Busan, South Korea

Home to nearly 4 million people, today the South Korean city of Busan is a cosmopolitan conurbation. A thriving port city, it is closer to Japan than Seoul. Although it has a few historical sights, Busan is best known for other attractions, such as its bustling fish markets and fishing culture, and numerous hot springs and spas.

Busan has long been famous as the seafood capital of Korea. The city’s Jagalchi Market (East Asia’s largest) offers a mind-boggling array of fresh aquatic produce, supplied daily from all around the Korean coast. While Jagalchi has developed and expanded dramatically since post-Korean War days, undergoing a major renovation in 2006, it is still run almost exclusively by “ajimae”. Renowned for their resilience, business acumen and somewhat frosty demeanor, these elderly ladies with permed hair, peculiar accents and deeply etched crow’s feet are as famous in Korea as the market itself.

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