With numerous beaches, a big city and a bountiful ocean nearby, Busan has all the ingredients for being a seafood-lover’s perfect destination. Famous for having the largest fish market in South Korea and known for its distinctive food culture, Busan unsurprisingly is home to excellent seafood restaurants. Munch your way to happiness, starting with these favourites below.
You can’t get much more authentic than this. Spend some time perusing Jagalchi Fish Market, then head up to the second floor, where Jacky and his team will give you a hearty Korean welcome. As you’d expect with the market just below, the food is fresh and consistently excellent. Traditional Korean side dishes, such as pickles, also accompany the main dish. Although the market can seem a little daunting, don’t worry; Jacky speaks great English and is happy to recommend dishes, so you’re sure to have a great meal even if you don’t know your shabu-shabu from your shrimp.
This restaurant was one of the very first to introduce blowfish soup to Korea. In an old-world, cosy setting, diners at Geumsu Bokguk are treated to a number of authentic local recipes that highlight Busan’s exquisite seafood. Famous within Korea, this restaurant is almost always buzzing; be prepared to wait at busy times. But with the cheery, caring staff serving various delicacies with a smile, it’s worth the wait. Highlights on the menu include bokjim (steamed puffer fish) and bokjiri (puffer fish soup).
Tucked away in the sleepy fishing village of Cheongsapo, Suminine is one of Busan’s best-kept secrets. It specialises in grilled eel and clams served with onions, cheese and Korean side dishes. It was recently featured on a Korean television programme called VJ Special Forces, and is popular with visitors and locals alike. Food is charcoal-grilled at your table, Korean-style. The location and ambiance is typical of local no-frills dining, providing an authentic Korean seafood experience. It’s just a short cab ride, costing approximately 10,000 won ($9.30/£6.57), from the tourist hotspot Haeundae Beach. You can also take bus number 2 from Jangsan subway station.
Another restaurant in Jalgalchi Market is Haewangsanghae. Browse South Korea’s largest seafood bazaar, then head to Haewangsanghae, located in the market’s Raw Fish Center #97. Here you can select your own fish and have it prepared fresh in a variety of ways. Expect delicious food, Korean hospitality and a dinner to remember.
If you’re missing some good old fish and chips, this is the place for you. Fingers & Chat specialises in Western-style seafood like calamari, prawns, sea bass or halibut, and their signature dish is the afore-mentioned fish and chips. It’s located in The Bay 101, in the expat-friendly Marine City, and also serves good beer. If the weather’s nice, there’s an outdoor terrace, where guests can enjoy the sea breeze.
Not a singular restaurant, but a collection of establishments, the name of this restaurant translates to ‘gravel yard’. Famous for their coquille (various ocean fish and shell fish baked together in a sauce and served in a scallop shell), the restaurants all look out across Yeongdo District and its sea views. Operating hours vary by restaurant, as do prices, so do your research. It’s worth paying a little extra, however, for the local buzzing atmosphere.