The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Jeonju Cuisine @ Jungang Hoegwan, Seoul

We had an early afternoon flight out of Seoul, and we barely managed to squeeze in brunch at Jeonju Jungang Hoegwan, in Myeongdong near our hotel. To say that we had a little trouble finding this place would be an understatement, but we did find it, enjoyed our delicious meal, and caught our flight back home to Tokyo. This restaurant specialises in dishes from Jeonju, a region that is well known for having the best Korean food in Korea, and it's great to sample Jeonju-style food without having to travel the 2-3 hours it takes to get to Jeonju from Seoul.

Banchan (complimentary side dishes). I've said it before, I'll say it again: I love the idea of refillable free food, especially with such a big variety that comes with a Korean meal, and you don't have to pay to eat vegetables (I don't know about you, but I always feel ripped off whenever I order a vegetable dish or a salad)!! Four small dishes for breakfast/lunch time, and I'm sure there are at least double this for dinner.

Kimchi, seaweed, vegetable namul and a spicy red dish for banchan:

Jeonju-style bibimbap uses different vegetables and spices to the usual ingredients, and it was the main thing we wanted to try. We ordered a Pork Dolsot Bibimbap which came out in a hot stone pot containing at least six types of vegetables, marinated grilled pork and a raw egg on top of steamed rice. It was pretty good as far as bibimbap goes, and it did look quite different to the 'common' one we had the day before.

Jeonju pork bibimbap:

Our second dish was one of our favourite must-have dishes at Korean restaurants: Haemul Pajeon (seafood pancake, more widely known as chijimi in Japan). This one was tasty with plenty of seafood, and more omelette-like than the pancake-like ones that we can get in Japan.

Seafood omelette-pancake:

It was a nice meal to end our trip in Seoul. We ate a lot of food and saw a lot of things in only three days, but we wished we had a little more time to experience the delicious looking royal court cuisine.

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