Vendor City Guide: Seoul

Interview by Jieun Jung

Yeong-su Moon was born in Gimpo, which is a city not far from Seoul. He has been working for Big Issue Korea as a vendor for almost 13 years, selling magazines in front of Sindorim station in Seoul. He is known for always having a smile for people he sees on the street.

Big Issue Korea vendor Yeong-su Moon (Credit: Goya Choi)

Best place to eat and drink

Yeon-seo Market, Tongil-ro, Eunpyeong-gu

This market is divided into various sections, such as seafood restaurants, Korean traditional snack shops, street foods, etc. You can freely choose what you want to eat. There are also alcohol and low-priced An-ju (the pub food Korean people usually eat with an alcoholic drink). You can enjoy night time with friends here. This market is totally open, so you can be a friend with people who sit on the next chair.

Best street to visit

Rak-Hee Street (Lucky street), the street of Korean traditional houses, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Rak-hee street is known as ‘Silver district’ because most customers are elderly people. This friendly place is full of movie theatres showing movies from 1960s, cafés selling traditional Korean tea, public toilets accepting elder people as priority, photo shop offering taking a picture of funeral. The size of letters on the billboard is much bigger than normal district. Just next to this district, there is the street of Korean traditional houses. The area has small alleys, so bringing a car as transportation is not a good choice. It is good to visit when you want to enjoy the coexistence of traditional buildings and modern vibe.

My favourite spot

Deoksugung, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu

Deoksugung Palace is one of five royal palaces of Korea’s last dynasty (the Joseon Dynasty) remaining in Seoul. Located at the corner of Seoul’s downtown intersection, Deoksugung Palace is famous for its elegant stone-wall road. There is scary legend that couples who walk on this stone road together always end with breaking up. This is good place to escape from the busy city life and release stress.

Photo by Sunyu Kim on Unsplash

Best place to buy

Dong-myo Market, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

This place is attracting young hipsters these days. There are various old-fashioned stores and clothing shops on the street, and owners sell their items at very cheap prices. Also, the best part of this place is buying rare antique items you’ve never seen before, such as dolls, old cameras, uniquely designed toys, retro games. Buying these items makes me feel like visiting other people’s lives who owned this item in the past, like time travel!

Best time to visit

Everyday. Korea has four seasons, which are beautiful in each different way. But I can say Autumn is the best season to visit Korea among those four seasons. There are lot of festivals in Autumn, such as world firework festival, music festival, fall leaves festival. Because of nice weather, not windy or cloudy, it is good to travel by riding a bike or taking a bus. Seoul has amazing view of Han river, so having a picnic around the park of Han river is awesome.

Originally published in The Big Issue (UK)

Read more coverage of #VendorWeek 2019 here.