|Gwangchigi Beach, a short walk from Seongsan Ilchulbong. Millions of yellow radish flowers bloom in the month of March over the plateau.|
According to my maiden trip to Korea, the way to finding awesome authentic Korean fare is getting lost. This isn't some joke - most of the best food spots were chanced upon after wandering around aimlessly in a non-English speaking country. When there's a chance to travel and eat, I hold no bars and ditch my pescetarian diet entirely.
1. Seafood stew
|Fresh seafood stew (small) - 33,000 KRW|
Tip #1 for picking the most authentic Korean eatery: Look for the one patronised only by the locals.
Located at the end of the string of restaurants, not a single staff in this quaint place spoke English to us despite our foreign-looking features. The first thing that caught my eye was the way the diners sat with one leg crossed and the other leg pressed against their chests while leisurely fishing out morsels from smoking hotpots. We're at the right place, my inner goddess celebrated.
The restaurant served mainly seafood stew, so the menu didn't require too much studying. I'm not a fan of seafood, but I have to confess that this style of cooking fresh seafood blew me away.
The impressive pot of already-bubbling pot of seafood stew was set to a high boil on the stove nestled in the table top, before the waiter swiftly flipped the muscle side of the live, squirming abalone over to cook in the boiling soup. Okay okay, I know how fresh your seafood is.
I'd have to admit, I have yet to get over the taste of every mouthful. Dig your ladle into the depths of the stew to unravel a bountiful harvest of seafood - yabbies, flower crabs, squid, octopi and 12 fresh abalone. Each abalone is a satisfying mouthful of springy and sweet mollusk muscle from the broth's slow cooking.
|These aren't ordinary prawns.|
2. Kimbap (Korean rice rolls)
|Kimbap - 800 KRW a piece|
3. Rice vermicelli with fish roe
|Rice vermicelli with fish roe, 7,000 KRW|
4. Black pork grill
I never thought we would be able to have this.
|Black pig samgyeopsal|
What's a good BBQ without alcohol? The shoju introduced by Sue is an exclusive product of Jeju-do, as it is made from the spring water from Mount Halla, the highest point on Jeju-do. It delivered a crisp, sweet flavour to the throat without stinging the tongue, and went well with the dishes.
Recommendation for belly pork on Jeju Island:
- Doldam Guesthouse
- Haeundae Garden in Seogwipo-si
5. Jeju mandarin orange jam
The homemade ones are strictly seasonal, because many Jeju natives grow their own Mandarin trees in their yards and harvest/barter/sell them between December and April. The guesthouse owner Sue's homemade mandarin orange jam appears on our breakfast table every morning, free-of-charge. It isn't as sweet as off-the-shelf bottles ones, and yet she was able to retain the fragrance of the orange pulp with a tinge of spiciness from the orange skin. I douse my morning salad, toast and whatever I could get my hands on with Sue's creation every morning, because each little bottle (200ml) comes at a hefty price of 8,000 KRW.
Coming soon... 2013: Seoul Chapter - 5 must-eats in Seoul