06 August 2009


Here's a semi-random photo from the Oncheonjang shijang. I've been fascinated with the idea of the shijang since my arrival here; a very old street market tradition that still thrives alongside modern supermarket culture.

The shijang (street market) is a lively, human affair. Colourful, noisy, smelly, it fills all the senses with a riotous overload of experience. And bargaining, etc. an entirely human matter, is part and parcel of the experience. As a foreigner I've fallen on both sides of an imaginary fence. Some of the old ladies charge me much less for a basket of proffered goods, some of them charge me double the market value. When I first got here, it was a little confusing, to say the least.

I'm still no market veteran like the ajummas (elder aunts == middle-aged women) who rule the place. But at least I don't pay more than a reasonable price for veggies anymore. The shijang can be a bargain or a ripoff, depending on your research before heading into it.

I like it. Even if I sometimes pay a little more for things, I usually make out even in the end and have a fair bit of human experience into the bargain. A pretty good deal in my books.

1 comment:

  1. It all sounds very exciting...wish we had markets like that here :)
    I have fond memories of some of the middle eastern bazaars... seems similar from your description...


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