Runaway Photo: Too Hazy to See the Big Buddha
October 26, 2010
The very first Observatory in Korea
October 31, 2010

Culinary delight of Jeju and… Vegemite.

I’ve been jeju about 5 times before this trip but this summer was the best one ever. Truly, every moment was lovely and memorable. I loved how I enjoy Jeju analog style.

Most importantly, I amazed by Jeju’s local food. I know what is famous here because I’ve been there many times and well, I’m Korean so I know things around places in Korea. Usually Jeju is know as cutlass fish sushi, ear-sell porridge, and black pig BBQ. Most of well know food is highly expensive around touristic places. However the food I had this time, oh those were amazing and very local, so I had to share.

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One. Gogi Guksu

Gogi is a Korean word for meat in general. Guksu is noodle. So can you guess what it is? Literally, it’s noodle with meat(pork). Jeju is famous for black pig. It has a long story, but since we are talking about food, I’m not going to talk about it here. (Maybe in another article)

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Soondae

Traditional market, of course they have the best traditional food. Our hostel manager (Ailing, the owner of Island Guesthouse) introduced us to her favourite Gogi Guksu place, at the Moseulpo Traditional Market. We started with a big plate of Soondae which made by pig’s internals. Followed by sweet mother of god, fantastic!

Big chunk of Jeju pork, soup is clear but deep,slight touch of red pepper sauce, and the thick noodle! mmm… Absolutely amazing. I would eat one more bowl if I could, seriously.

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Gogi Guksu. mmm..

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Funny thing is that we were filmed at that time because MBC was filming Ailing and her Jeju life, and they put me on the air me eating Gogi gukso among all the other things we did together for the whole day! Well, maybe the producer impressed by me with my love of food. 🙂 And the noodle was that good.

It is almost taste like pork noodle I had in South East Asia, so to speak, but much clearer.

Try it in the Traditional Market, or an old local restaurant.

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Two. Dombae Gogi

‘Dombae’ is a Jeju word to call a chopping table. It is still Korean but Jeju has their own accent and different expressions. And you know what ‘Gogi’ is, so you can guess what it is. Gogi on dombae. So Dombae gogi. Simple like that.

What is so special then?

Because of the unique-clean taste of pork. Big fat is still attached to the meat but its not greasy because they boiled it. How they grow it is a huge factor, I think. Most of the animals are raised by the field. They eat good, and stay happy (-er than other animals live in packed house..)

Homely taste pork with all these little side dishes. Look!

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Table of Dombae gogi

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Put a piece of meat on a seasoned sesame leaf. A heaven! I tell ya.

I found out small local restaurant usually have at least two dishes on the menu, Gogi guksu and Dombae gogi. These two are quite normal local cuisine, which means I did good, found the right spot!

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Three. Bibimbap with Sea Urchin

Bibimbap is now pretty famous as of one of the significant Korean food. (Well, still it sounds like ‘blah blah blah’ like Meaghan said) The charming point is there’s not really a ‘right’ recipe for it. With anything you like, you can make a fine bowl of Bibimbap.

In Jeju, I got sea urchin bibimbap. Sea urchin… I ate it at sushi restaurant but with rice?

Well, it’s an island, seafood is quite obvious choice of ingredient but it was new.

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Sea urchin Bibimbab

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The gooey looking orange stuff is inside of sea urchin. (If you don’t know what this is, drag ‘sea urchin’ and find out in my pink tool bar)

This taste quite unique. With hot rice and cold sea urchin. They make quite mysterious feeling in my mouth. Among with other vegetables it was fantastic. Surprisingly, it doesn’t smell fishy at all, more like ‘fresh’ feeling. I had this just in front of the ocean, so it was super fresh! Well, in Jeju island you can get fresh sea food basically everywhere.

Another local cuisine, check!

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And more.. Vegemite


Why mention Vegemite while I’m talking about amazing food aroun the Jeju island?

Well, I’m a backpacker, remember? 🙂 Open to the world!

In the guesthouse, there was a french guy, Gaetan. He said he lived in Japan and Australia for a while. In one random conversation, he asked me if I ever tried Vegemite while I was in New Zealand. I’ve never heard of it actually, and he brought out his jar of Vegemite. Apparently it is salty and jam…..  What? Isn’t jam supposed to be sweet?

