We all know Korean cuisine is one of the best in the world. But aside from smoky BBQ restaurants and dessert shops where you can get ice-cold bingsu, did you know that there’s also tons of delicious snacks in Korea’s markets?
Seoul is the city that never sleeps. Even late into the night, the streets are alive with vendors hawking their wares and locals binging on scrumptious midnight snacks after a long day of work.
Ever since the Korean variety show “Amazing Saturday” took off, it’s not just locals who have been appreciating Korean traditional markets. More and more, the world of these markets is being introduced to tourists and internationals. Since that show features yummy food from a new Korean market every episode, Korean night markets have not just become go-to restaurants, but popular tourist hubs as well!
Here we’ve compiled just 12 of the best night markets in Seoul that you just have to visit!
1. Myeongdong Night Market
Up next we have undoubtedly one of the most famous districts in Seoul! Myeongdong is a known shopping hub where you can get cute clothes, K-Pop merch, cosmetics, shoes, and more at relatively cheaper price points. It’s also the center of Seoul nightlife thanks to the many different kinds of establishments and accommodations you can find here.
But aside from that, Myeongdong is also actually a great place for a food trip! Both traditional and modern Korean dishes line the streets, making for the perfect midnight snacks. There is a whole stretch dedicated to mouthwatering snacks that you have to try.
Myeongdong’s signature street food is cheesy lobster tails! The decadence from the cheese and the fresh flavor of the lobster will keep you wanting more. Fish cakes and rice cakes are also classic Korean street foods that you have to try. If you’re craving for something sweet instead, then we recommend hoddoek, which are like pancakes filled with cinnamon sugar.
2. Banpo Romantic Moonlight Market
Looking for a good date night spot? We’ve got you covered. Banpo Romantic Moonlight Market is perfect for romantic nighttime strolls and quality time with the ones you love. Your backdrop will be none other than the Banpo Bridge, the longest bridge fountain in the world. The regular fountain shows, with romantic music and colorful lights, create a magical atmosphere. The moonlight reflecting on the calm waters adds the final fairytale-like touch.
Here you can also find handmade crafts and art pieces, alluring live performances, and of course a large collection of food options! The place is filled with food trucks advertising both Korean and international cuisines, which means there’s a delicious bite here for everyone. We especially recommend the classic Korean combo of deep-fried chicken and beer!
The cool night breeze, lively yet serene atmosphere, and mouthwatering delights will surely make your trip to Banpo memorable. There’s a reason why this place has become popular among young couples!
- Opening Time: 6 PM – 11 PM, Fridays & Saturdays, April – October
- Location: Banpo Romantic Moonlight Market.
3. Dongdaemun Night Market
Up next we have another one of Seoul’s famous shopping districts: Dongdaemun! Similar to Myeongdong, here in Dongdaemun you can find a huge collection of stores selling everything under the sun. If you’re a fan of Korean fashion, then you’ll definitely love it here as the stores sell all the latest fashion trends.
After a long day of shopping, what better to do than grab a bite to eat? Lucky for you, Dongdaemun also has several streets all dedicated to delicious food. While some of the shops close around 3 AM, many street food vendors stay open until 5 AM to feed the hordes of hungry locals.
In Dongdaemun, there is a so-called “Mokjagolmok” or “Eatery Alley” where you can sample the wide range of delicious Korean street food. We especially recommend getting some jokbal or braised pig’s trotters! Trust us, if you’ve never tried something like that before, you’re missing out. The savory meat marinated in soy sauce and a wide variety of spices is just to die for!
Dongdaemun also has a “Grilled Fish Street” that’s lined with delectable grilled fish restaurants on every corner. Every kind of fish you can think of is fired over a charcoal grill to give that deep smoky flavor that everyone loves.
- Opening Time: 8 PM – 3 AM (some shops are open until 5 AM), Year-Round
- Location: Dongdaemun Night Market.
4. Yeouido World Market
Next up we have the Yeouido World Market! This market is unique from other markets in Seoul because its main identity is built on celebrating different cultures around the world.
There are world-class live performances as well as stores selling unique handicrafts from every corner of the globe. We recommend bringing some cash since you don’t know what hidden gems you will find here. At Yeouido World Market, will feel like you’ve traveled to many different countries in just one night.
