'This way! Come here!'
'Buy now or eat it, no pictures!'
Those with rather fierce aunts may understand with some cringing what it means to be yelled at by these particular women. Imagine if you will then, being in narrow streets stuffed to the skies with water tanks filled with squirming squids and flopping fish, pushy people rushing about with ice bags and buckets, grills covered with sizzling seafood and filling the air with a heavy fishy smell, while hundreds of your fiercest aunts scream at you from all sides. These women are the famous hawkers of South Korea's largest fish market.
Jagalchi Market (자갈치시장) is one of the most exciting and dynamic places in South Korea. Located in Busan (부산), the second largest city in South Korea and a major world seaport, Jagalchi Market was established in 1876 and remains today a magnificent, and often overwhelming, living representation of Busan and South Korean culture.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the market is not just the notoriously vociferous sellers or colorful dialect heard only in Busan, but the seafood that languishes in water basins set everywhere in orderly chaos. Should you manage to shoulder your way through two arguing women wearing knee high rubber boots (which you might wish you were wearing as you march through the dripping streets) and peer over a group of hagglers, you would see creatures of all sorts; oysters and clams squirting placidly next to a tub of red anemones that look definitely inedible set beside whole schools of fish drifting in place as they gaze at a blinking octopus nearby.
Jagalchi Market is more than a mere tourist attraction. It is a breathing and thriving legacy of South Korean history, a place where the livelihoods of many are made and the heart of Busan beats.
The world may be an oyster, but Jagalchi Market's world is much, much more than that.