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Tongin Market

Tongin Market

If you get hungry during your excursion to Seochon, you should head to Tongin Market for Dosirak (Korean style lunchbox). Built in 1941, unlike other traditional markets Tongin opened unique food cafe since 2012. It offers a unique experience for visitors to exchange money into ancient yeopjeon (brass coins), which can then be used to fill your lunch tray with a variety of freshly prepared food found throughout the market. Enjoy an awesome array of snacks and drinks in the friendly market atmosphere. Also it is a famous shooting location of Infinite Challenge & Super Junior M’s Guest House. Enjoy the food of Korean traditional street market and have special meal here.

Visit Tongin Market with us:

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Half day Royal Palace and Food Market Tour

Best full day Seoul private tour, our guide can bring you to the best local market for street food or shopping > One day old and new Seoul city tour



After the Korean War, the country suffered great poverty. Most people could not afford super markets and mostly bought their meals in food markets.

In former times, children were sent to school with their meals in a small metal box. The lunch boxes (called dosirak (도시락))were filled with rice, kimchi and a variety of side dishes, nicely assorted. Children would put the boxes on a stove to keep them warm until lunchtime. Nobody does that anymore nowadays. Tongin Market wants to revive this tradition and they have been very successful with it so far.

The market initially opened in 1941. It’s location around Gyeongbokgung palace is very convenient and led to many visitors. In 2012, the unique Dosirak Café opened. This is what Tongin market is famous for now.

Dosirak Café

When you enter the Dosirak Café, you can exchange your money into ancient yeopjeon (Brass coins), which were used to pay inin Goryeon and Joseon Dynasty. For 5000 Won (5$), you get 10 coins. Food samples cost 1-2 coins (meaning you can try 5-10 foods). You will get an empty lunch tray as well, which you can fill up with various dishes. I love that concept since you can try a big variety of different traditional Korean food at once! And believe me, the choice is overwhelming! Also, everything is prepared freshly right in front of your eyes

Ancient Yeopjeon (brass coins)

Yeopjeon Coin, which was used during Goryeo and Joseon Dynasty. Despite we are not using yeopjeon now, by using ‘Tongin market yeopjeon‘ you can taste 5 ~ 10 kinds of Korean food.

Ancient Yeopjeon

Why does the yeopjeon have hole in the middle?

Look at the picture above, the coin has hole in the middle. There are a few rumors about the hole’s existence, Some say people made hole to make carrying convenient, some say hundreds years ago it was hard to make exact circular coin. That time, by putting hard stick inside the hole, makers could carve the coin easily.

Specialty of Tongin Market, gireum tteokbokki

Don’t forget to try Gireum tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes), Many people visit Tongin market to try this. Which is a lot different from usual Tteokbokki. It has no spicy red soup you can chose the flavor (soy source & red pepper paste). Also visitors can eat the Korean popular snack food such as Gimbap, Korean pancake ‘Jeon’, Ddeokgalbi, Dakgangjeong, Sikhye at once.

Tongin Market, gireum tteokbokki

Apart from the Gireum Deokbokki, you can also find:


-Korean pancake ‘Jeon’

-Ddeok galbi (Grilled beef patty stuffed with rice cakes)

– Mandoo (Steamed dumplings)

– Gaelan-mari (rolled omelette)

– Japchae (Stirfried glass noodle)

– Bulgogi (grill marinated beef)

– Kimchi Dwaeji galbi jjim (Stirfried Kimchi pork)

-Sikhye (sweet Korean rice drink)

-the usual banchan (Korean traditional side dishes),


-different kinds of kimchi

And much more

As I mentioned, the food is prepared fresh daily. The menu changes according to the seasons.A very safe way to figure out which food is delicious, just check where most locals line up!!


Please remember that not all food stands participate in the Dosirak concept. Only if you see the sign “通 도시락 café” you can use the coins to fill your lunchbox.

When you are done, you can go to the community center (고객만족센터), where all tables, chairs, cutlery and microwaves are located and enjoy your meal! You can also buy rice or soup there for 1000 Won or 2 coins. If you want to take out your meal to bring home, don’t forget to mention this at the coin exchange stall. Just say Po Jang Hal Kae Yo (포장할게요) and they will give you a lit.

I really recommend visiting this market and personally like it more than Gwangjang or Noryangjin Market (less crowded and more unique). You can enjoy and awesome assortment of home-made Korean food at a very small price.

By the way: Running Man, Infinite Challenge, Super Junior’s Guest House and many other popular programs took place here!



Directions: Get off at Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2.

Continue walking straight for 700 meters. (10 min. on foot)


18, Jahamun-ro 15-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 종로구 자하문로15길 18 (통인동)

Hours: 09:00-18:00 / Closed on every third Sunday of the month.

Operating hours vary by store.

Price: 10coin for 5000won

1~3 coin for each food.

Website: Click here


Check out another local markets in Seoul:

Korea traditional markets : unique places
Gwangjang market, Largest korea traditional market


Let’s go for a Seoul food tour? Check out more about our food tours:

The Best Food Tour in Seoul: Tradition vs. Modernity

K-Food Tour

Korean Street Food Walking Tour

Food Tour at Noryangjin Fish Market


Check our main website for the largest selection of Korea Private Tour


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