Jeonju is famous throughout Korea as one of the centers of Korean culture and is without question the epicenter of Korea’s vibrant culinary scene. Name a Korean dish, and chances are that your Korean friends will inform you that Jeonju has the best variety of it in the country. So, with my time in Korea dwindling, I made the obligatory foodie pilgrimage to the Mecca of Korean cuisine. Here are some things you must eat in Jeonju if you make a similar trip!
Jeonju is famous for its bibimbap, a Korean dish so well-known it’s on CNN readers’ list of the World’s Top 50 Most Delicious Foods. Vegan food in South Korea is a rarity, so an eggless bibimbap is many vegans’ introductory meal of choice upon entering the country. There are many different varieties of the dish, including the creatively named Jeonju bibimbap, but my preference is one with raw beef piled on top. The meat offers a nice contrast to the typically veggie-heavy bibimbap and goes down easily. When mixed, the flavors mesh well, and the dish leaves you feeling sated and healthy.
This is a personal favorite of mine which I’d heard I needed to try in Jeonju. A soup featuring stuffed pig intestines, this isn’t a dish for everyone, but it’s a great choice if you like meat and soup. Honestly, I’ve had better, but it was still good. The variety I’m particularly fond of has pieces of ddeok (rice cake) added. Don’t forget to add in some of the tiny shrimp provided to salt things up a bit.
Another Jeonju staple, this one is a cheap option and known as a great cure for hangovers. Chock full of beansprouts, it is a vitamin/nutrient heavy dish which is a nice alternative to meat-heavy Korean main courses.
While this isn’t a strictly Korean offering, it’s popular enough in Jeonju and delicious enough that I included it. This Japanese style dish of noodles and veggies is served cold with a spicy red sauce that will heat up your senses. It’s a great lunch, especially during the summer, and had us both shoveling it into our mouths. Very similar to one of my favorite dishes, naengmyeon, Jeonju’s soba is not to be missed! I recommend Gendon Soba, but there are more options.
Any just about any city, the street food can be a huge highlight. A walk through the Jeonju hanok village avails many opportunities to sample Korean street fare, including grilled skewers of chicken or squid. We got the squid, and it was amazing. Slathered in a sumptuous sauce, perfectly grilled, and just about the tenderest squid I’ve ever had — it hit the spot.
Jeonju isn’t only known for it’s culinary offerings, it’s got some killer drinks as well. A personal favorite is makgeolli, or Korean rice wine. The traditional style is available, but if you really want to go local, give moju a try. It’s made from dates, ginger, and cinnamon, and boiled for so long that the alcohol content is very low. You drink it for the taste, though, as it’s very sweet and quite delicious. As something of an aficienado on sweetness, I wholeheartedly recommend moju.
There you have it! Some tasty treats to try in Jeonju. Any dishes I missed? I know there are… tell me your choices in the comments below.
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Yum yum I love food! I have eaten Soba & the very famous Jeonju Bibimbap but not the other two soups. Also meokgolli isn’t my favsies 🙁
Me too! It’s pretty much one of my favorite things 🙂
Thanks for sharing this! i’m planning to go to Jeonju soon and this is a great list. I’m definitely gonna try to eat all of these!!
Good luck! 😀
I used to be able to say ‘I eat anything’ when I was back in Canada. But things have changed.
I love Bibimbap, but not with raw beef~~ You like that?
I’m also not a sundae guy. The bloody foods kind of turn me away.
The last 3 suggestions and the Makgeolli look good though! 😀
Yeah, Korea definitely has some interesting food choices! Have you heard of sannakji? That was a tough one for me the first time, but it got easier.
Wow, bibimbap in CNN’s World Top 50 Delicious food. I always take this food for granted since I just feel like it’s only an easy mix of vegetables and rice. But I love it! I’ll keep these in mind when we get the chance to visit the place. Thanks.
Yeah, I was a little surprised to find it on that list as well!
I’m heading back to Jeonju soon! I’ve only had the beansprout soup and bibimbap as I’m a veggie so the raw meat totally scares me. My friends/boyfriend really like the raw meat bibimbap so I’m sure it’s awesome for those interested. I really missed out on the choco pies when I was there last. I REALLY love chocolate so those will definitely be one of the first things I get!
We are planning another trip to Jeonju this winter! I will have to try some of these dish recommendations, last time we pretty much just ate bibimbap! We went to a makgeolli place and were so overwhelmed with how many dishes they brought out that we didn’t even need to order dinner one evening! I love makgeolli and heard so much about how awesome Jeonju’s mak was, except we saw our lady at the restaurant pour the makgeolli straight out of the bottle into one of those copper kettles. Haha, I don’t know what we were expecting but we thought it would be like homemade makgeolli or something since it was served up in a different container. It was still delicious, but we will try moju next time! Thanks for sharing!
I’ll be honest, I had a whole list of foods my Korean friends recommended for me to try… didn’t even come CLOSE to finishing it. We literally couldn’t, we were stuffed every waking minute of the day! Guess I’ll have to go back as well 🙂
I live near Jeonju! When ever I’m there I make sure to get my fill of Bibimbap and SUNDAEGUKBAP. I love the historical village as well, were you able to visit the Hanok* village? Which was your favorite dish?
Yeah, we made it to the Hanok village as well! It was really nice, and much busier than other ones I’ve seen. I think my favorite dish was that yuk-hui-bab (the first picture)… so yummy!
I can’t say I’ve ever eaten a lot of Korean food, but these certainly sound interesting. I won’t even pretend to be able to say/spell them, but that beansprout soup sound perfect. 🙂
Korea’s got some great hangover food 😉
Jeonju is a wonderful place! I really liked it and of course went for bibimbap while there. You and Laura are right about the street food there. It’s soooo good. You look like you covered everything but one thing I’d add is PNB. It’s those awesome Choco Pies that people wait in line for throughout the day. I think they started in Jeonju but even so, they’re worth the wait! Thanks for sharing this, Nathan!
I had some of those, they were great! Thanks for the recommendation, I totally forgot to include those here.