Jeju island is one of the best holiday destinations for anyone. Filled with beautiful landscapes, lush greenery and fantastic beaches, the “island of gods” won’t disappoint. Whether you’re staying for 3 days or a week in this beautiful subtropical paradise, you’ll never run out of things to do. However, it can prove to be difficult to find the best things to do in your limited holiday stay. After all, everyone wants to maximize their enjoyment and experiences to the fullest, and what better way to do that than eat the most scrumptious food on the Island. Food quintessentially represents the place your visiting. I believe that every place has its special regional food some things you can only eat at a specific place and it makes that whole food experience really special.
In this article we will list some of the must try foods of Jeju Island, so that you don’t miss out on some of the most unique and delicious dishes out there!
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Abalone Rice Porridge or Jeon-bok-juk (전복죽)
Porridges are a common food staple in Asia, but what sets jeon-bok-juk apart is that it originates from Jeju Island, where abalones are harvested. Abolones are sea snails and are considered a unique delicacy with a pungent smell and even stronger taste. Abalone is regarded as a high quality ingredient in Korean cuisine and was often presented as a gift to the monarchy centuries ago. The dish is known as not only a delicacy but also as a nutritional supplement and digestive aid, especially for ill patients or elderly people. Jeonbokjuk can be made with or without the abalone’s internal organs. The former type of jeonbokjuk has a green tinge while the latter is more ivory in color. In addition, there exists many variations on the classical rice and abalone porridge, depending on the restaurant and region. While this unique dish may sound intimidating it actually has a mild flavor with umami after taste. Since it is a Jeju specialty it is considered a must for anyone visiting the Island.
Silver Belt Fish or Galchi (갈치)
The silver belt fish is common throughout Asia, but in South Korea It is associated with Jeju Island. As the island is one of the largest fishing cites in the whole country, a large portion of the cultural meals here contains many fish and sea animals as key ingredients. Galchi is the name of the fish, and it can be cooked in many different ways. Tender, delicate, and fatty, it’s a very popular fish in Korea, and it can be braised, boiled, or grilled. NO matter which way you eat it, it is sure to be a great time.
Jeju Style Gimbap
Traditional Korean Gimbap is usually made with cooked rice rolled in with seaweed, together with fillings such as carrot, ham, egg and pickled radish, seasoned with sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seed. It has the shape of a roll, but the jeju style of this iconic Korean dish is a bit different. Firstly, the main star if the show is shrimp, another Jeju specialty item. Additionally, the shape of the Jeju style gimbap is a cylindrical. A special seasoned rice covers the shrimp meat and vegetables inside. Despite the simple contents this beautiful dish precisely shines in this simplicity.
Seafood Hotpot or Haemul Dukbaegi (해물 뚝배기)
When you come to Jeju, you simply must have their fresh seafood. Seafood is served fresh and cheap in Jeju. Haemul Dukbaegi is a Korean spicy seafood stew filled with an abundance of fresh seafood in a hot bowl with entire octopus, mussels, abalones, scallops, clams, crab. Although be warned, in most seafood restaurants all the seafood are served alive. So do not get a heart attack when you the moving tentacles and muscles.
A bowl of haemultang, traditional Korean spicy seafood stew is very popular at Jeju, thanks to its wide variety of delicious shellfish and other seafood freshly caught from the ocean.
Besides the seafood, most restaurants also offer an array of vegetables and side dishes, even instant noodles.
Cold Spicy Seafood Soup or Mulhoe (물회)
While this may seem like the previous entry, I assure you this is quite something else. Mulhoe is a common soup to have during the summer time, because it is served cold. However the heat od the many peppers and spices are sure to make up for that.
A medley of fresh seafood in an icy bath of red pepper broth. Best described as a marrying of both a ceviche and gazpacho, mulhoe consists of the freshest of seafood in a bright and refreshing soup. For many foreigners raw fish in cold soup may seem strange, however all you have to do is to give it a try, and you are sure to be blown away by its amazing taste.
Sea urchin seaweed soup or Sunggye Miyeokgook (성게미역국)
It may sound exotic and strange, but seongge miyeokguk, or sea urchin roe soup, is commonly served in Jeju. Sea urchins, the small prickly balls found stuck to the rocks in the ocean, thrive near Jeju and the surrounding sea. While it is also commonly served in Japan and China, fresh Jeju sea urchin is recognized to be especially delicious, prized for its sweet taste and the clean flavor.
The soup is a symbolic local dish of Jeju Island that used to be served on special occasions. There is even a saying that “Jeju’s generosity comes from sea urchin soup.” As you can tell, people of the island regarded it as a delicacy and served it to important guests.
In seongge miyeokguk, the soft mouthfeel of sea urchins and the chewy texture of seaweed form great harmony inside warm soup. Moreover, sea urchins are full of vitamins, iron and calcium while seaweed contains a rich content of calcium as well, so the soup is excellent in terms of nutrition. So it is not only healthy, but also nutritious.
Meat noodles or Gogi Guksu (고기국수)
Gogi Guksu is one of the traditional foods of Jeju Island. It is a soup prepared with pork and noodles, and served with the typical Korean garnishes. Many people who have tried the dish compare it to the Indonesian Pho soup.
Noodles have a long history on the Island, because wheat and barley are the main harvests of the region. In addition, Jeju-do has a tradition of people giving gifts of pork during happy occasions. Gogi-guksu is the result of these two cultural ideas.