But above all, the Yeouido World Market is intent on celebrating different international cuisines! Grab a bite of savory pizza or sample Japanese cuisine right in this night market. Even though the food comes from different cultures, here they’re given a unique Korean twist.
- Opening Time: 6 PM – 11 PM, Fridays & Saturdays, April – October
- Location: Yeouido World Market
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5. Namdaemun Night Market
If we’re talking about night markets, then we can’t miss talking about the historic Namdaemun Market. It’s the oldest and largest night market in the entire country! What’s amazing about Namdaemun Market is that it’s actually open 24/7. This is because its primary market is not simple shoppers, but retail buyers! Many vendors usually buy from Namdaemun so they can sell it for higher prices in districts like Hongdae and Insadong.
That means, in Namdaemun you can be sure to get a good deal. You can buy presents to bring home to your loved ones in bulk, or even just stock up on your own basic necessities like socks and clothes.
By 10 PM, Namdaemun transforms as the Night Market part of the area also opens! Here you can find even more shops and especially kiosks specializing in delicious food. Namdaemun has tons of streets dedicated to food. One of them is Foodie Alley, a long stretch of vendors all offering a different twist on classic Korean street food favorites.
But when in Namdaemun, you just have to try the galchi jorim! This is a delicious braised hairtail fish stew that was invented right here at the market! This is an iconic dish you simply have to try when you get the chance.
- Opening Time: 24/7, Daily (some shops are closed on Sundays), Year-Round
- Location: Namdaemun Night Market
6. Cheonggyecheon Time Tour Market
Ever wish you had the ability to go back in time? Well, stopping by the Cheonggyecheon Time Tour Market is the next best thing!
This market is known for transporting patrons back in time as they enjoy traditional performances, games, and of course, food! The streets are lined with “cheongsa chorong,” which are traditional Korean lanterns that definitely complete the antique aesthetic. It’s a great spot for picture-taking, especially at night when the city view really comes alive.
Here at Cheonggyecheon Time Tour Market, you can get beautiful traditional handicrafts and knickknacks, as well as watch cool performances you won’t be able to see anywhere else. Usually, there are also free and fun activities that anyone can try!
But of course, we can’t miss talking about food. Travel back in time and live like ancient Korean kings as you feast on sumptuous grilled meats! The smell is enough to make your mouth water. Here at Cheonggyecheon Time Tour Market, you have a wide range of food stalls to choose from, but we especially recommend getting a bite of some delicious barbecue.
- Opening Time: 5 PM – 10 PM (Saturdays), 4 PM – 9 PM (Sundays), April – October
- Location: Cheonggyecheon Time Tour Market
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7. Gwangjang Market
Definitely one of the liveliest markets on this list is Gwangjang Market. This is the go-to spot for many locals picking up their weekly groceries because of the fresh quality produce and a wide variety of items. If you want a taste of old Seoul, then this is definitely the place to go.
Aside from food and produce, you can also shop at Gwangjang Market for good-quality traditional Korean clothing, souvenirs for your loved ones, and more.
Of course, a long day of shopping calls for a reward–and here at Gwangjang Market, what better reward than some steaming hot bindaetteok and ice-cold makgeolli? Bindaetteok are sweet mung bean flour pancakes that are known as the market’s specialty. It’s best served with an ice-cold glass of makgeolli, also known as rice wine!
- Opening Time: Until 7 PM (11 PM for Street Food Stalls), Year-Round
- Location: Gwangjang Market
8. Hongdae Weekend Night Market
If you’ve seen enough K-Dramas, then the name “Hongdae” might be familiar. It’s a really popular district among young people–and the young at heart! This trendy place is known for being the home of vibrant nightlife.
But aside from that, Hongdae also has a huge market where you can find yummy Korean snacks and street food, as well as lots of booths selling a wide range of items! There are also tons of pop-up art fairs, craft sales, and even buskers and performers! Hongdae truly has it all, which makes it the perfect spot for spending your entire weekend.
Hongdae is especially popular for its mouthwatering Korean barbecue–especially samgyupsal (pork belly) and galbi (pork or beef ribs)! There are lots of restaurants specializing in these delicious meats right here at Hongdae. We recommend filling up your tummies before walking around the market to help you digest.
