A worker carries a fish to a scale to weigh it before the nightly wholesale fish auction in the Noryangjin Fish Market.
I'm in Seoul for a couple of weeks working on stories related to the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un. The first thing I did was not related to the summit but is a great slice of South Korean life. I went to the nightly wholesale fish auctions at Noryangjin Fish Market.
A buyer signals his bid during an auction.
Noryangjin Fish Market is the largest fish market in South Korea and is famous in Seoul for the small shops that sell and prepare seafood for retail customers. The auction action is in the adjacent wholesale market and starts when most of the retail shops are closed.
The auctions start between midnight and 1AM and go to the hours of the morning. There are usually three or four auctions going on at the same time. It's quite a seen. There are auctions selling batches of seafood already boxed and ready for shipment and there are auctions of individual fish, like tuna and rays.
An auction worker holds up fish for people to see during an auction.
At an auction of boxed and ready to ship seafood, an auctioneer takes bids.
While a bidder tracks prices.
Most visitors to Seoul go to the fish market at lunch time or during the evening hours for dinner. If you're interested in the retail side of it or interested in getting dinner, that's definitely the time to go. But if you want to see something most visitors to Seoul don't get to see, the early morning fish auctions are great.
A woman in a retail shop slices fresh fish for sashimi.
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