Experiencing the Jagalchi Fish Market and the View from Busan Tower

I am very happy to announce that I can actually read the sign that Rachel is standing under! My studying has paid off, I can read Korean. I don’t know what the words actually mean %99 percent of the time, but I can read them.

Merriam – Webster Definition
           fish: any numerous cold-blooded strictly aquatic craniate vertebrates that include the bony fishes and usually cartilaginous and jawless fishes and that have typically an elongated somewhat spindle-shaped body terminating in a braid caudal fin, limbs in the form of fins when present at all, and a 2-chambered heart by which blood sent through thoracic gills to be oxygenated. 

(side note: I was not expecting that long of a definition when searching for the word “fish”. I feel as though I need a dictionary to read it. I am tempted to forever refer to fish as ” aquatic, craniate, cartilaginous, and jawless vertebrates”.)

My Definition
           fish:  cold, wet, and smelly creatures that come from the sea and try and make their way into my mouth, generally I refuse them entry. I tend to believe that fish belong in the water, not in my stomach. Also, I think the word fish leaves a rather sour taste in my mouth because when we would go fishing as children my sister would always catch all the fish, and I would be left with the job of baiting the hooks. Oh dear, childhood trauma revealed. I am scarred from a lack of fish catching (a serious thing if you are from the land of 10,000 lakes).

          Growing up in Minnesota left me with few opportunities to explore a salt water fish market, and I therefore endeavored to ignore the smells and appreciate the interesting sights.  

             Rachel and I set out early, ready for a full day to experience the loveliness of Busan. After heading to the Gamcheon Art Village, we decided to make a very important stop before heading to the Jagalchi Fish Market. 


This is the way we travel. Very important pit stops. I finished writing out our plan for the day, Rachel took one look at it and said, “Wait, give it to me, something is missing.” She added the sections highlighted in green, how could I have forgotten them!

        When you enter the market the breezy sea air mingles with the smell of fish and other sea “things”, creating an interesting blend that accompanies the unique sights set before you.

          I have to admit, that while I don’t generally enjoy eating sea food (although I do like eel and stingray), I find the Jagalchi fish market an incredibly interesting place.  It’s a crowded street filled with booths selling all kinds of sea creatures, some familiar and some not.  

I think it’s rather horrible that we call it a “school” of fish. Perhaps when talking about things that we eat, it might be better to just stick with the word “group”, or some other word that has nothing to do with children.

           Rachel and I saw these guys everywhere along the street.  I have no clue what they are, some kind of fish stingray hybrid? Perhaps a fishray, or a…… stish? With the oppressive August heat and sun blazing down on them I am sure you could just buy one and eat it right there: Naturally baked fishray for sale!

          There are countless little vendors and restaurants lining the road, all of them have these tubs on display out front. Apparently, you can walk up to the tubs, point to your fishy sea creature of choice, they will cook it for you on the spot, and serve it to you at a nearby table. Talk about fresh seafood.  

            We weren’t brave enough to test it out, but I am working on building up my courage. I am in the process of creating a South Korea Bucket List, and eating fresh “something” from the Jagalchi Fish Market will definitely be on the that list. 

Ummmm…………  sea cucumbers, maybe. I am sorry, but I have no desire to eat that. 

Surprisingly the dried seafood smells the worst, the fresh stuff wasn’t so bad.  It still has a distinct “fishy” smell, but the dried squid and such is what we really had to look out for.

I actually felt sorry for this guy. Just your average neighborhood octopus, Bert is his name, destined to live out the end of his days in a pink strainer before ending up in someones stomach.  

They look like french fries until you look close and realize they have eyes and appear to be looking right back at you.

        Side Note: at the Busan tower there is this beautiful dragon holding what I believe is a pearl, I have also seen a similar dragon a the Yonggung Temple.  I asked my students about the significance of the pearl.  I think the pearl is magical and has the ability to turn the giant lizard-dragon-wannabe into an actual dragon. I was only understanding every other word and six students were talking at once, so this could also be completely untrue. 

There is a great view of the city from the top of the tower, you can see the entire harbor.  Busan looks like it’s made out of legos from this point of view. The great thing is it’s only 3,000 won. 

  Busan From Above

Rachel and I taking advantage of the photo zone 🙂

        Of course, it’s impossible to walk by one of the typical Korean photo stages and not take a picture.  It’s an absolute must! Koreans sure do love their staged photos, and I must admit, sometimes a picture on a heart bench is just what a traveler needs to brighten the day. 

Take the subway (line 1) to the Jagalchi station, exit 10. Turn right onto Jagalchi 3(sam-gil) street. Walk for five minutes then turn left to arrive at the market (also if you have a sensitive nose just follow the fish smell).

Did you enjoy reading this post? Leave me a comment with your thoughts, opinions, questions, or general thoughts about life and how fish are or aren’t a part of it. I would love to hear from you!

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