Friday 24 July 2015

Local delicacies at Sokcho Tourist & Fishery Market (속초 중앙시장)

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Formerly known as Jungang Market, Sokcho Tourist & Fishery Market is located within walking distance of the Sokcho Bus Terminal and is a great place to sample local cuisine. After a long tiring day at Mt Seorak, we had our hearts set on delicious hearty food to bring back to the hotel for our dinner.

Zoom in to view the directions!

It may look like a long distance but it's perfectly walk-able and once you see the food offerings there, oh it'll be worth the walk.

First up, dak-gangjeong (만석닭강정) from Manseok dak-gangjeong, a fried chicken tossed in sweet and spicy sauce. This particular brand is featured in many reality tv series so Pauline was very determined to find this particular shop. They were indeed popular because we kept seeing locals walking around, boxes of Manseok chicken in hand. It's not too difficult to find this shop, just look out for the abstract, calligraphy chicken logo!

They come in portions of a whole chicken. Yes, you don't get any less than 1 whole chicken per box.

Next up is a Sokcho specialty, ojingeo (오징어) sundae which is native to the Gangwon province. Perhaps the least icky of all sundae, this one is actually stuffed squid.

The squid is essentially stuffed with rice and vegetables and are eaten steamed or dipped in egg batter then pan-fried.

Of course we picked the latter and it's fried fresh before your eyes.

Eggy, seafood-y goodness.

This stall had the cheapest ojingeo sundae we came across. It's the same row as the Manseok dak gangjeong and the fried prawn fritters below.

Towards the end of the row, we came across this quiet stall selling saewoo twigim (새우 튀김) , fried prawn fritters.

Among all the other fried prawn fritter stalls, hers was the cheapest we came across. 6 pieces of shell-less prawns for 5,000 won ≈ RM17. These prawns are only half cooked so when you order, it's flashed fried to give you that crisp tempura texture.

Another option is 10 pieces for 15,000 won but these prawns are still in their shells. We also got a bottle of corn makgeolli from this shop and when we asked if one bottle is enough to make you drunk, she laughed and said you'd only go 'la la la~' and be very happy after. Funny description there.

Also while walking around, we found a seaweed shop with all seaweed items at 1,000 won. We bought a pack of seaweed for our dinner.

My favorite find was this hotteok stall which we came across when we were about to leave the market.

These palm-sized, Korean version of mochi are fried and flatten like most hotteok.

The cook is a friendly Chinese national so he'd happily converse with you in Mandarin.

Once fully cooked, it's cut in half and stuffed with nuts and sugar.

It is then stuffed into a paper cup - an ingenious way of catching all the bits that may drop which you can slid into your mouth easily. Don't waste any of that hotteok goodness!

Perfect golden brown crust and a caramelized sugar and nut mixture on the inside. That chewy and crunchy texture is awesome with the sweet and nutty flavors. Salivating right now.

From left, tteok (I missed a photo of the shop), fried prawn fritters in the paper bag, ojingeo sundae, instant rice from 7-11, the dak-gangjeong and a packet of seaweed sheets. The cup contains the corn makgeolli.

How did everything taste?

The tteok was chewy and filled with red bean. The skin was a little thick for my taste but the filling was fragrant and sweet. The ojingeo sundae was delicious! Stuffed with rice, vegetables, glass noodles and herbs, the cilantro gave the squid a fresh taste while the egg coating added a creamy texture. A must try.

Crispy prawn fritters stayed crispy all the way back to the hotel though I'd suggest eating them the minute you buy them cause they don't taste as good cold. My favorite was the chicken - sweet, spicy and tangy flavors and the chicken fried to perfection. The chicken was fried just nice, not burnt and the meat definitely not dry. Like every Korean, wrap the meat in some rice and seaweed. The rice was nuked in the microwave at 7-11 and it came out like fresh fluffy rice - quite amazing is this invention!

The market was a fun experience. There was so much to see and buy and the food we bought were all local, fresh and delicious.

More tantalizing food photos are available at lightkoreamontrealmadame and  nowthatistasty.


Here's a summary of what we ate during our trip, click the image below for a larger view.

Kindly compiled by my extremely efficient travel finance manager, the excel sheet for the above image is available here.