There is an expression in Busan that says, “It’s like a Dottaegi Market,” which means “a loud and bustling atmosphere,” Dottaegi, the old name of Gukje Market, is crowded and full of energy, items, and people.
Gukje Market was formed after the Korean War as US army items and other goods were gathered at the refugee capital of Busan. Along with Bupyeong Kkangtong Market, Jagalchi Market, and Bosu Book Street, Gukje Market forms the “Original Mega Commercial District of Busan.” Recently, with the success of the movie “Ode to My Father,” which centers on Gukje Market, the place welcomed its second golden era.
The suspension bridge that connects the market building to others is a rare landmark found in Gukje Market. You can locate it by checking out the numbers written on the suspension bridge. The stores facing each other on the alley, the arcade that covers the sky, and the suspension bridge create the feeling as if you are at an indoor amusement park.
Start exploring Gukje Market from Kkotbunine, featured in the film “Ode to My Father.” The inside of the market is similar to a large maze park as buildings create alleys that lead to even smaller lanes. You can circle the same spot in this maze-like space. Because there is a pattern to the maze, you will have to figure out where the hanbok alley and the bedding alley are after a few tries.
People should take their time checking out the Gukje Market because there are many things to see that will undoubtedly make time fly. You will feel like everything is at the market because many items such as toys, princess bags, and ugly dolls, are sold, which would sometimes beg the question, “Where in the world does one get an item like this?” The fun is discovering treasures in the pile of goods at the market.
Good food is essential in the market. Visit street vendors and eat Chungmu Gimbap, Bbibim dangmyeon (spicy glass noodles), eomuk (fish cake) and tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), fritters, and blood sausages for an authentic experience of the market. What if it’s inconvenient to stand while eating? Well this is a one-of-a-kind experience that you will only enjoy at the market.
Gukje Market is packed with numerous items that some would even say, “Everything that a person needs in life is here.” In other words, it’s a place that has “unnecessary but desirable items.” If you want to discover hidden treasures, explore while going through the bustling crowd.