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Ganggu Port

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Learn about Ganggu Port, a snow crab mecca on Korea's east coast.

Ganggu Port (강구항; map; aerial view) is the largest port in Yeongdeok County. Ride into town and you’ll notice the port’s most famous product, snow crabs, everywhere. Giant snow crab sculptures plastered on restaurants, attached to bridge masts, standing in local parks.

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Snow Crab Street

Between November and May, hoards of foodies visit Ganggu to try the port’s delicacy. Popularly known as “Snow Crab Street” (영덕대게로; map), snow crab restaurants line the main road through town for 3 kilometers.

During peak season, late-February and early-March, when snow crabs reach their max weight, traffic on “Snow Crab Street” becomes slower than a cooked crustacean.

Ganggu Snow Crabs

Many in Korea view Ganggu Port as the mecca for snow crabs. But it isn’t because Ganggu’s fishers catch the most delectable crabs.

Before modern highways, Ganggu Port sported the best transportation network in this remote region of North Gyeongsang. So fishers from both Yeongdeok and Uljin Counties sent their catches to Ganggu to access more customers and make more money.

Because Ganggu was the crabs’ final port before distribution, many customers associated snow crabs with Ganggu Port and Yeongdeok County, upsetting Uljin fishers.

Ganggu Port Features

Let’s explore some of Ganggu Port’s other notable features:

  • Ganggu Port holds Yeongdeok County’s main Yeongdeok Snow Crab Festival (영덕대게축제) in late February in Haeparang Park.
  • Ohsip Stream (Ohsipcheon; 오십천; map), famous for its sweetfish, cuts through the center of the port before flowing into the East Sea. Ganggu Port’s boats dock on the stream to protect against storms and the sea’s turbulent surf.
  • Ganggu Grand Bridge (강구대교; map; aerial view) connects the north and south sides of the Ganggu Port. It possesses non-structural trusses in the shape of a ship and a giant snow crab statue hanging over traffic.
  • You and I” (그대 그리고 나) was a Korean drama that aired in 1997. It was filmed in Ganggu, solidifying the port as the go-to destination in Korea for snow crabs.
  • When Korea’s snow crabs are out of season, restaurants keep their kitchens opening by selling snow crabs shipped in from Russia.

Donggwang Fish Market

Donggwang Fish Market (동광어시장; map) is a four-story fish market next to Ganggu Port’s breakwater.

  • A fish market full of vendors selling live snow crabs and fish to the public occupies its first floor.
  • Restaurants with chefs who will prepare live seafood bought downstairs sit on the second and fourth floors.
  • A pension and motel stay on the market’s third floor.

Donggwang Fish Market restaurants offer little banchan (side dishes) or top-notch service like the restaurants on “Snow Crab Street.” But they’re more affordable and offer a unique experience.

Haeparang Park

Haeparang Park (공원해파랑; map) or “Blue Sea Park” hangs on the northeast end of Ganggu Port overlooking the East Sea. Opened in 2016, engineers created the park’s land by reclaiming a bit of East Sea.

The park holds viewing decks overlooking crashing waves and tetrapods, and sculptures of birds in flight and a giant snow crab reaching to the sky (road view).

Haeparang Park is home to the Yeongdeok Snow Crab Festival (영덕대게축제), an annual festival that occurs in late February. The festival hosts an opening ceremony, snow crab tastings, boat rides, and more.