Dwaeji Gukbap, Jagalchi Market, BIFF – Busan


Garlic chives, kimchi, garlic, green peppers, onions, radish kimchi fermented baby shrimp, noodles

Our second day in Busan would also be our last full day, so we headed out early to try and hit up most of the tourist spots. For breakfast/lunch, we wanted to try the famous Dwaeji Gukbap, which is also known as pork soup and rice. Busan prides itself to have the best of this soup and there is even a street in the Seomyeon district that is filled with shops selling this soup. We headed there and just chose a shop. After placing our order, they brought us a huge dish. At first, I thought they were appetizers to eat, but we later figured out that you should put this into the pork soup. We didn’t end up throwing all these things in, since we weren’t sure. We did however throw the fermented baby shrimp in, which was quite interesting. It brings a bit of saltiness to the soup.


Dwaeji Gukbap

And the Dwaeji Gukbap arrived! The broth is a milky colour due to hours of boiling pork bone. You’ll find slices of pork shank and green onions in it. The soup is light but full of flavour. Super homey and is perfect on a rainy day. You are also supposed to put your rice in, but we didn’t know until later. Even just by drinking the soup on its own was absolutely delicious. I would say it’s one of my favourite Korean dishes! A must try in Busan!



We also added a Gamjatang, which is a very popular Korean dish. I’ve tried it in Vancouver as well, but I found the broth to taste a little different here. Gamjatang is a soup made of pork spine, vegetables, green onions, and hot peppers. It comes sizzling on a hot pot to keep the soup hot. The soup is quite spicy, and is absolutely delicious with rice. It came with potatoes, enoki mushroom and other green veggies. The pork spines have bone marrow in it which is supposed to be really good for you. There’s surprsingly quite a lot of meat hanging on the bones, so you actually get very full. However, I still favour the Dwaeji Gukbap over this one.


After lunch we headed to the Nampo-dong area. Nampo is famous for shopping, but nearby, you will also find BIFF or Busan International Film Festival. The festival is held in October and is one of the largest film festivals in Asia.


Obviously the festival wasn’t happening when we were there, but you can still see something similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


There are also various food stalls with long line ups. Food looked pretty good! We were all still full from lunch though.


Also within walking distance is the Jagalchi Market. It is the largest seafood market in Korea and is a top tourist spot in Busan. There are many restaurants here who will cook your seafood right away for you.


There is an outdoor market area as well as an indoor one. We took a peak in the indoor market and the floor was all wet and it smelled really fishy. We didn’t feel like going in, so we headed over to the outdoor market. The stalls sell a variety of seafood, from shellfish to prawns, crab, and fresh fish.


I think the most impressive part of the market were these huge octopi. Pretty much every stall sold octopus. They are ginormous! I believe you can also eat raw octopus here. They are supposed to suck on your tongue and lips, so you need to chew very quickly! I saw some that had been cut into bits already, but they are still squirming! Crazy… As a foodie, I should’ve probably tried it, but I just couldn’t… However, my Korean friends said they are really good and a delicacy!

Overall, Nampo is definitely worth checking out! Plus, you can check out BIFF and Jagalchi Market at the same time!

Mubanna Chondak (무봤나 촌닭): Korean Fried Chicken – Busan


After lunch in Myeong-dong, we headed to Seoul Station, where we would take the KTX train to Busan. Busan is the second largest city in South Korea and is the fifth largest seaport in the world! It’s famous for the beaches and seafood! If you want to travel to Busan from Seoul, you can get the KR Pass as a foreigner. You can get unlimited travel from 1 to 10 days, depending on the pass you buy. It’s a much cheaper deal. For us, we purchased the 3 day unlimited pass, and used it for a round trip. You also get a discount if you’re younger than 25 or are traveling with more than 2 people. Purchase it online before you go, and you can select any time after your reservation date. It took around 2 hours to arrive, but since we left Seoul late, we arrived early evening. We stayed in the Haeundae area, which is famous for the beach. We walked around the area and found a bunch of bars. We ended up looking for fried chicken, since we always see it in Korean dramas. The restaurant was called Mubanna Chondak and is a chain restaurant in Busan.


Kimchi and Tofu

It was really difficult to communicate in Busan, since they seemed to know less English. The server was still very friendly and tried his best to recommend us food. After ordering, he brought us complimentary appetizers. There was a size of kimchi, which I found spicier than usual. There was also tofu with sesame seeds on it. The tofu really has no flavour, but K loved it.


Spicy Octopus

Next, we tried the Spicy Octopus. It came on a grill on top of a hot pot stove. There were around 10 tiny octopi! After one bite, we all realized how spicy it was! Super spicy! Not to the point where I couldn’t feel my taste buds anymore, but one where I wanted to keep drinking water. The octopus was so tender though! The sauce was also really delicious. A definite recommend!


Boneless Chicken in Chili Pepper Paste Sauce

The server recommended us to get the Boneless Chicken in Chili Pepper Paste Sauce. He said it’s one of the more popular dishes. Again, it’s in a chili pepper paste sauce, so very spicy. Definitely not as spicy as the octopus though. It’s a mix of chicken that isn’t fried or battered, and is mixed with rice cake, corn, peas and comes with a side of noodles. You’re supposed to mix the noodles with the chicken, which I found quite interesting. We loved the rice cake mixed in and wish there was more. Sadly, we were looking for fried chicken, so we were a bit disappointed that we didn’t have the real fried chicken we always see. He also ended up putting down 2 orders of this, as he couldn’t understand what we wanted. Oh well. Tons of leftover though!


The chicken also comes with a cabbage salad that is topped with ketchup and mayo. This was definitely needed as our food was quite spicy!


Steamed Egg

Lastly, we also got a Steamed Egg, which is filled with green onions. Not bad, and was something to help calm our palettes down.

Overall, the food was actually pretty good here! It’s quite casual and almost seems like a fast food restaurant. I believe you can also choose the spice level for the food. We had asked for mild, but it’s still pretty spicy… I guess Koreans can really take their spice!

Octopus’ Garden

Fresh Oyster

Assorted Sashimi

Uni (Sea Urchin) Nigiri Sushi

Had dinner at Octopus Garden in the Kitsilano neighbourhood. The sashimi was very fresh and the rolls were very unique. However, the restaurant is very small, so it’s hard to find seats. The restaurant is owned by Japanese, so the food and environment is very authentic. It’s a bit on the pricier side, but the quality is excellent. Overall, very satisfied!

Find out more at: www.octopusgarden.ca

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