Cable from Korea #3: decidedly fishy

Visiting Jagalchi fish market

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When I was eight or so, I insisted on my parents decorating my bedroom with fish wallpaper. They agreed to this, presumably in part because they loved me but I suspect mainly because it was an easier request to comply with than getting me a pet shark – which I was also constantly asking for. Suffice to say my younger self was really – and randomly – into marine biology. I wish I could have taken him to Jagalchi fish market.

Strangely given that I live in the mountains, it is a little odd that I can get there on the metro. But while Busan may reach up into the mountains, it’s the sea that defines it. For example, the roads are packed with lorries carrying shipping containers bound for places like Barbados. It even has a Maritime Museum. So it’s fitting that one of the main tourist attractions is somewhere selling fish.


Like an enormous amount of fish. There are dozens of stalls on two floors (plus the streets outside) each with shelves, tanks and boxes jammed with all kinds of aquatic life. As well as the kind of things that come to mind when someone says fish, I also saw octopuses, lobsters, crabs the size of coffee tables, plaice, eel and some rather gross looking sea worm things. There’s also a floor of seafood restaurants and a whole other market devoted to dried fish. But that’s less interesting because by the time fish are dried they don’t squirm, gulp or in the case of one enormous crab appear to be climbing out of their tank.

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