I was lucky enough to spend a weekend in Jeonju, one of Korea’s foodie capitals. Wow! There was some unique and delicious food in that small town, making the small city worth the reputation. I warn you, I only know the names for some of these dishes.
Jeonju Yookhwe Bibimbap, 15,000 원 – Kajeog Shikdang
My first Jeonju food adventure was to get the famous Jeonju Bibimbap. This bibimbap is unique to other bibimbap because, unlike other bibimbap, it is raw. The egg yolk is raw, and the delicious Korean beef is raw, too. It also comes with a host of delicious vegetables. It also comes with an amazing 12 side dishes, all of which were great. Perhaps my favourite, however, were the ginger glazed sweet potatoes on the left.
A close up of the main event. Note the variety of fresh vegetables. This abundance of vegetables and side dishes makes Jeonju a vegetarian paradise.
Deep Fried Shrimp and Banana, 2,000 원 – Nambu Night Market
On Friday and Saturday nights, Nambu Market in Jeonju becomes a bustling night market. The main feature of this night market is the food, and when I went it was no different. Since it had been a while since I’d eaten anything in Korea that was not Korean, I decided to go to the Thai stall. The fried shrimp was okay; just a fried shrimp. The fried banana was quite good, as this is a dish I love. However, the crispy pastry made the overall impression a tad more dry.
While I was tragically far too full to have this, I admired this amazing looking mango bingsu and mango on a stick. I’m still sad about missing this.
Beef Sashimi, 900 원 – Nambu Night Market
The line-up for this flame-grilled beef sashimi was enormous. I must have waited 15 minutes. It was delicious though! The beef was tender and not a moment overcooked, and I enjoyed the touch of the onions and the sweet sauce.
Raspberry Wine Ice Cream, 4,000 원 – Nambu Market
This ice cream tasted amazing: sweet, rich, and creamy. However, the texture was a little ice, probably because of the alcohol used to make the ice cream. I loved it, though! I’ve never before had alcoholic ice cream!
Igiae Soolsang – (?) 2 AM Café
This soft, locally brewed alcohol was both smooth and easy to drink. There wasn’t much of an aftertaste, which is apparently a downside in Korean alcohol, but personally I preferred that. I had this in the bottom of Jin’s Hostel, which turns into a bar on the weekends.
Choco Pie, 2,000 원 – PNB Bakery
This white chocolate-coated choco pie was good, as far as choco pies go. I have mixed feelings about this Korean delight. It’s a little dry, something of a mix between a cookie and a cake that lacks in a bit of sugar. This one was coated in white chocolate, with a jam in the middle. I don’t like jam, so I felt rather apathetic about this choco pie. However, it’s still worth a try – there was a long line up for these at the bakery, and Jeonju seems to be famous for its choco pies because everyone was buying them wherever I went!
Imsil Cheese, 3,000 원 (?) – Hanok Village
This cheese was a very strange experience for me. It’s extremely fresh and gooey, and somehow the cheese has been sweetened a little. The cheese is grilled in front of you lightly, and toppings like almond and herbs and corn syrup are added. It was okay, but perhaps something I should try again to make sure I’m not irrationally dismissing it due to my Western taste preferences.
Chicken on a Stick, 4,000 원 – Hanok Village
Discovered at a time when I was shockingly hungry (this was not a common theme for my trip), this chicken was a lifesaver. It was juicy, sweet and spicy, and drizzled in cheese. The very long stick made it a bit of a challenge to eat, however, and I got a fair bit of it on my face.
Cherry Beer “Ade”, 4,000 원 (?) – Hanok Village
Flavoured beer is one of my favourite drinks in Korea. They have a normal, cheap beer, and then they add a flavouring syrup. This syrup transforms a weak beer into a delicious drink that makes me get excited every time. It’s beer, and it’s sweet and tasty! Perhaps you might call this blasphemous. I call it Cloud 9.
A Weird Egg Thing I Shouldn’t Have Bought, 2,000 원 – Hanok Village
This was basically an omelette with a sweet mustard and sauce with noodles. It’s supposed to have pork, but it didn’t because I can’t eat pork. I didn’t love it, but the vendor convinced me. At this point, it had started furiously raining and I was so cold I didn’t know what to do with myself. I also had no socks and I was wet. I was not in a good place, and food seemed warm.
Lotus Tea, 3,000 원 – Hanok Village
I huddled in a small lotus tea restaurant for a few hours, drinking tea and waiting for the weather to get better. This is the tea. Lotus tea is surprisingly earthy and savoury, and I had several cups.
Kalguksu, 6,000 원 (?) – Veteran Restaurant
Veteran restaurant is famous in Jeonju. It’s a huge place, but simple. I really enjoyed the kalguksu, but I was told that the same dish could be easily found in less touristy areas of the city for a mere 3,000 원. Nevertheless, the noodles were exceptionally fresh and tender, and the broth was savoury and rich, especially delicious with all of the extras piled on top. It came with very simple side dishes; just kimchi and radish.
Kongna Mulguk 공나물국 (Soybean Sprout Soup), 6,000 원 – Unknown Restaurant
One of Jeonju’s more surprising treasures is its soybean sprout soup. Apparently, Jeonju has the best water in Korea, so its vegetables and sprouts have a very pure and clean taste. This soup was surprisingly good for a vegetarian sprout soup. I was actually a big fan. It was a delicate broth, and the bean sprouts really were wonderful. The egg dish had to be explained to me by the woman who owned the restaurant, however. You add a few spoonfuls of soup broth to the egg along with some seaweed torn into little pieces. Then, you mix it all together and have it like a soup. I actually loved this dish a lot. In the past few months I have seriously been appreciating raw egg in a way that I hadn’t before.
Green Tea Ice Cream Macaron, 4,000 원 (?) – Hanok Village
This was a tasty, refreshing treat. The macaron itself was quite hard, though, and it took a while before I was able to enjoy it. I always like green tea ice cream, though, so it was well enjoyed.
Moju, 2,000 원 – Hanok Village
This hot alcohol kind of tasted like a sweeter, fuller version of maekgoli. It is a special alcohol made only in Jeonju, so of course I had to try it out!
I hope you enjoyed this small culinary journey! Hopefully you’ll be inspired to make your own!