Want to experience the ultimate South Korean culinary experience? If the answer is yes, then the city that should be on the top of list is Jeonju. As one of the top tourist destinations in South Korea, Jeonju attracts an international crowd with its impressive food scene. In fact, the city was awarded the distinction of UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
Jeonju lies the southwest region of South Korea. And despite being essentially a sprawling city, its main attractions are situated in one area, making it so convenient to visitors who have limited time for exploring.
Whatever you plan to do here, don’t miss the opportunity to try out its most famous dishes. Choose to dine at a traditional restaurant in Jeonju, and you will be treated to the signature 10 side dishes in addition to the main meal. These side dishes can easily become the highlight of the meal due to their distinct flavor and wonderfully delicious variety.
The bibimbap (Korean mixed rice with meat and assorted vegetables), that South Korea has been famous for, originated in Jeonju. So it is almost a sin not to try this particular dish while visiting. The Jeonju bibimbap mixes beef and mushrooms, with vegetables like spinach, Chinese bellflowers, and bean sprouts. It is made even more delicious by the addition of red pepper paste, sesame oil and other seasonings.
Another popular dish you may want to experience is the kongnamul gukbap, which is a steamy stew consisting of bean sprouts, rice and soup. Locals highly recommend this dish for people who want to be cured of a hangover. And if you are wondering where to find kongnamul gukbap, make your way to Sambaek Jip, which is close to the famous Jeonju Tourist Hotel.
Bring your culinary experience to a different height by sampling Jeonju’s traditional fermented rice liquor named makgeolli. In some parts of Jeonju like North Jeolla, makgeolli is treated more like staple food rather than your typical alcoholic drink. It is said to be high in protein, essential amino acids and vitamins. One of the best neighborhoods to enjoy this traditional drink is Seoshin-dong, which is filled with drinking joints, fondly called makgeolli houses.
Aside from being a culinary hub, Jeonju is also rich in history and culture. In its historic district, you can find several important structures dedicated to commemorating and celebrating the country’s illustrious past and highly treasured culture. The Jeonju Treasures Center, Gangam Calligraphy Museum and the Jeonju Traditional Culture Center are just some of the important cultural and historical sites worth visiting. The Jeonju Traditional Culture Center, in particular, houses models of the traditional Korean House called Hanok.
If you want to see these type of houses in a more open natural setting, drop by the Jeonju’s Hanok Village. The village is home to over 700 traditional Hanok houses. A number of these houses offer rooms to stay in. Take note some of them are a little more costly than regular hotel or guesthouses.
Every weekend, the village hosts craft markets and street food stalls. This is a great place to try out the city’s traditional teas and coffees. Deokjin Park is another attraction in Jeonjut hat greatly appeals to outdoor and nature lovers. The park is especially popular among visitors during the months of July and August as this is the blossoming period for the Lotus flower plants, which can reach several feet in height, making a great photo opportunity.