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Traditional markets now a buzzy hang-out for MZ generation

Traditional markets now a buzzy hang-out for MZ generation

At around 7 pm on the 11th, the Gwangjang Market Food Alley located in Jongno 5-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul was so full of people that it was difficult to find a place to even step. At every stall in the middle of the street, tteokbokki, sundae, and gimbap were shining brightly under the yellow light, and the fragrant smell of fried Bindaetteok lured passersby. Most of the people in the stalls and shops were ‘2030’ young people. 

Since last April, social distancing has been lifted, and traditional markets all over Seoul are reviving. In particular, Gwangjang Market and Mangwon Market are emerging as hot places among the MZ generation by word-of-mouth on social media such as YouTube and Instagram. In fact, as of the 11th, if you search for ‘Gwangjang Market’ on Instagram, more than 1.1 million posts were exposed. 

Jung Eun-jae (57), who has been selling snacks at Gwangjang Market for 14 years this year, said, “Young people started to flow into the market five years ago, and the proportion has increased significantly in particular recently. Today, half of the customers who come are young people in their 20s and 30s.” 

Tourists are also getting on the buzz, as Gwangjang Market is frequently listed as a famous tourist destination to visit. Matt (32), who visited Korea on a trip from France, said, “I searched for famous tourist spots in Seoul on the Internet, and there were many articles recommending this place, so I came here today. Every street in the market smells delicious, and there are a lot of people, so I think today will be a good memory.” James (31), who came from the United States, also said, "I'm eating makgeolli and Bindaetteok for the first time, and it's really delicious.”

A 27-year-old aunt living in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, was waiting for the chicken gangjeong that she and her partner ordered at a restaurant in Mangwon Market. Mr. Lee said, "I thought it would be the old atmosphere because of the name of the market, but these days, wine shops and restaurants with a 'hip (new and unique)' atmosphere have opened up, so I felt new." They seem to always buy snacks like kimbap or croquettes.” 

Seoul Jungang Market near Sindang Station in Jung-gu, Seoul is famous for its gourmet alleys. As her singer Seong Si-kyung introduced the restaurants in this market alley on her YouTube channel, the ‘2030’ young generation has a lot to visit. In a store selling meat Jeon and Bindaetteok, only young customers were seated and drinking makgeolli, and more than 30 people were lining up at the restaurant introduced on Mr. Sung's YouTube channel. 

Source: Cha Jin-yeop, SK Herald (June 2022) 

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