Local Cuisine in Jeju: Largehead Hairtail Soup

Jeju is an island–the biggest island in South Korea. Largehead hairtail, or cutlass fish, is the one that comes to mind when Koreans are asked to name one seafood that represents the island. Jeju galchi is so famous that the name itself became a brand that usually followed by ridiculously high price. Nevertheless, tourists are willing to pay the dough to taste the fish freshly caught from the waters off the island’s eastern coast. What must be so special about it?

A bowl of galchi-guk (largehead hailtail soup)

The fish is long, slender, and radiant with bright silverly shine. No wonder it has given the name of eun-galchi, with “eun” meaning “silver”. Most Koreans are familiar with how they are cooked in Jeju–grilled or braised with spicy marinade are the two most common methods but there are many other ways to enjoy one of Jeju sea’s greatest offerings. Continue reading

Jeju Local Food: Congee with Conch Meat

You can taste conches nearly anywhere along the coast of South Korea. Interestingly, depends on where you are the species of conches that are commonly available in the area may slightly differ. On the island of Jeju, the conches size of an egg with bumpy shells are known as 뿔소라 (bbul-sora), with “bbul” meaning “horns”. They are consumed raw or cooked in various ways to feed the natives who lacked protein from meat.

Congee with conch meat

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Cubed Snailfish Soup: Day 2 of East Coast Bike Trip

Last Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) was the one to remember. I got to ride my bike along the east coast of Korean peninsula for a whole week. From Gangneung to Pohang, I soaked myself in beautiful coastline and got to try delicious seafood fare for every single meal. A trip of a lifetime, I might say.

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Bike-only path along the Korean east coast. Highly recommended!

Of many strange things I had since I returned to Korea, the lunch on second day of our bike trip would definitely go on top of the list.  Ever heard of cubed snailfish or mulmegi (물메기)? In Korean, it literally means “water catfish”. Continue reading

Butterfish Sashimi in Mokpo: Last Day of Youngsan River Bike Trip

The last bike trip of 2016 was the one to remember: from Gwangju to westcoast city of Mokpo. The route that runs along Youngsan-gang (river) goes through the province of Jeolla-do, the part of Korea famous for their unique traditional fare.

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Finally arrived in Mokpo! After two days of riding

As a way to celebrate our achievement, we decided to go for something rare and out-of-ordinary. A quick search on smartphone led us to a sashimi place nearby that serves daily catch. Today’s special: A pomfret or so-called butterfish. Continue reading

Beef & Rice Soup in Naju: First Day of Youngsan River Bike Trip

Last November, a few friends and I decided to go on a spontaneous bike trip to Youngsan-gang, a river running through the province of Jeolla-do. I mentioned number of times on my blog that Jeolla-do is the mecca of traditional Korean cuisine. Nowadays, it is a popular tourist destination not only for foreigners but for Koreans from other provinces as well. Living in Daejeon, the center of South Korea, it is just an easy two-hour bus ride to Gwangju, the largest metropolitan city of gourmet province.

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Naju gomtang, beef broth with rice

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Steamed Snow Crabs in Yeongdeok – Day 6 of East Coast Bike Trip

The seven-day bike trip along the east coast of South Korea was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had. During the Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) holiday in 2016, a friend and I decided to go on a 280km ride going southbound from Gangneung to Pohang. We planned seven days because not only we wanted to ride our bicycles but we also wanted to go swimming, snorkeling, sightseeing and most of all trying all the delicious foods that the East Sea has to offer.

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It’s the giant, flesh-eating monster crab!

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Fresh Squid Sashimi on East Coast Bike Trip

It has been two years since I returned to South Korea. Although I haven’t seen all the places yet, I tried to travel around the country as much as possible. So far, my favourite part of the peninsula is definitely the east coast. Last year, I have done two long-distance bike trips along the east coast and those were my favourite traveling memory in Korea. The newly constructed bike path along the coast is well maintained and easy to follow. Even a novice rider like myself could undoubtedly carry a cycle in the cargo of an intercity bus bound to sun-rising east sea.

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My sister riding along the beach

On our second day of riding from Sokcho to Gangneung, we stopped over at a small port village called Susan Port (수산항). Just like most other port towns across Korea, the coast of Susan was also lined with restaurants with tanks of live sea creatures up front. After all the calories we burnt from riding, our engines were screaming for some protein and carbs. Continue reading