A traditional lunch at Tongin Market

Tucked away in the busy streets that run between the skyscrapers of Seoul are a couple of very nice street markets. One of the most fun and interesting markets is Tongin Market in the neighbourhood of Hyoja-dong. The market hall has 75 stands with the finest Korean food. What makes this market truly unique is the way you choose your dishes.

Arts & Culture
A filled ‘lunch box’

A filled ‘lunch box’

A revamped lunch box

Tongin Market has given a whole new meaning to the concept of the lunch box. Visit the Lunch Box Café and for a small payment you will receive a handful of coins and a tray with various compartments. Now you are all set to decide what to put in your lunch tray. The food stands sell a variety of delicious dishes, ranging from ginger cookies and rice cake to noodles in a spicy tomato sauce and dumplings with flavourful beef. For no more than 3 coins per dish, you are able to fill up your lunch tray. Once your tray is filled, head to the restaurant to enjoy your South Korean choices with a cup of tea.

Food for a healthy lifestyle

South Korean cuisine is based on medicinal food. Centuries ago, Koreans mostly ate to stay healthy or to become healthy – not because food was delicious. Today, people certainly appreciate a tasty meal, but the additions of unnatural products and greasy food are still banned in traditional Korean restaurants. Tongin Market sells a great variety of dishes with healing properties. You will find a lot of ‘spicy’ food which is supposed to help restore energy. The ginseng root increases intelligence, improves sexual performance, and strengthens the immune system when you are stressed. To reap these health benefits, order a cup of ginseng tea in the Lunch Box Café; or try something with cinnamon, an ingredient used in many sauces for its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. They have good food in South Korea.

View Guide