Without a doubt the number one thing you must do on any visit to Jeonju is to eat bibimbap. Jeonju is apparently where bibimbap was created and once in the city you will see bibimbap restaurants everywhere. 삼백그릇의 정성 was our choice for bibimbap on this weekend getaway and it was delicious. We had seen lines out the door there earlier and wondered if the restaurant was really that good to have such a line in the rain. Luckily when we stopped by later in the day at that awkward time after lunch but before dinner we were able to get a seat in the half empty restaurant. This would be my tip for someone wanting to try a particularly well know restaurant, go either around 11 am before the lunch rush or around 2-3 pm after most people have already had lunch and aren’t yet ready to think about eating dinner.
Anyways, 삼백그릇의 정성, the restaurant we settled on apparently gets its name from when it was originally founded. Apparently the lady who ran the bibimbap restaurant then would make 300 bowls of bibimbap and then shut down the shop for the day.
The restaurant offers a simple menu with a few choices and the obligatory kimchi that comes at all Korean restaurants.
This bibimbap came in a metal bowl (they warm the bowls at the restaurant prior to putting the food in) and everything tasted amazing. With bibimbap you usually get the rice either on the bottom or side of the main bowl that has veggies, sometimes meat and the bibimbap sauce. Nothing in this bowl of bibimbap was out of the ordinary to me except for this yellow, gelatinous rectangle that came in the middle of the bowl. I never figured out what this was, even after sampling it I just had no idea, my thoughts were that it was some kind of egg jello. Many bibimbap dishes are served with an egg either raw or with a fried egg on top, but alas the mystery jello tasted not like egg, or anything else identifiable. Anyways, upon mixing up this ordinary looking bibimbap and then taking my first bite I was pleasantly surprised. No one flavor stood out, but everything was fresh and tasty. The perfect bibimbap. If I had to compare it to something I am super knowledgeable about, I would say this was the In-N-Out of bibimbap. Bold words, but I stand by them. In-N-Out cheeseburgers aren’t fancy or anything special, but all the ingredients are fresh and that is what makes it delicious. It was the same with the bibimbap at 삼백그릇의 정성.
I would definitely recommend 삼백그릇의 정성 to someone trying to get their bibimbap fix while wandering around Jeonju’s hanok village. I wouldn’t however, recommend waiting in a long line for it…there are just too many other bibimbap restaurants out there to try!