From huge fish markets that will prepare just about any sea life in any way you’d like, to beach-side fish and chip shops, Busan, South Korea is a seafood lover’s paradise. Whether you’re looking to sample grilled shellfish, sashimi or even live octopus, you’ll be sure to find the freshest and tastiest dishes at the following 12 restaurants.
Visiting Jalgalchi Market is a must when in Busan. South Korea’s largest seafood bazaar is a spectacle for the senses, and an experience that won’t be easily forgotten. Not only can you browse this aquarium of sorts, you can actually eat here, too. At Haewangsanghae, located in the market’s Raw Fish Center #97, you can select your own fish and have them cook it up for you in a variety of ways.
As one of the first restaurants to serve puffer fish soup in Korea, Geumsubokguk is a great place for the culturally curious to try delicacies such as bokjim, steamed puffer fish, and bokjiri, puffer fish soup, in a cozy setting.
Saengseon hwe, or Korean-style sashimi is, without a doubt, one of the most sought after seafood dishes in Busan. One of the best places to try it in the Haeundae area is Mipomaru, a no-frills restaurant that serves up good food with amazing views. But don’t just take our word for it; the restaurant’s walls are covered with the autographs of Korean celebrities who have visited to get a taste of Busan.
This “gravel yard” (it’s name is translated to English) is more of a seafood district than a singular dining establishment. Situated on the Yeongdo Sea, the area is lined with casual restaurants that all serve fresh seafood at affordable prices. Taejongdae is especially famous for coquille (various seafood dishes baked with a sauce and usually served in a scallop shell), so consider trying it while here. Note that operating hours vary by restaurant.
Located in The Bay 101 in Marine City, one of Busan’s most happening spots, Fingers & Chat is a wonderful little joint for Western-style seafood. Choose from sea bass, halibut, calamari, prawns, or the restaurant’s specialty, fish and chips. If the weather is nice, grab a spot on the terrace and enjoy the sea breeze with a cold beer.
Another stretch of seafood restaurants is Igidae Subjari, located near the beautiful Igidae Beach. Locals flock here for jangeo gui, grilled freshwater eel. Most of the restaurants in the area serve up briquette roasted eel, which many Koreans believe not only tastes delicious, but is especially good for men’s stamina. Operating hours vary by restaurant.
For something more atmospheric, make your way to the Cheongsapo neighborhood and grab a table at Noran Mahura. This open air tent restaurant offers a wide selection of local delicacies that are rich with the saltiness of the ocean. Its best seller, however, has to be jogae gui, grilled shellfish. Each table here is fitted with a mini grill, so that diners can cook their meal as they like it.
A favorite pastime of Busanians is visiting Gwangalli Beach Waterside Park and partaking in a seafood picnic. The restaurants surrounding the park serve up all the city’s seafood staples, and actually offer a discount for takeaway. To do as the locals do, simply bring your order to the park, lay down some newspapers, and enjoy your fish in the great outdoors!
Eel is one of Busan’s signature dishes, and there’s no better place to try it than Imosan Gomjanguh. Nestled in Bujeon Market, Busan’s widely known eel street, the restaurant has been serving up some of the city’s tastiest grilled eel for more than 30 years. One person should order at least two servings, so be sure to bring your appetite. Note that the restaurant is closed on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month.
Although you won’t find any traditional Korean seafood dishes here, you will find the best lobster roll on this side of the peninsula. The Haeundae Beach establishment boasts a warm atmosphere, great service and decent prices for the portions.
Like Jalgachi Market, Millak Raw Fish Town gives visitors the chance to shop for seafood on the first floor, then have it prepared to their taste at one of the many restaurants located upstairs. To get the real essence of Busan, sample the impressive spread of spicy fish stews, raw sea bream and rockfish. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, chow down on sannakji (live octopus).
Meaning “Grandma’s clear shellfish soup” in the Busan dialect, Halmae Jaecheopguk has a wholesome spirit which is translated in their dishes. The restaurant has an extensive history of serving jaecheopguk (clear shellfish soup) made with shellfish caught from the nearby Gupo area to refugees living in Busan during the Korean War. Because jaecheop is believed to be a powerful hangover cure, the 24-hour establishment is particularly popular in the mornings with those who may have enjoyed Busan’s nightlife a bit too much the night before.