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"Short stories and travel reports from my life adventures around the globe".

Travel Report: Seomun Night Market, Daegu.

Seomun Night Market.

April 2019. “Mate, I’ve got to take you to Seomun Night Market” hummed Wonderboy one morning, rubbing his hands together. “The food is just….”. I can’t remember exactly what adjective he used. But it didn’t matter, I was already sold on the words food and market. After all, this was South Korea, where the promise of a fine meal is never far away.

Seomun Market Daegu South Korea.

Hence we put an evening aside for a visit to the market. Armed with loaded wallets and hungry stomachs, we met up with one of Wonderboy’s teaching friends, Darren. The poor guy had only recently recovered from being hospitalized by food poisoning during a trip to Thailand! In for a penny in for a pound, Darren seemed just as keen as us for a night of Seomun’s famed culinary delights.

Seomun Night Market in Daegu.

Bypassing the usual tat in search of food.

Seomun Night Market is the largest traditional street market in Daegu, with over four thousand stores. I’ve even read a few articles claiming it’s the biggest night market in the world. While there’s a focus on textiles, you can find pretty much anything here. It’s just a matter of searching through the logical grid system of lanes and alleys.

Luckily, we knew exactly where we were heading. Following the smell of sizzling meat and the sound of derivative soft rock, we made our way through the long row of terraced food stalls. I love how the singer even gives me a little wave as we stopped to politely nod our heads.

Seomun Night Market, Daegu.

Wonderboy and Darren were already Seomun Night Market veterans and therefore keen to give me their recommendations. As you’d expect, the place offers just about every traditional Korean plate you could think of, in addition to a variety of fusion dishes and international favourites.

Hotteok pancakes Seomun Night Market.

Hotteok.

The first thing I tried was Hotteok, a traditional Korean pancake topped with brown sugar, cinnamon and sesame seeds. Tasty and cheap, I put this down as my first Seomun Night Market win!

Giant turkey legs Seomun Market Daegu.

Giant turkey legs, Seomun Night Market.

At this stall, the pitch was giant turkey legs “fit for a dinosaur”. Of course I had to try one.

Giant Turkey leg.

A big old leg of turkey.

The thing was so damn heavy and it came with a paper glove to protect my hands from all the deliciously disgusting grease. Mmmmm.

Where to Eat, Daegu.

Cheese stuffed beef burgers Seomun Market Daegu.

Cheese-stuffed beef burgers.

At another stall, the speciality was juicy chunks of sizzling beef stuffed with cheese. If I hadn’t just eaten that colossal turkey leg….

There was also a highly popular sushi station. All you have to do is choose your topping and they’ll put it all together on the spot. Should you opt for beef strips, the lady whips out her flamethrower and gets to work. No messin’

Food market Daegu.

Seomun Night Market, Daegu.

Everything I tried that night was amazing. Furthermore, it’s clear you could come here at least a dozen times and not eat the same thing twice.

Seomun Market Daegu.

Pleased as punch with my shitty bag.

Unfortunately, my memories of the market will always be a little tainted by my regretful misadventures in bag shopping. I was in need of a hefty holdall for my upcoming flight from Seoul to London. The bag seemed fine, I even tested it out. Sadly, the handle collapsed on me during its maiden voyage from Daegu to Jeonju. In all my years of Asian market shopping, this was my first major fail.

But how about those cheese-stuffed burgers?

Seomun Night Market is free to enter and open daily (except Sunday) from 19:00-23:30. Prior to COVID-19, it had an extended midnight closing on Fridays and Saturdays. Now, who knows what’s going on. The nearest metro stations are Sinman (Line 2) and Seomun Market (Line 3).

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For more on what to see and do in this hugely underrated city, check out my travel reports from Daegu.

Like this? Take a look at more of my pieces from around South Korea.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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13 Comments

  • carllbatnag

    Street food culture in South Korea is lit. Had a wonderful time exploring Seoul’s Myeongdong; was full because of the variety. Haha

    June 2, 2019 - 2:46 pm Reply
  • Korean Foods You Must Eat in Daegu, South Korea - David's Been Here

    […] of tasty treats you have to try at the historic Seomun Market, I highly recommend you try the hodu-gwaja. This is a ball-shaped cookie or pastry made from waffle […]

    September 7, 2019 - 4:04 pm Reply
  • Zoewiezoe

    That hotteok looks OMG! :O
    -drool-

    October 21, 2020 - 10:13 am Reply
    • Leighton

      They’re pretty good! Thanks for reading.

      October 21, 2020 - 10:24 am Reply
  • Katie Askegaard

    Korean street food is seriously next level!!!

    October 21, 2020 - 11:09 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Absolutely! Thanks for reading.

      October 21, 2020 - 11:10 am Reply
  • I’ve Bean Travelling

    Love the street food in South Korea!

    October 21, 2020 - 1:41 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers! Me too.

      October 21, 2020 - 1:55 pm Reply
  • Memo

    You had me on food. My kind of place but I would probably skip the turkey leg. Love the pictures though.

    October 21, 2020 - 8:00 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Oh Memo, the turkey leg!!!

      October 21, 2020 - 8:03 pm Reply
  • Rebecca

    I’ve been dying to try hotteok ever since I saw it from a Korean YouTuber make it in one of his videos…I have a voracious sweet tooth! That turkey leg looks super intimidating, but kudos to you for hacking through it! Your post makes me excited to go to South Korea some day, just for the markets!

    October 22, 2020 - 4:31 am Reply
    • Leighton

      I have a voracious sweet tooth too and always enjoy your L.A. cake photos. Thanks for reading!

      October 22, 2020 - 8:42 am Reply

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