South Korea Eats: Jeonju Bibimbap
Out of all the food that you can find in Jeonju, their Jeonju bibimbap is probably the most famous. While many areas have their own bibimbap, the Jeonju variety had its start as a meal served to kings in the Joseon Dynasty.
Depending on the restaurant that you visit, there’s a range of ingredients that go into the dish, but these are the most common for Jeonju bibimbap:
Jeonju and the surrounding area are known for their good-tasting bean sprouts thanks to the clean water in the area. When preparing the bean sprouts for the bibimbap, the broth along with some of the bean sprouts are held back to make a soup that compliments the bibimbap well.
Hwangpomook is a jelly made with mung beans and is dyed using ingredients such as gardenia to get the yellow color.
Made with red chili pepper powder, glutinous rice, and other ingredients, this fermented red chili pepper paste adds some spice to the Jeonju bibimbap. Depending on the gochujang, it’s left to ferment for three years.
The seaweed is dried into sheets and roasted before adding some sesame oil and salt. It’s then sliced up into thin strips to top off the bibimbap.
Some other ingredients include carrots, zucchini, shiitake mushrooms. It is topped off with a fried egg to complete the look and taste.
While not served on top of the bibimbap, banchan (side dishes) are served alongside and add flavor to your meal. Jeon, or Korean pancakes are common banchan alongside japchae, acorn jelly, and of course kimchi.
Where to visit in Jeonju
If you’re looking for some suggestions for restaurants in Jeonju, check out the wide selection of restaurants around the hanok village. During our last visit as part of the Adventure Korea tour, we checked out Jongro Hall (45년전통비빔밥종로회관). It was opened in 1970 and has served traditional Jeonju bibimbap along with a range of other traditional Korean food.
One of the unique aspects of the restaurant is that they serve the bibimbap in brass bowls to help keep the food warm. It’s located right next to the Gyeonggijeon Shrine, and we were able to see the walls of the shrine from within the restaurant. Overall the Jeonju bibimbap and banchan was really good, but you don’t have to limit yourself to just this restaurant.
전라북도 전주시 완산구 전동 60-2 60-2, Jeondong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do
What other foods are you looking forward to seeing from Jeonju? Let us know in the comments and if you visit Jeonju, tag us on Instagram @southkoreatravels.
You can also check out our Jeonju travel guide on our previous visits to the city:
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