전주 Jeonju, UNESCO City of Gastronomy

Jeonju, less than a two-hour ktx train ride from Seoul, is the capital of North Jeolla province and is especially known for its beautiful hanok village. “Hanok” are traditional Korean houses and you can learn more about them here. But enough about hanok. I’m going to show you the many things you can eat at Jeonju within the hanok village. Bibimbap is actually one of the most famous dishes you can eat in Jeonju, but because I’m not a huge fan of bibimbap (Gasp.  A Korean who doesn’t really like bibimbap?!) I ate a variety of other delicious things.

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Hmm well this isn’t exactly what I ate in Jeonju. These chips kept me company on the way to Jeonju in the train. One of my favorite chips, “Jagalchi” are curiously shaped octopus chips that have a prawn chip-but-better taste.

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My first meal in Jeonju was a home-style baekban meal, consisting of a bowl of rice and assorted banchan (side-dishes), meat dishes, and soup.

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The meal wasn’t that extraordinary, nothing was mind-blowingly delicious. But it was a nice homey, comforting meal.

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Grilled fish came with the meal as well. This particular fish is called “jogi” (Yellow Corvina), and is salted and semi-dried after it’s caught. The flaky white meat is deliciously seasoned through.

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Burnt rice porridge to finish off the meal. When cooking rice, you’re often left with a layer of crispy sort-of burnt rice at the bottom. Stick it into water and boil it for a subtle, almost nutty soup.

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Dumpling shop.

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The one on the right was a spicy shrimp steamed dumpling, and the one on the left has a thicker bread-like casing and is also filled with a similar spicy meat/glass noodle/cabbage filling. Just tasted meh. There was a huge line coming out of the shop and everything looked delicious, but there are better dumpling shops in Seoul for the same price (2000-3000 won per dumpling. PER dumpling. ONE dumpling. Not cheap at all).

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Dumpling innards.

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There are quite a lot of modern restaurants and dessert shops around hanok village as well. I went into a churros shop and was delighted to find they sold artisanal popsicles. I had to try the Guinness beer popsicle, and it actually tasted pretty good with a authentic beer-y flavor.

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One of the products Jeonju is known for is its beansprouts. Bibimbap will almost always have stir-fried or boiled beansprouts in it. Another famous dish is kongnamul haejangguk, which is a sort of hangover soup made from a base of kongnamul, bean sprouts. It’s served boiling hot and they add a dallop of spicy seasoning and a raw egg which cooks as you eat. A comforting meal that would indeed be a great way to nurse a hangover in the morning.

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PNB, or Poong Nyun Bakery is THE most famous bakery in Jeonju. They sell a variety of traditional Japanese-influenced Korean baked goods but their most famous product is the home-made choco pie. The beloved chocolate-covered cake with marshmellow filling is a quintessential Korean snack that has a history of more than 40 years. I actually don’t really like the original choco pie (I know. GASP again). But the home-made version sold at PNB is SO MUCH  BETTER. A hundred times better, to say the least.

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First of all, it’s covered liberally with chocolate. Very liberally. It’s basically covered in a good quality deliciously melty milk chocolate that you can really sink your teeth into. The “cake” is actually more of a soft cocoa cookie.

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And inside, the marshmellow filling is substituted for a cream filling. Whilst chomping on the choco pie you will be pleasantly surprised to find a small pocket of strawberry jam, and a stray walnut.

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Chinese Korean food at Jeonju. Jjajangmyeon.

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This is a famous Jeonju-only Chinese Korean dish, mul-Jjajang, which tastes like the spicy noodle soup, jjambbong, but thickened like jjajangmyeon. Filled with seafood and other vegetables like onions, zucchini.

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And that wraps up my gastronomic trip to Jeonju. I will follow-up with a post of photographs of beautiful hanok and scenery in the future. I went on a trip to Jeonju approximately one year ago and also have pictures you can check out here.

Until next time! 🙂

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3 responses to “전주 Jeonju, UNESCO City of Gastronomy

  1. Wow! These photos are amazing! They really capture the beauty of the food, so much so my mouth is watering. I never guessed those dumplings were meh they looked like fantastic little clouds.

  2. This is torture 😦 everything looked delicious including the dumplings (I am a bit of a dumpling fanatic) so where is the BEST place to eat dumplings at in Korea (I am preparing for my next trip, which I don’t know when will that be). Last time I was there I didn’t eat enough Mundoo, Pajon, Dakgalbi, Samgypsal, Jajjangmyoun and pepero 🙂

  3. Near my dormitory in Suwon there was this little restaurant that served a very smelly fried fish with lots of sweet, spicy and salty banchan, it was so smelly that our clothes and bags needed to be washed because the fishy smells were too overpowering, nonetheless it was very delicious, and I have horrible cravings for it right now…. do you know the name of the that fish?

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