Eating Octopus at Noryangjin Fish Market

Noryangjin Fish Market

Noryangjin Fish Market (노량진수산시장) is a wholesale fish market located in the Noryangjin area of Seoul, South Korea.

As one of Korea’s largest markets, Noryangjin has a plethora of fresh fish and sea creatures for sale.

Noryangjin Fish Market

When visiting a fish market, it is always a good idea to try some of the fresh seafood directly from one of the marketeers. I was not sure what I should try at the market, so I asked one of the female workers to suggest something I could eat.

I was not prepared for what she would suggest.

She told me that I should try sannakji, or live octopus.

At first I was extremely hesitant. I pictured myself starting to eat the octopus and then being choked to death as its tentacles stuck to my throat while it refused to become a homicide victim from drowning in my stomach acid.

The marketeer assured me that eating the live octopus was completely safe and that it also was delicious.

As she placed the octopus in my hand, I became very squeamish and I ended up throwing the octopus back at her before agreeing to taste it.

She caught the octopus as it flew mid-air and took it to the back of her stall to start cutting up its tiny body into small bite-sized pieces before placing the still-moving pieces into a container with gochujang (Korean red pepper paste).

I was led behind the stall where I sat down and was handed a pair of chopsticks.

The tentacles of the slimy octopus continued to slither around even after being detached from the body. They seemed to be gripping the container as if they were holding on to the container for dear life in an attempt avoid being eaten.

I dug my chopsticks into the pile of moving tentacles, and one by one, I picked up each piece, placed it into my mouth, and chewed each piece of the octopuses’ chewy gum-like body.

I was very surprised that I actually enjoyed the taste of the octopus.

And the whole experience was captured on video


 Tips For Visiting Noryangjin Market

  • Wear closed-toe shoes and a waterproof material, as the floor in the fish market is very wet. Avoid wearing suede or leather shoes, as they will easily get ruined.
  • The market is quite large, so walk around and see all of the food items at the different stalls
  • Taste at least one thing at the market, I recommend the live octopus (산낙지 – sannakji)

Noryangjin Market Basic Information

Hours of Operation: The market is open 24 hours a day, however, the busiest period is 3 am when the fresh fish are shipped in.

Address: 13-8, Noryangjin-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul

Getting There:  

  • [Subway] Take Line  1 to Noryangjin Station (노량진역) and take Exit 1. Head straight for about two minutes; Noryangjin is on your right.
  • [Bus] Take any bus heading towards Noryangjin Market.

Have you been to Noryangjin before? What was your experience like?
By |2018-04-08T13:03:41+00:00May 1st, 2014|Culinary Tourism, South Korea|5 Comments


  1. kemkem May 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    Ok..I like octopus and could eat it for ages, but don’t think l could eat it live! Brave girl.

    • Chanel May 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm - Reply

      Actually I was really nervous doing it at first, but it turned out to be pretty good 😀

  2. Sarah@Travelcake May 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    You’re so brave Chanel! I too would be scared that it would choke me! You look calm though, that’s reassuring! I would love to try it! On the top of my list!

  3. Agness May 17, 2014 at 6:38 am - Reply

    I love exploring fish markets and farmers’ markets when travelling. I’m a total freak when it comes to eating seafood, so I would definitely love this place and I can’t wait to make it there! Night walk would be amazing there!

    • Chanel May 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      Yes, you would definitely enjoy it there! When I visit Korea again, I definitely want to go there the 3 am to see all of the real action!

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