Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sadie Sleeps through Dongmun Market and the Underground Mall

The area of the island where we live is a little remote, and folks often complain that there's nothing to do on the weekends. Tyler and I are used to making our own fun from our days in Kuwait, so in that spirit, I have made a Jeju bucket list of all the hilarious tourist attractions that I see signs for and say to myself, "I have got to go see that!"

Thus, one of the items on my list got marked off a few weeks ago when we went into the city to visit the Dongmun market and something the expats have dubbed the "Underground Mall." It was really interesting to see a Korean market, especially because we had just visited the Kuromon market in Osaka a few weeks before.

It was a cold snowy morning when we went, so folks seemed to be surprised to see us--non-Koreans-- braving the market with a baby. 

There were several stalls aimed at tourists. Jeju is famous for its citrus, so dried fruit dipped in chocolate or paired with something else is a popular souvenir found everywhere. 

The tchotchkes made of the igneous rock from the island is also a popular souvenir. Not pictured: the honey liquor that comes with a penis shot class that is supposedly an aphrodisiac. Also a popular souvenir item. 

Seafood is definitely a constant theme in Asian markets (really, all markets we've been to overseas), and this one did not disappoint. The Japanese market was all about fresh fish and exotic seafood, and the Dongmun market appeared to be all about fresh fish (as in still swimming in a tank) and a different spin on exotic seafood. 

Unlike other markets, there were entire stalls just for dried fish here. Whole fish, filleted fish, fish parts. All dried and ready to be used in soups. 

I'm not sure if it's a uniquely Jeju seafood item, but there were all kinds of shellfish! Lots of abalone, gooey duck, scallops...
...and some that I'd never seen before! 

Lots of tanks crammed full of live fish, shellfish, or octopus, some of whom were more proactive about getting out of their current situation than others.


These vibrantly silver fish are unique to Jeju, and are called hairfish because their tails are just a thing hair-like strand. I guess they're more like eels than typical fish. We haven't had any yet, but we've been told we must try some before we leave the island. 

Right next to the Dongmun Market is a shopping center that expats just call the Underground Mall. It's exactly what it sounds like. A shopping mall under ground. To hear others talk about it, it has everything, but really I felt like it was a cheap strip mall with souvenir shops and cheap clothes. Nothing that would fit someone like me, and sadly nothing that would fit Sadie yet, but it was a fun place to wander and people watch. 

We were all happy to be inside and away from the cold.


The whole place had a very '80s feel.

Within a few minutes of being warm, Sadie was out.
One of my favorite parts of shopping overseas is the English that shows up on clothes and accessories. It makes me feel like this is what Asian people feel when they see a tattoo in their language that says, "Serenity"...but actually it says "no moving" or something similarly badly translated. 

Harkens back to my Tiger Beat days. 

I read this in Christopher Walken's voice. 

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this store sold denim.  

After a couple hours of wandering we were hungry and the one restaurant in the underground mall that was open was too crowded to seat us. Sadie was so hungry she resorted to eating her shoe. 

An interesting part about eating at restaurant here: You order your main dish and they bring out a side plate for everyone at the table with you. ....Am I supposed to share this? ...cause....Joey doesn't share food.  

I'm glad we got to mark the market and the mall off our bucket list. It's good to know all the stuff that's sold in the market and it's worth a visit with friends and family that visit. Hint. Hint.

Vicariously yours, 

Oh yeah...the underground mall did sell SOME things in Sadie's size...

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