Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

Visiting Jeju's Farmer's Markets When Teaching in Korea

Posted on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 @ 12:06 PM

Shopping at the 5 day market!

It appears that the local, healthy food movement has hit Korea just as hard as it has the United States. It seems like everywhere I look these days on Jeju, restaurants and supermarkets are advertising their local meat and produce. While it is nice to be able to get fresh, local food in restaurants and supermarkets, I still prefer buying food at farmer's markets. Fortunately, Jeju supposedly has one of the largest outdoor farmer's markets in Korea. Not only is it a great place to get food, but it also an amazing cultural experience as well. Some of my fellow English teachers and I always make it a point to visit it every week.

Jeju's farmer's market is just known as the 5 Day Market amongst the expat community of English teachers here in Korea. This is because the market is held on any day that ends in a 2 or 7, so every five days. You can find everything here at reasonable prices. I buy vegetables, meat, spices, and seafood here on a regular basis. Even though a lot of the farmers don't speak English that well, I have been able to form a decent relationship with them just by showing up every week and always buying the same amount. The market even sells plants, pets, clothes, and furniture. On occasion, I have found some great deals on clothes and plants here as well. My apartment is now decked out in bonzai and cacti!

Some places will even serve the food you buy at one of their stalls. If you buy a medley of vegetables, they will offer to cook you up a small meal with some of your purchases. This is one of the reasons that I find shopping at farmer's markets in Korea to be such a cultural experience. Another reason is that customers are expected to haggle a little. With my poor Korean skills and their low level of English, this can make for an entertaining spectacle. This is just all part of the fun. Last but not least, my friends and I are usually the only foreigners we see in the market. We are a group of Americans surrounded by a sea of Koreans. I find that places like that often offer the greatest opportunities to experience Korean culture.

So if you are looking for a little different shopping experience as an English teacher in Korea, plus healthy organic, local food, you must visit a Korean farmer's market. I highly recommend going with a Korean or at least someone who speaks good Korean as you are bound to come across some strange food items and a chance to haggle. 

Shop with a Korean speaker!!

But if you are feeling adventurous, just go it alone!




Adam Montgomery is a 25-year old teacher at the Chungdahm Branch on Jeju.  He has been teaching in Korea for under a year.  When he is not teaching, he enjoys exploring the wonders of Jeju and Korea.
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Tags: shopping in Korea, food in Korea, cultural experience, farmer markets in Korea

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