There are a lot of Filipino’s all around the world. Most of them are Overseas Filipino Workers who worked far away from their families. It’s difficult for them to live in other countries and most of them got homesick. But, here in Seoul, South Korea, there is a certain street where the vendors are all FILIPINO’S!
An exotic market is open in Daehangno, a university district near central Seoul. There are about 15 vendors with green tents along the road of Hyehwa-Dong Catholic Church and Dongsung High School. They are selling every Sunday, from morning up to afternoon, after church.
The market is popularly known as “LITTLE MANILA” where everyone can buy varieties of Filipino dishes, delicacies, and traditional things. In this way, Filipinos in Korea doesn’t feel homesick anymore. Going in this market is one of their best ways to forget the sadness from missing their families in the Philippines.
There are a lot of Filipino workers in Korea. According to Statistics Korea, nearly 60,000 guest workers from the Philippines live in Korea. The actual number of Filipinos could be much higher because marriage migrants and students were not included in the data.
So, this Pinoy Street in Seoul called “LITTLE MANILA” is their portal to the Philippines.
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Meat and vegetables are available as well. Meat comes from the Majang Meat Market nearby but is cut to serve the Filipino dishes. They also sell ampalayas, known as the “bitter melon or cucumber,” one of Koreans’ favorite healthy dishes from the country with its alleged medicinal benefits such as lowering blood sugar levels.
With plastic chairs and food trays, and a spoon and fork (without a knife although some prefer using hands), people enjoy dishes at makeshift eateries, including some well-known tourist-friendly snacks such as banana cue and turon.
The market is a venue for cultural exchanges between Koreans and Filipinos. Many Korean customers started visiting the market to explore Filipino culture and authentic food. For those who have been to the Philippines for travel, study or business, the market is a popular venue to taste authentic Filipino dishes.
In this photo (above) there are coffee which is very popular to all Filipinos. Even Koreans loved that too. Also, “tuyo” which means dried fish, and also, Pansit Canton which every Filipino knows. It is the Ramyeon of the Philippines. You can also see “Bibingka” which is a bread cooked over charcoals.
The market, in that aspect, is a community to help people and, at the same time, to share stories of happiness, sadness, difficulties and, moreover, dreams to deepen their bonds and ties.