The enormous Jagalchi indoor market in Busan, South Korea covers three floors, but the fish selling spills out into the surrounding streets too. On our way inside, we passed through this makeshift overflow market and got a first-hand look at the cleaning and preparation of the seafood.
Inside the huge building, the displays were more controlled with aquarium-type tanks showing off each catch of the day. A nonstop fresh supply of water flowed from tank to tank until it spilled over onto the floor and down into drains. This way all of the stock is kept not just fresh, but alive.
Walking through we encountered every sort of sea creature imaginable, many that we not only had never seen before, but we couldn't even begin to identify. Then out of nowhere one of the fishmongers began to introduce us to a number of the critters. Without understanding a single word, we had quite a conversation -- and a good laugh.
After covering the the entire ground level, we headed up the stairs. The second floor houses traditional restaurants - complete with no shoes allowed - that serve up freshly caught specialties. Where else could we dream of having lunch?
Once again the language barrier was high, but we managed to point and gesture and soon food began to arrive. Then more, and more, and so on.
Dishes appeared with the traditional Korean pickled vegetable dish kimchi, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, seaweed, broccoli, hot peppers, sliced garlic, peanuts, and a couple things that we couldn't identify (this was beginning to look like a theme for the day - and we love days like that).
Then out came an entire flounder that was most likely alive a second earlier. Finally a little stove was placed on the table with a boiling pot of garlicky broth, fish parts and herbs -- we had entered food nirvana.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com
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