Organic and sustainable food has been catching on in South Korea over the last few years. Awareness about the importance of a healthy diet has grown and so has the number of people interested in these topics.
The first Marcheat market was held for the first time in 2012 and was founded by Sukyang Kim with two other organic food enthusiasts. It is becoming bigger and bigger and since the first time has gathered organic farmers and handcrafters from all over the country.
I was looking for this kind of market in Korea and after a hint from a friend, I got to know about Marche@. We visited the market together last month.
It was a sunny day and it was perfect weather to walk around, meet people and chat over some delicious food. It was also a good opportunity to escape from the hectic Seoul life, and relax by going around the many stands and meet many people smiling at you and offering you a taste of their products.
The market had been very busy since early morning, even before the vendors could install their stands and start showing their products. I noticed that many of the people visiting the market have been here before or are actually regular customers who got to know the vendors better, so it was possible to listen to them chatting about their common interest in organic foods and many other things. I think this is one of the few markets in the city where it is possible to create such a communication between vendor and customer.
There was a huge variety of products available: organic apples from a family-run farm in the Daegu area (those apples went sold out very fast!) to homemade pickled vegetables, from several homemade jams (made with strawberries or green plum) to fresh basil pesto. Many fresh vegetables were also available of course, and my friend bought some green peppers and eggplants.
Next to these products, there were also many stands cooking food and serving some delicious treats. My attention was caught by a teokbokki stirred with vegetables and soy sauce and I couldn’t resist a taste. It was very tasty and I was very happy to try a non-spicy teokbokki for once.
Accidentally we met a friend of my friend who was working at a stand selling some great-looking vegetarian burritos and burgers. That was a very busy stand, and many people were queuing to get one. The vegetable patties were made with different beans and were very tasty. The bean-burger was juicy and very rich with flavor, plus the addition of fresh mint leaves gave the burger and burrito a fresh and “spicy” taste.
This market is a rare place for the Seoul scene and it is a perfect spot for a quiet Sunday morning. Enjoy walking around the stands, smell and taste some delicious food and talk to some enthusiastic and friendly people.
Marche@ is held every 1st Sunday (sometimes 2nd) of the month at Arko Art Center Plaza – Hyewha Station (line 4, exit 2 – walk straight 5 mins, and the market will be on your left). You can check the schedule at www.marcheat.net. The market will be held on Sunday, December 8 from 11:00am to 4:00pm.
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