Thursday, November 1, 2012

King Crabs and Lobsters at Noryangjin Fish Market

That cat ruins everything.

Trying to bargain for crabs while sporting a spiked collar, faux-hawk, and full-on goth makeup = pretty awkward.

Grrrr....*snarl*....Give us crab.....

It's king crab season RAUGHT NAW, and I cannot get enough of it.  If you're interested in lobster, here's the deal.  Lobster is not local.  It has to be flown in from Canada, and the ones that don't die en route have a fat tax levied on them.  The end result is 45,000 won per kilo (I got them down to 40,000).  The craziness is that lobster prices are at an all-time low over in 'murrica!  $4.99 a pound retail?  That's $11 a kilo....which means they are charging almost FOUR TIMES the retail price.  I know freight and customs need to be factored in, BUT even then, insane.  It's just not worth it (unless it's your birthday!).

Happy Birthday to me!

What I do recommend is the king crab!  It's local and in season which means CHEAP AND DELICIOUS!  It's a rare thing to have access to fresh, live king crab.  King crab in America is $20 a pound versus 20,000 won a kilo in Korea.  It's actually CHEAPER here!  Definitely a perk about living in Korea that people need to capitalize on.

I've found that the prices are cheaper at the stalls closer to the stairway entrance of the market than the stalls on the farther end.  There are different price brackets according to the size of the crab - the bigger, the higher the per-kilo price.  Prices start at 20,000 won per kilo and go up in 5,000 won increments based on size.  However, if you're good at bargaining (and perhaps wearing a spiked collar), you can get the price of any crab down to 20,000 won per kilo.  However, getting the lowest price isn't everything.  You can end up with a crab with a huge egg sac (not edible), which is making up most of the weight.  These and smaller crabs are the ones that go for 20,000 won a kilo.  It's a better deal to pay 5,000 won more a kilo and go for quality, all-meat crabs.

Not what you want.

You could take your crab home and steam him yourself, but make sure you have a pot big enough.  Boiling a king crab is the same as boiling a lobster.

If you're only going to be eating crab (no sides), I would get about a kilo of crab per person.  With sides, anywhere from .5 to 1 kilo a person would be appropriate.

I really recommend staying at the market and having them do all the work.  We paid a sitting fee of 3,000 won per person, and then 5,000 won per crab to have it steamed which worked out to be 6,750 won per person.  When we were leaving, they tried to say they meant 5,000 won per kilo (not crab), so be sure to check your bill and yell your head off at the right people.

I've been to Seoul Restaurant in the basement, and they really know how to steam that crab.  So buttery and succulent.  It didn't even need a butter dipping sauce.  But Seoul Restaurant or no, pretty much any restaurant in that market knows how to steam a crab so anywhere is good.  Some restaurants only do sashimi so don't get huffy if you get turned away - not all places will steam your crab.

Tip: Bring bread along to tip in the crab water.  I know it looks like number 3, but it doesn't taste like it!

To get to Noryangjin Fish Market, you can either take line 1 or 9 to Noryangjin Station.  The line 1 station has only one exit.  From there, you cross the bridge on the right to go over the tracks and you'll land in the Noryangjin Fish Market parking lot.  To get into the market, go into the white structure where the staircase is and walk down a level or two until the market manifests.

I've never taken line 9 to the market, but I know it's exit 2.  From there, look for signs for the Noryangjin Fish Market.

Seoul Restaurant can be found on MangoPlate, a restaurant discovery app available in English and Korean.


  1. I also want some crabs and seafoods. They are one of the best feast ever.

  2. Mmmm good tip about bringing your own bread. Judging by the pictures, this is the only meal in Korea that doesn't come with rice.



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