After recently hearing of a Filipino Market within the boundaries of Seoul, I decided it was worth a visit. One of Korea's sizable minorities, one Korea Times article claims there to be almost 46,000 Filipinos in Korea - often doing the jobs in the '3 D's' category (dirty, dangerous, or difficult). The market nearby the Hyehwa Catholic Church gives them to share information, give or get assistance, and purchase a taste of home. As a fellow foreigner in Korea, I found myself sharing in their community, albeit still as an outsider of sorts.
Some hand-made sausages - just a few of the many food items for sale here.
Hidden in that blue cooler were some of the only cans of A&W Root Beer I've ever seen in Korea.
Canned foods, phone cards, dressings, condiments, meat, and even a few things familiar to my American eyes (Quaker Oats, anyone?) were available. In general, the merchants speak very good English, and little bargaining is necessary unless you're purchasing large quantities or large-ticket items.
Don't wait until next year's Seoul Friendship Fair to sample some authentic Filipino food. Expect it to cost a bit more than Korean street food, but then again you're getting a full meal for your money.
The aforementioned Hyehwa Catholic Church - between the rotary and the church was the market, although visiting this area on a Sunday afternoon is a great opportunity to meet another group of fellow foreigners here in Korea.
Come for the shopping, then linger for the socialization - either way, it'll be time well spent.
Ratings (out of 5 taeguks):
Ease to arrive:
Worth the visit:
Directions to the Filipino Market: Take line 4 of the Seoul subway system to the Hyehwa station. Take exit 1 to street level, then walk straight until you get to the rotary. Open on Sunday afternoons only; free entrance.
© Chris Backe - 2009