Exploring Gyeongdong Market: Red Rice and Dried Lizards

Tortoise Shell and Dried Lizard at Gyeongdong Market
Gyeongdong Market over by Jegi Station is one of my favorite markets to explore. It is one the last truly traditional markets and it is not overrun with tourists. Actually, I think if tourists came through there in big groups, the shopkeepers would run them out of there with pitchforks. 
I always manage to see things at this market that I haven’t come across before. Last week in an oriental medicine market I saw a dried lizard on a stick and a tortoise shell. I asked what the lizard was for and the doctor said it was good for tonics for people with eyesight issues. The tortoise shell is good for the kidney and liver (though it might be a bit difficult to chew).
In the central market area, it is always fun to walk around to talk with the vendors. One thing I always stop to get are the peeled chestnuts. Chestnuts in Korea are sweet and fresh tasting and they pop when you bite into it. They are good roasted or boiled, but I like them fresh.
The last very interesting I saw was a bag of red barley rice. The rice was the color of the sunset in the dessert. The barley is marked as being native to Korea. The color is fascinating and I wonder how it tastes. I’ll have to pick some up next time.
Anchovy and Clam Vendors at Gyeongdong Market
Red Rice
Rice at Gyeongdong Market

Daniel Gray

Daniel Gray is a Korean adoptee and entrepreneur that returned to Korean in 2005 because he wanted to try and find his birth mother and to learn about Korean culture. He started a restaurant review blog in 2007, www.seouleats.com, that became a local and international hit. He and his blog has been featured in the New York Times, Monocle Magazine, The Kimchi Chronicles, Bizarre Foods, Rudy Maxa, Olive Magazine, Euronews and much more. He now is a partner at O’ngo Food Communications (www.ongofood.com), which is a culinary tourism and consulting company that offers Korean cooking classes and restaurant tours to travelers. In 2013, he started Brew 3.14 Pizza Pub. His food tours, cooking classes, and restaurant are ranked as some of the top attractions in Seoul according to the website tripadvisor. He lives in Korea with his wife.

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