- Opening Time: Until 11 PM, Year-Round
- Location: Hongdae Weekend Night Market
9. Noryangjin Fish Market
Calling all seafood lovers! Did you know that Seoul has a market just for you? Most people forget, but Seoul is a port city after all. That means that it’s a great hub for fresh and high-quality seafood! One of the best places to get a taste of traditional Korean seafood dishes is definitely at Noryangjin Fish Market.
Here you can purchase fresh seafood so you can cook up delicious dishes at home–or you can also opt to just eat the dishes right here at the market. Of course, being a fish market, here you can sample a wide variety of seafood dishes that are sure to satisfy your cravings! Restaurants at Noryangjin Fish Market also make their side dishes in-house, so you can be sure to get the most authentic tastes.
- Opening Time: 24/7, Year-Round
- Location: Noryangjin Fish Market
10. Banghakdong Dokkaebi Market
Banghakdong Dokkaebi Market has a pretty interesting name–and history. Dokkaebi actually means “goblin,” a common creature in Korean folklore. The name references the early vendors of the market who used to scatter off into the night every time cops came by. This is because it used to be illegal to sell your wares here.
Luckily, that’s not how it is anymore. Even though the name stuck, the vendors at Banghakdong Dokkaebi Market no longer need to hide from the police as what they’re doing is completely legal–and celebrated by the community! Here you can find fresh food, dry goods, clothes, and even household items like bedding–all for cheap price points!
Banghakdong Dokkaebi Market is especially popular for its selection of delicious traditional side dishes, also called “banchan.” Side dishes are super big in Korean cuisine. If you go to a Korean restaurant, you’ll often see more than 10 small plates and bowls each holding a different side dish in addition to your meal.
- Opening Time: 9 AM – 11 PM
- Location: Banghakdong Dokkaebi Market
11. Mangwon Market
We can’t list the best night markets in Seoul without Mangwon Market! Located near Hongdae and the Han River, Mangwon Market is the perfect place to drop by during your trip to Seoul. Mangwon Market is especially famous for having cheaper prices, especially compared to other markets in the area.
Here you can buy everything: from your weekly necessities to high-quality ingredients for special occasions! Mangwon Market has also gotten pretty popular recently, and many famous celebrities and idols have stopped by to grab a bite.
When it comes to Mangwon Market, you have to try the kalguksu. Kalguksu is a dish made with handmade wheat flour noodles in a delicious savory broth. It’s a very comforting meal–not to mention, super cheap! Mangwon Market has a lot of kalguksu restaurants that have gotten more popular recently, so we recommend going early to avoid long lines.
Another famous food in Mangwon Market is croquettes! This French classic gets a Korean twist here at Mangwon Market. Aside from regular potato croquettes, there are tons of other unique flavors like kimchi croquettes, japchae croquettes, and cream cheese croquettes that you just have to try!
- Opening Time: 9 AM – 9 PM
- Location: Mangwon Market
12. Oil Tank Culture Park Night Market
We finish this selection with the coolest and most innovative markets on this list. Close to the Hongdae neighborhood, we have the Oil Tank Culture Park Night Market. Based on the name, you can tell this market has a pretty interesting backstory. It used to be a private oil depot that was closed off to the public.
When it was closed in 2002, the space just kind of sat there without any purpose. Then in 2014, the government decided to renovate it and turn it into an eco-friendly cultural space. So this place is not just a market–it’s also an exhibition hall, performance venue, and more all in one!
Here you can enjoy a leisurely picnic while exploring the different pop-up shops and watching the amazing busking performances. Of course, none of this would be complete without any delicious food! The snacks change every time, but one of the staples is definitely fried chicken. The crunchy outer skin and juicy meat will have you declaring that Korean fried chicken is the best in the world!
- Opening Time: 4 PM – 9 PM, Fridays & Saturdays, April – October
- Location: Oil Tank Culture Park Night Market
What did you think of our list? Which market in Seoul are you most excited to go to?
Traditional Korean markets are not just a great way to have some yummy food, but also to get to know the daily life and culture of such an interesting city like Seoul. Here you can see how locals interact and which products are currently on trend–things you won’t be able to see in regular tourist locations!