There are different areas to the city with different vibes that cater to distinct personalities. For those coming here for the first time, I’d recommend trying out these 3 areas.
Hongdae is a great university/hipster area that’s packed to brim on the weekends. Here, you’ll find all types of restaurants, shopping, and bars that absolutely come alive at night. This isn’t a market as much as it is a spot to hang out with friends with some beer and chicken. Also, you’ll see all different types of street performers doing everything for K pop dance moves to singing artists. However, if you’re not in the mood for crowds, this isn’t the place for you. There are definitely a lot of people and the restaurants can get packed as well. Luckily there are a myriad of eateries to choose from but you’ll know the popular joints because of the line.
Myondong is THE tourist spot for everyone. I don’t think you’ll find too many locals here since the prices are a bit higher and they are clearly catering to the tourist crowd. However, if you want to dip your toes in some of the more benign street food, this is the place to go. Sure the prices are a little higher but it seems like everyone spoke some form of English. Also, all the stores here have personnel who speak English so they are more than happy to try to get you to spend money in their store. Also, know that the area really doesn’t come alive until the sun goes down. If you wander into the area during the day, you might wonder what all the excitement is about since none of the street vendors are set up.
Nyandam Market is a street market that serves the locals with every type of thing you could possibly need. This market has everything from the tame and ordinary street foods to things slightly more adventurous. They also have some alleys specializing in certain types of dishes so be brave and don’t shy away from the elderly women trying to get you to try their food. In my view, they were all like moms, just wanting to feed you some good food.
Just be adventurous. Everyone else is eating it so it obviously isn’t poison. I’m not sure exactly what I ate most of the time but the smile, point, and nod method has never failed me. Try it!