Jeonju is one of my favorite places in South Korea. It’s a wonderful city with a huge traditional hanok village where you can experience Korean traditions to the fullest. The town doesn’t only attract thousands of visitors due to the beautiful architecture or historical value but a big portion of the tourists, both local and foreign, travel to Jeonju to enjoy the local cuisine. I definitely agree that the food in Jeonju is one of the best I have eaten in South Korea and now I will tell you what to eat when in Jeonju!
Here’s my list of dishes you absolutely need to try and where to find them in Jeonju:
Jeonju is famous for its unique style of Bibimbap (“mixed rice bowl”). Our hanok guesthouse hosts recommended a wonderful place in the hanok village to us. The place is called 웰빙국일가 and the owners are experienced chefs of many years. Make sure to order the bibimbap which comes with a bunch of delicious side dishes to munch on. The main dish includes a plate of fresh seasonal vegetables and a beautiful bowl with spices and an egg. The lady who owns the restaurant told us that she has been making the sesame seasoning that comes with it for 17 years. She uses sesame seasoning instead of the usual “gochujang” (chili paste) to maintain all the flavors of the spices and vegetables. The chili paste would take away those unique flavors and wouldn’t be as delicious. Take my word for it: This lady sure knows what she’s talking about! This bibimbap was the best I ever had and it will ruin every future bibimbap you are going to have outside of this restaurant.
On one of the main streets in the hanok village, we came across a precious restaurant called 한옥愛갈비 with a “As seen on KBS” sign at the entrance. Intrigued by this smart marketing move, we quickly sat at a table and ordered the Dalkgalbi set for two. What stroke me most was the spectacular arrangement of the side dishes in black bowls and plates. The colors of each dish popped so much that it almost looked like an edible rainbow on the table. The dalkgalbi was excellent, only possible with the perfect Korean mustard dip that came with it. I’ll just let these pictures speak for themselves now.
It is said that people in Jeonju do not view “Makgeolli” as the rice alcohol it is known as, but rather as a dish itself! Megan from Bobo and Chichi recommended a local makgeolli restaurant (called 주식 백운) where you not only get a golden pot of makgeolli but a large number of complimentary side dishes along with it! These side dishes might include octopus, corn, lotus roots, and even crab legs and an entire Korean stew! We had all of the things mentioned above for just about 15,000 KRW! Megan also told me that the sides change once you order another pot of makgeolli. Well played Jeonju!
Jeonju is a Foodie’s Paradise!
Let me tell you, I would go back to Jeonju just for the amazing food we had there! My clear favorite was the bibimbap, which I still dream of on occasion. No matter which food or restaurant you choose, if you are in Jeonju you almost cannot make a mistake!
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