your attention to patronize their stalls. Because everyone in this alley is selling the same stuff basically, competition can get intense. Well, understandable. Unless you are a regular customer to a stall in particular I think there is no point choosing. 

So... I just sat down at the very first stall.

Okay here's the menu translation:
(from top)
- Nengmeong (cold noodles soaked in ice) 5,500won
-Son kalguksu ( handmade wheat flour noodles) 5,000won
-Sujebi 5,000won. Seriously I have not tried or seen this before.
 But from Wikipedia: is a Korean traditional soup consisting of dough flakes roughly torn by hand, with various vegetables. The flavor and recipe resemble kalguksu, except that the latter is made with noodles rather than wheat flakes.
If I were to made a comparison, 수제비 in appearance looks like Singapore's Ban Mian 板面/ Mee Hoon Kueh 面粉果. 
-Janchi guksu 5,000won. 잔치국수- 잔치means festival and this noodle was previously consumed during festive seasons like birthdays and weddings. I believe this is similar to Chinese's mianxian 面线 which also symbolizes longevity and eaten during birthdays. 
- Boribap 5,500won ( Barley rice mixed rice with assorted vegetables)

Before the "mains" are served, there is something known as "services". These are your little add-ons to make your whole meal a lot sweeter. The services for Kalguksu are small bowl of boribap ( Barley sticky rice), Seaweed and Kimchi! NICE~~~ Services can be refilled but I guessed you will be too full for that. ^_^

......and here is the Kalguksu! 2nd item from the menu, this costs 5000won. Warm soup and springy thick noodles makes it so delicious and soothing, especially in cold weather. 

After dining, of course you have to walk around Namdaemun Market and soaked in the atmosphere. 

As a popular landmark, the place is filled with locals and tourists at every turn. There are many shops you can shop around clothing, shoes, bags... but they are not quite for the young and trendy. More for the middle aged women I observed. Nevertheless it's fun to walk around and people watch. Plus, your 
wallet gets to rest. 

There are so many roadside stalls selling delicious snacks, you would wish for 2 stomachs. Namdaemun is a place for cheap and good food but go before night time as all the buzz fades off by then. Best to come in the morning or afternoon. 

The whole market is huge and well you can easily spend a day there if you have the time to. I also saw a children wholesale centre of sorts, selling clothing and toys at prices cheaper than shopping centres I believe. I was just randomly walking and discovered this huge children's place. I am not sure how to get there though but if you are interested I guess you can find it in KTO's website or ask the Tourist Information Counter when you are at Namdaemun. 

Have fun in Namdaemun Market!