Located in Millak-dong, Busan, Millak Raw Fish Town is a street with about 300 hoe (raw fish) restaurants that offer fresh raw fishes at inexpensive prices. Originally founded as a typical traditional market, the area has slowly transformed into a raw fish town and the restaurants located here are famous for the magnificent night views of the Busan Gwangandaegyo Bridge that you can get by looking out of the windows.
The way to order your food at the Millak Raw Fish Town is a little different from the usual way to do so at a typical seafood restaurant. You may purchase fish on the 1st floor of a raw fish center and then proceed to one of the restaurants located from the 2nd floor through the 10th floor (varies by buildings). The staff at the restaurant will then slice the fish that you had picked and serve it with sauce and some side dishes for a small charge. As most of the restaurants do not accept credit cards, you are advised to prepare cash when you visit here.
For the bests eats for Korea’s second largest city, here are the recommendations to check out while staying close to the scene in Haeundae Beach and Centum City.
Shinsegae Centum City
Yes, the Food Hall at Shinsegae Department Store is basically a mall food court, but that’s such a misnomer for this smorgasbord of gustatory delights. Fresh sushi? They’ve got it. Sizzling Mongolian grill? Check. Both sweet and savory crepes? Got you covered.
Now that the home of BIFF has moved to the Busan Cinema Center (BCC) at Centum City, this outstanding food court is even more convenient for festivalgoers. Three out of four of the festival’s screening venues — CGV, Lotte Cinema and the BCC — are at Centum City.
Don’t be surprised if you bump into a director or two enjoying a meal between films.
Millak Hoe Town Market
Like Tsukiji in Tokyo, Busan’s Jagalchi Fish Market has become a downright cliché stop for tourists. Not to knock Jagalchi’s awesome atmosphere, but cinephiles in town hardly have the time to make the cross-town trip.
Luckily, there’s the much closer option of the Millak Hoe Town Market to get your raw fish fix. You’ll encounter far fewer tourists, and it’s just a 10-minute cab ride from Centum City.
Chat up the friendly ajumma fishmongers on the first floor, pick out your catch for the day (or, rather, get a recommendation) and appreciate a gorgeous seaside view from one of the restaurants upstairs. Another option: choose your hoe, get it expertly butchered, grab some chojang for dipping and head outdoors to the adjacent coastal park.
Gwangan is the closest subway station, and the walk to the hoe market takes you along peaceful Gwangalli Beach. It’s a welcome opportunity to stretch your legs after film screenings.
Gukbap Alley, Haeundae Market
Is there a simpler pleasure than a hot bowl of gukbap to warm the insides on an early fall night? When in Haeundae, cap off a long day of movies — or chasing after stars — with a comforting bowl of rice doused in spicy broth in the back-alley market.
Haeundae Market enjoys the distinction of having a whole row of delicious gukbap joints, most of them wonderfully ramshackle.
Kim Hee-dae Halmae Wonjo Gamasot Gukbap (Granny Kim Hee-dae’s Original Cauldron Gukbap), under a yellow sign at the end of the row, wins for most rough-around-the-edges interior with its scribble-scrawled walls. But 48-nyeon Jeontong Haeundae Wonjo Halmae Gukbap (The Original 48-year-old Traditional Haeundae Granny Gukbap), just next door under the red sign, tends to have nicer grannies at the stove and, some would argue, better fare.
But really, they’re all good, cheap (₩3,500/bowl) and claim to be the “original.” So just take your pick.
Worn out by those marathon Midnight Passion screenings and stalking celebs? Relax in a major way at Spa Land, hands-down the best jjimjilbang bathhouse in Korea.
With no kids allowed and a luxurious atmosphere befitting its home in the Centum City Shinsegae Department Store, Spa Land is the place to get totally blissed out.
The pristine relaxation room, with its cushy recliners and personal screens, seriously feels like the spaceship in “Wall-E.”
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
A mere 30-minute cab ride from Haeundae Station, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is easily the most spectacular temple in all of Korea.
Built into cliffs on the East Sea (Sea of Japan), the temple gets an added dose of majesty when the winds are high with huge, crashing waves that could spatter you if you’re not careful. The effect is so dramatic, you could call it downright scary — in an awesome way.
The stunning sea view that sets off the traditional colors of the temple exterior really does help you get in touch with nature, just as the Buddha would prescribe.
It’s always a good morning when you start with a stop at OPS bakery. At just ₩5,000, the morning set, complete with toast, a fry-up, salad and coffee, is a steal, and a great way to rev up for a day of cinematic revelry.
The quality of the baked goods at this adorable, sunny space is hard to beat. One Belgian resident of Busan said OPS’s pain au chocolat is even better than what he can get in Brussels.
The very handy expat magazine Busan Haps doesn’t recommend much Korean food, but one of the local restaurants it does list is An Ga Korean barbecue.
Don’t be thrown off by the name — An Ga in this instance means “comfortable home,” not “don’t want to go.” And really, aside from the vegans in town, no one would say they don’t want to eat here. Serving what’s trumpeted as the best meat in town, this Korean barbecue restaurant is decorated handsomely, resembling an izakaya.