I’ve been meaning to post about Bangsan Market for awhile now. It’s made baking much easier and more enjoyable. No more relying on the meager selection at the supermarkets, now I have the option to buy in bulk!
Right... Bangsan Shijang (방산시장) is in the Dongdaemun area but about one and a half blocks from the Dongdaemun station. The closest station is actually Jongno 5-ga. Get out of the station via Exit and then head towards a brick bridge that crosses over the Cheonggyecheon river. There will be a sign that says “방산종 한시장”,
follow the sign for another 2 minutes and there will be a sign that reads “박스” at the entrance to an alley. You're there! I need to manage your expectations here. It's not a massive area with pretty shopfronts. The area that is dedicated to baking supplies is not that large but it is sufficient as there is a repetition of products between the stores. The main ‘strip’ is actually a narrow covered lane that is lined by baking supply and packaging stores.
There are about half a dozen stores that just focus on the packaging for the finished goods. From tiny boxes for chocolates to cake boxes in every shape. You may be overwhelmed by the choices. I would say go around to a few stores and see your options before settling. My favourite store is Saero which has a good selection of cake boxes with handles and most importantly cupcake boxes with handles and windows to view the delightful desserts. They also stock ribbons to go with the packaging but I find the selection in Namdaemun to be more extensive.
There are a few shops along that strip that I will make special mention.
D&B – is a good source for tools and bakeware. They carry some Wilton products but they also have alternative brands for similar products like fondant flower cutters, decorating tips and pastry bags. I have bought a few pans from them and they have been very good ie. Non-stick. They have knick knacks like digital scales, spatulas of all sizes, measuring cups, measuring spoons, spatulas (flat and off set), digital alarms, kitchen mixers (including Kitchen Aid), cookie cutters (big range) and much much more.
One thing about their tips, on the odd occasion if you are lucky you will find a Wilton tip but mainly they are brandless or you may find an Ateco one here and there. The irony is that the Wilton tips are all made in Korea but I guess they are all for export. You can buy them only from certified Wilton Method Instructors (technically, although there are people who have bent the rules a bit) and the easiest way is eBay. If you are interested in purchasing Wilton tips here in Korea, you can find them at the Wilton Deco School run by Crystal Kim (more on this later).
(L-R) Plain Wheat Flour, Sugar Powder (Icing Sugar), Wilton No-Colour Vanilla Extract
However, I have bought many of their tips and they have worked just fine for me. They are all numbered, though not always corresponding with the Wilton tip numbers, they are close.
Opposite D&B (I will use them as a location marker) and 2 shops down is a store that carries a lot of Wilton products. That one is worth checking out as you can get the No Colour Vanilla Essence by Wilton there. This is a good ingredient to have on hand when attempting to make white buttercream.
Diagonally opposite D&B (about 2 o'clock if you are standing outside D&B) is a small corner shop that stocks many types of sprinkles in small quantities or in large 1kg bags. I like their selection of bake ingredients. They stock everything from baking chocolate to paper cups. I buy my raisins from there, as opposed to the Home Bake (I think) brand that I used to get from E-Mart or Lotte Mart, the ones at this store are nice and fat! The supermarket ones are like tiny shriveled rabbit poo.
Chubby raisins. It was hard to get a good picture as my camera was trying to enhance the raisins as they are so dark but the outer packaging kept reflecting light at it and got it all confused. This was the best I could do. Doesn't really do them justice.
If you walk down lane that branches off from that store, you will find another 2 stores that carry a wide variety of bakeware. That lane opens out onto another inside street that has more packaging stores on the opposite side of the street. If you stay on the side that you just came out from, there will be more baking supply stores.
Bake King is a little gem of a store that I found. There’s a guy who runs the guy called Kang who speaks decent English. Well enough to explain to me the different types of chocolate that they carry. I picked one pack of what to me was small chocolate chips for baking and he told me that that is compound chocolate for coating (like candy coating) and directed me to another packet which were Belgium chocolate. “Compound chocolate”, how cool is that?!
They also have Cream of Tartar which is essential for making a good chiffon cake. So far, they are the only store that caries it that I have found. They are pre-packed in small sachets and it is by McCormick. The only other place I managed to find Pure Vanilla Extract (the concentrated sort) and little jars of Cream of Tartar was at the Seoul International Baking Fair (SIBA).
I found out today that they carry imported little bottles of liquer from France! So besides your ordinary Rum liquor, you can now get choice like Aniseed, Raspberry, Strawberry, Lemon liquor and many more. They also stock Vanilla Oil which is good for flavouring fondant. Makes it taste heaps better.
Along that road which is where the Bangsan Market A Block (방산종합시장 A동), there is another store that I quite enjoy browsing through. It’s called I Love Chocolate. They have all sorts of ingredients for making chocolate and lovely packaging and good choice of stickers for sealing those bags.
There’s a tiny little store somewhere on that street as well that just sells nuts. That’s where found Hazelnut which I needed to make a Hazelnut Marble Mocha Cake. I prefer to get my nuts from there as they are slightly cheaper.
Another store that I want to mention for packaging is called Envelope & Total Package. They could possibly have more choice than Saero (if that's possible!) and they are in the road opposite the little alley where D&B is. They have a black signboard with green words. I love their stickers, packaging options for cookies, chocolates and cakes. They have a variety of ribbons, rafia and strings for tying up your little packages to make them extra pretty.
Hope this little guide helps you bakers find the right stuff for your baking needs. I know since my friend W introduced me to Bangsan, I stopped complaining about the pathetic food colouring I found at the supermarkets and started getting the right results from the Wilton Gel paste colours that I found at the market. They cost KRW4,000 each if you are interested. If you have any questions, do add it in the comments section.
T. 02-2272 3056
63 Bangsan-dong, Jung-gu
T. 02 2267 4000
#62-3 Bangsan-dong, Jung-gu
T. 02 2272 1120
Envelope & Total Package
02 2279 1950
P/S: I took some pictures when I was there before but I can't for the life of me find those photos now. Don't know which SD card I left them in and they probably got wiped. Next time I will try to remember to bring the camera. Easier to show directions with pictures to help. I have been told I am pretty crap at giving directions. Hee hee.