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.
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)
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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?
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?