After having spent a week in Jeju Island, I understood why this island attracts many tourists including honeymooners. It had everything: Beautiful greenery and mountains, lava tubes and volcanic landscapes, beaches, beautiful walking trails, waterfalls, and plenty of activities for everyone including little people. Moreover, I had the best cultural and gastronomic experience in Jeju island. Well known for their fresh seafood, black pigs, peanuts, and their citrus fruits, the island was a heaven for food lovers.
Black pork Korea BBQ
When in Jeju, you need to try the black pork (from a special breed that lives in Jeju) in a classic Korean style barbecue. Typically it came out with a fish-sauce based dipping sauce, which was an interesting combination. My tip for finding a good (BBQ or any) restaurants to go would be to ask a local person as opposed to trusting online sources because not all reviews seem to be genuine, including personal blog reviews.
Korean style Sashimi
Korean-style sashimi course consists of fresh raw (and cooked) seafood, spicy chilli dipping sauce, greens, soup, and lots of greens and delicious side dishes. I’ve been to number of them whilst in Jeju and they were all quite amazing with fresh seafood and generous amount of delicious side dishes.
One restaurant I can recall is Ssang-doong-ee hwoe jip (+82 64-762-0478;496-18 Seogwi-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea) because this place had not only delicious main food and side dishes, they also had unlimited sushi and desserts. I remember leaving this place in a food coma. This restaurant brings back happy memories.
Fresh seafood caught and served by deep-diving sea women
There are a group of (mostly older) ladies in Jeju who make living by deep-diving and catching various seafood. It’s not hard to spot them and when you do, you can buy fresh caught seafood from them to enjoy them raw on the spot. Mind you, it is not cheap (and you can bargain a bit). However it is fun meeting these sea women and seeing how various creatures end up on the table.
This dish has sea squirt, abalone, shells, and sea cucumber. They all taste quite different with unique textures.
Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market
This is the market to visit when you are in Seogwipo. Not only it’s fun just to look around, they have some seriously delicious food where people line up for so it would be wise to visit on an empty stomach.
You’ll see a crowd in front of this Fried chicken place (shown below). Now, Korean people do deep fried chicken very well in general but this place was exceptional. So crunchy and crispy yet juicy and perfectly seasoned inside. The downside may be that they are a take-away store. Also, you need to place an order (which may take a while) therefore I would recommend calling first or making them the first store you visit when you visit Olle Market. We loved this deep fried chicken with a cold can of beer back at our hotel, which fortunately was only a walking distance.
Joong-Ang Chicken (+8264-733-3621)
One of the other stores that had people lined up every time we went was this rice cake store (shown below). This place is famous for their traditional rice cakes unique to Jeju Island, and has been on TV shows on multiple occasions. They were chewy, perfectly sweet enough with great mix of flavours and textures.
Another food I knew I had to try was this dish shown below, from Saerona snack (+82 64-762-3657). It was a dish that had all the street food that I love combined in one dish. I could probably eat this every day.
We went to a very popular restaurant called from Oak-Dom-sik-dang (옥돔식당; 1067-23 Hamo-ri, Daejeong-eup, Seogwipo-si; +82 64-794-8833) for their famous Seafood kalgooksoo (hot flat noodle soup). This is a perfect dish on a chilly day and one of the best comfort food that you can find in Jeju Island.
Steamed meat, spicy cold noodles, and more seafood dishes
San-bang-sik-dang is another very popular restaurant (산방식당; 864-3 Hamo-ri, Daejeong-eup, Seogwipo-si; +82 647942165). They have this incredible steamed pork dish like no other. Paired with their cold noodle with spicy sauce, it was one of the best meals i had in Jeju.
Hareubang Milmyeon 하르방밀면 is another restaurant favoured by both locals and tourists. There are multiple locations in Jeju Island. They use ingredients like Tot (belongs to seaweed family) and Bomal (marine shell) which gives that dark greenish brown coloured dishes.
Snacks and drinks from local supermarkets
In addition to this delicious banana milk shown below, we found ourselves coming back to local supermarket for late night snacks and rice wine (Makgulee). There is a small island off Jeju Island called Woo-do which is famous for peanuts…. and therefore we found peanut flavoured rice wine at some of the local supermarkets!! It worked really well with creamy rice wine.
Peanut and citrus ice cream
Bingsoo from Sul-bing
This is a franchise, and isn’t limited to Jeju Island. This place does amazing desserts, and I highly recommend these two bingsoo (finely shaven ice with various toppings) seen below.
And there were more…
- O’solloc tea museum – They do teas, coffees, desserts including ice creams and cakes. If you are a tea lover, or if you are looking for a nice cafe to chill out, this is a good place to stop over at.
- Spicy saba/hairtail stew is one of well known local dishes.
- If you are a fan of abalone, it’s quite a common ingredient in Jeju.
- Seafood ramen
If there are any must-try-in-Jeju-dishes that I have missed please let me know! I would love to have a list for my next visit one day