Words by Ahn Hyerang, Jang Jaehee, Park Chulhan, and Yu Ri
Photos by Lorryn Smit
The Korean Ministry of Government Administration has been encouraging the development of traditional night markets to create more jobs and revitalize the local economy. Nam-Gwangju Night Market was designated as the national project’s seventh market and opened on November 18, 2016.
Nam-Gwangju Station is the place where the lives and affection of the residents of the South Jeolla Province still embrace the times when the Gyeongjeon railway line passed through Gwangju. A neon sign resembling a train tunnel installed at the entrance of the market, a line of vendors in train shapes, and star and moon-shaped decorations on the ceiling evoke the memories of Nam-Gwangju Station throughout the 1960s to the 1980s.
It is destined to be the center of local culture, where the culture and arts integrate through dynamics that serve beyond the function of traditional markets. The Nam-Gwangju Night Market aspires to preserve the old market scene and to stand out from other night markets by emphasizing the themes “night train” and “food culture tour.”
In order to make use of the theme of the market, the sales desks are modeled after trains, and the markets are decorated with words related to “train station,” “night,” and “memories” to create a pleasant atmosphere.
A reason why the Nam-Gwangju Night Market is especially meaningful, more so than other night markets, is the participation of young people. Each person’s unique ideas and experiences from various fields that went into its creation, and its supporting youth, seem to be the main attraction of the Nam-Gwangju Night Market.
Come and experience the Nam-Gwangju Night Market on Friday and Saturday nights; here everyone can enjoy, taste, and experience, both young and old.
The Team’s Real Food Review
1. Crazy Chopped Steak
Delicious steak at a low price. Contrary to our expectations, the serving was large. With the rich vegetables, it was enough for a meal. Plus the meat was cooked at the table. Where else could we get a steak at such a low price?
2. Real Barbecue
If you want to enjoy delicious barbecue and marshmallows, this is the place to visit! The barbeque itself is good, but the marshmallows are the highlight. If you do not want to spend more than 1,000 won on such a treat, then this is the right place for you. Many come with their families and reminisce about their younger years.
3. Samgyeopsal Roll (Pork Belly Roll)
At the end of the row at the back gate of the Nam-Gwangju Night Market, there is a stall crowded with people. It is the samgyeopsal roll stall. Though a little pricy, it is worth a try for its uniqueness. It is the best samgyeopsal roll in town.
4. Calzone Pizza
This eatery offers pizzas in three different flavors. The combination of seafood and cheese may not suit everyone’s palate, but the other flavors are really great – especially the cream shrimp, our favorite.
5. Waterdrop Mozzi
The visual is quite unusual, but the taste did not surprise us. The combination of chocolate sauce and cheese powder was worth a try – once. But it might not be the best choice of desserts to end the food tour with. However, if you like to take chances, and prefer foods that look pretty, it will definitely attract your friends on SNS.
Operating Hours: Every Friday and Saturday, 6 to 11 pm
Address: Yangnim-ro 117, Dong-gu, Gwangju
How to get to Nam-Gwangju Market:
– By Bus
Chonnam University Hospital bus stop: 봉선 37, 지원 45, 수완 49, 수완 12, 첨단 95, 지원 150, 지원 151, 지원 152, 운림 51, 지원 52, 금남 59, 운림 54, 첨단 09.
Hak-gang-gyo bus stop: 금남 55.
Nam-Gwangju Station bus stop: 봉선 27, 봉선 37, 일곡 28, 지원 25, 진월 17, 송정 98, 첨단 95, 운림 50, 금남 59, 순환 01.
– By Subway
Line 1: Nam-Gwangju Station – Exit 3.