If you are traveling to Korea, one place that I would recommend you to visit is a jaerae sijang (재래시장: traditional Korean marketplace). Also known as jeontong sijang, the traditional markets are located throughout the peninsula and most of them are open to public year-around. I personally enjoy shopping at sijang rather than at modern department stores or malls. Especially for the groceries, shopping at traditional markets will save you money and allow you an access to fresh, local ingredients sold directly from the producers. A win-win for all!
Jungang Sijang (중앙시장) in central Daejeon is a historic landmark of the city. Located near Daejeon station, the market has been serving the citizens of Daejeon for many decades. My friend, who is a skilled craftsman, wanted to visit the market to get some materials so we headed to downtown on a Saturday.
The market is quite large and is divided into different sections – there are streets of dried foods, imported goods, home decor & interior, and hanbok (한복: traditional Korean clothes). The streets of hanbok is filled with small shops selling both traditional and modern hanbok. We visited few days before the Lunar New Year so we could spot families picking up new hanbok for the holidays. Among the hanbok stores were places selling fabrics and other accessories for crafting. Just what my friend was looking for.
We stopped by at a packaging supplies store. This was a great find as I have been looking for neat supplies to pack my homemade baked goods. So many different kinds of gift boxes, ribbons, and wrapping papers were stacked up like a factory. Lucky me to find this place so close to home!
The fabric stores at Jungang Market is quite famous in the city. I used to buy some fabrics here and took them to Canada as price and quality seemed to be a lot better here.
The accessory stores had everything I could imagine plus more. Just browsing through the store made me want to learn crafting. All kinds of materials needed for knitting, quilting, sewing, and practically anything that is DIY are available here at Jungang Market.
This made me laugh. Should I approve this message as a Canadian? Well, not every part of Canada is effing freezing..
Above all, I wanted to stress out that Hanbok Street at Jungang Market is not just about hanbok. If you are a craftsman then the place would be like a playground for you – just like it was for my friend.