As I mentioned before, two of the main draws to Jeonju are the hanok village and delicious food. So, why not combine these two and enjoy some walking around the hanok village while sampling the street food…WIN WIN!
Our weekend trip to Jeonju was subject to the on and off rain storms. This didn’t stop us from walking around and filling our bellies with all the hanok village had to offer. The rain was even our friend at times by scaring away the portion of the crowd that didn’t want to risk getting wet for food.
We started off with some dukk kalbi…which is kalbi meat ground up and mixed with various seasonings, formed into a patty and then cooked. Dukk kalbi is a specialty in Jeonju and unless you are vegetarian it is a MUST try while in Jeonju. From what I could tell there are two forms of dukk kalbi, one that is shaped like small meatballs and another that is shaped like a hamburger patty. Our first dukk kalbi was from a small stall and was the small meatball variety. From this particular stand the dukk kalbi tasted just like meatloaf. Although this was a tasty snack and relatively cheap (₩6,000/$6) for a skewer and a cream beer, it was by far not the best ddeok kalbi in Jeonju…you should go to a sit down restaurant for that!
Next up on the food adventure was chicken on a stick! Chicken skewers are pretty widely available street food in Korea, if it is a weekend and you are on a busy street, odds are you will see a vendor torching up some chicken. The chicken stall we chose to eat from gave you the option of either mozzarella or cheddar cheese. I went with the cheddar, which was straight up nacho cheese. No complaints though, nacho cheese is harder to come by here in Korea and I am only too happy to eat it when given the chance.
After the chicken skewer was eaten we decided it was time to get a baguette sandwhich! I had seen people eating these earlier in the day and could not wait to get my hands on one. From what I could tell it was a small baguette filled with meat and veggies. After finally getting to try one it was pretty good, but definitely on the sweet side. If you are a fan of bulgogi then I’m sure you would love this sandwhich as it was really reminiscent of the sweet bulgogi marinade.
We then decided that some beverages were necessary and stopped by one of the many frozen beer stands. I have only seen this in Korea (but I’m sure it exists elsewhere) where you get a beer and then they top it will frozen beer! This not only is fun to eat but also keeps your beer super cold while you are drinking it. In Jeonju there are stalls a plenty offering various flavorings of the frozen beer. I went with my favorite, the grapefruit while Josh went for plain beer.
We then decided it was time to try some mandu (Korean dumplings) and once again the rainy weather worked in our favor as we were able to wait in a much smaller line for the mandu joint. Eunji and I decided on the shrimp mandu and they were delicious. And huge! This was the first traingle shaped mandu I had seen…normally they are crescent or round. No complaints…this mandu was filled with shrimp and veggies and the taste really reminded me of bin dae duk which is one of my favorite Korean pancakes.
After all the savory food Josh and Eunji wanted something sweet and opted for some churros. I said no to this option as I was already way past my stomach limit for the night.
I capped the night off with some much needed detox juice. I ended up choosing one that had kale, apple, kiwi and celery…it tasted pretty heavily of celery but at that point I needed to get something green/healthy in my system and it really did help me detox.
Final thoughts…Jeonju street food is amazing! There is quite a selection and something for everyone to try. I think anyone visiting Jeonju should set aside an afternoon or evening and try out as many food items as they can! Even though the bibimbap and dukk kalbi are the main foods of Jeonju, there are still many delicious treats that should be tried!