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Vegemite with Jam. mmm..

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One day he made all of a treat, french pancake. It looked like English pancake Matt made me in New Zealand. (reference : What’s cookin’? story)  After finish dinner with Clare and Matthew who are from England, we ate some pancake for after dinner snack, with Gaetan the cook. Guesthouse offers jam and milk for free, so it was perfect. First we had it with some grape jam and strawberry jam, then we ended up with mix Vegemite in our recipe. We took just a tiny, tiny bit of pancake and just put a little bit of Vegemite. It was… weirdly good. I can’t tell ‘I would love to eat it everyday’, but fascinated by it for sure. Hmmm not bad!

Then we got bold, mixed Vegemite with some jam. Put Vegemite on half of the surface and and jam for the other half. You know what? It was amazing!! Salt and sweet at the same time. You know salt brings the sweet sweeter, maybe that’s it? I don’t know but you should try it. Anyone who has Vegemite at home. I’ve said this to few friends and they all said ‘that’s disgusting, sweety’. 😀 Try it! Trust me and I have friends who could back me up 🙂 It’s great.

Culinary delight in Jeju, want to visit and have some?

Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .

17 Comments

  1. Marnie Alvez says:

    Cebu Pacific Air, a budget airline here in the Philippines, offers cheap ticket to Jeju once in a while. Your posts on Jeju, specially this one on food, has indeed convinced me to fly there in the future and taste all those glorious food!! =)

    • Juno says:

      Great.. cheap tickets bring us many great things! Frankly, I want to live in SE Asia or Eurpoe, somewhere I could move around by car or train!!!! 😀

  2. Kieron says:

    Haha that’s amazing – a French guy carrying around a jar of Vegemite in Korea.

    Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that you enjoyed it… I always thought it was a taste that you had to develop as a child in Australia! As you suggested, most people who try it for the first time absolutely hate it.

    I’m not too sure about mixing it with jam though!

  3. jipp says:

    OMG. They look so delicious. All of them. I’ve always wanted to experience the black pig. Have heard a lot about it but never tried one. Probably one day when I get down to Jeju Island. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love Vegemite but I love Marmite even more! Not tried either with jam though – must try soon! 🙂

    P.S. Try vegemite with freshly-made crêpes. Not too much, just a little goes a long way. You’ll thank me for this, really. 😉

    • Juno says:

      Yes with Jam. Highly recommended from a pro! 🙂 And I think the pancake is crepe. Think he said it like that. Since he is French, so it might. And yes it was wonderful.. ! 🙂

  5. I have yet to make it out to Jeju. Every time my wife and I plan a trip, something comes up. The latest endeavor found a typhoon stopping us in our tracks. It’s one of the places I really am looking forward to visiting.

    Your story of meat and chopping really hit the spot at this time of the morning. I feel like going into my ref and grabbing some galbi and making something special for breakfast… and then slapping it on some Vegemite Toast. It’s an acquired taste, but it will certainly hit the spot (and help with hang-overs).

    • Juno says:

      You will fall in love with Jeju. 😉
      Nature is the most impressive for me. The highest mountain, beautiful Oruems, and yes the ocean. Wonderful little island. Now there are few great guesthouses, so you can share more about it! Jeju is basically beautiful at anytime, but I loved winter and summer. Snowflakes up on the mountain (I drove there, don’t worry 🙂 and the beach in summer.. Oh my. I will go back end of this fall of in winter. 🙂

  6. the food looks delicious

  7. LeslieTravel says:

    So much meat- yikes! But the veggies look yummy 🙂 Great food photos.

  8. LeslieTravel says:

    Happy Korean Food Wednesday! Love your food photos 🙂

  9. Never managed to like Vegemite, even though I really want to. I’ll have to give the Vegemite/jam combo a go; sounds interesting.

  10. manuel afable says:

    hi Juno,
    I’m really interested in korean cuisine. Beneath all the spicy flavors are intricate flavors of sourness and sweetness. I love the bold flavors of your country’s cuisine. I just wanted to ask for some advice as to which is easier on the pocket, since when i do go to Korea I will be on a limited budget. Which is better: a packaged culinary tour of korea or to just visit the cities that suit my tastes? I really want to go to Busan and taste their sundae and to jeju island as well since I heard that the seafood there is ethereal.
    thanks for time.

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