Busan is South Korea’s second city, and it’s perfect just the way it is. Busan has many world class attributes including truly unique and incredible food, nightlife, art and shopping scenes, and you can opt to hop around trying a little bit of everything all day, or spend the day luxuriating at one of the most famous jimjilbang spas in the world.
The beach in Haeundae is super fun for families by day, and spectacular for people watching and catching amazing buskers in performance by night.
Perhaps all of these wonderful elements that make Busan great, however, are fueled by the city’s proximity to the water, and the heart and soul of the city can be found at Jagalchi Fish Market.
The sights and colors of the market alone are a great draw, and if you move slowly and pay attention you can really take in a sense of the lives of the people who subsist off of selling fish here. The octopus sellers had perhaps the most demanding jobs at the market, constantly keeping watch for the escaping octopi climbing out of their tanks and slinking down the pavement, hellbent on making it back to the nearby sea.
When we felt hungry, we picked a place right in the market that looked appealing, and sat for lunch. We ordered the barbecue eel, and our chef pulled an eel right out of a tank in the front of the restaurant, gutted and prepped it, and then cooked it right at our table. It was slightly gruesome, and the experience certainly contrasted with the pleasant and colorful beauty of the market around us. Good thing the eel tasted delicious served along side fresh fried hake with sesame leaves, banchan fixings, and of course kimchee.
For dessert, we went back to Jung Hang Woo Cake Shop near the Jagalchi metro stop for second helpings of their light and fluffy choux puffs with cream filling.
This blog entry is a love letter from Cooler Kitchen to the city of Busan. Your easygoing, playful vibe has stolen our cynical little New Yorker hearts completely!