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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Hwagae Market, Hadong, Southern Gyeongsang: Shopping while enjoying Sakura Blossoms in the Commune of Hwagae-myeon

Extract from The Korea Times a.k.a Hankook Ilbo, written by Han Sang-hee.

Before Internet shopping malls and offline outlets, Koreans used to gather around marketplaces to purchase food, medicine and other daily necessities. Some markets were once-a-month events, while others were held once every three to five days.

Hwagae Market in Hwagae-myeon, Hadong County, Southern Gyeongsang Province - located near Mount Jiri, was one of the most popular markets in the country. Located between the two provinces of Jeolla and Gyeongsang, it was an ideal place to buy goods from both areas and it still runs as a market, as well as become a popular tourist spot.

The main products at the market were and still are mountain vegetables. When The Korea Times visited last month, sellers were getting ready for another busy day, displaying their newest products, arranging their fresh and dried vegetables at the front and making samples for visitors to try. Next to the market are small stalls where you can taste local food, from corbicula soup and fried sweetfish to sweetfish sushi.

With more people questioning the origin of products the market has also arranged colorful and welcoming signs on the stalls, complete with a photo of the seller, name of the stall and his or her phone number.

The market may not be as crowded as it was in the past due to more convenient and practical shopping options and may have lost some of its energy, but it was evident that the merchants were proud of their stalls and the basics of buy and sell.