Must-Eats in Korea

A Food Map of Jeju-do

9 Specialty Foods in Jeju

  • 1 Heuk Dwaeji Gui (Black Pork BBQ)

    Heuk dwaeji (black pig) is a native pig breed of Jeju. It has a black skin, a small body and grows relatively slowly. Since 1986, the Jeju Special SelfGoverning Provincial Livestock Institute has been in charge of the preservation and management of the black pig, which is less greasy in flavor while the fat part is known for being quite chewy. In Jeju, people eat black pork BBQ dipped in mel jeot or jari jeot, which gives the pork a more savory flavor.
  • 2 Jeonbokjuk (Abalone Porridge)

    Abalone in Jeju live in strong sea currents which require them to move extensively in the sea and subsequently makes them chewy in texture. Also, due to the scarce supplies of rice, people in Jeju make porridge out of abalone. Indeed, there are various cooking methods which all use ground abalone innards and turns the dish yellow. Every coastal village in Jeju has a Haenyeo House which serves a bowl of porridge made from abalone freshly caught by the haenyeo.
  • 3 Dombe Gogi (Boiled Pork Served on a Wooden Cutting Board)

    On Jeju Island, gogi (meat) refers to pork. Dombe gogi is pork boiled using a traditional Jeju recipe. In the Jeju language, dombe means a cutting board. Hence, dombe gogi is a pork dish, boiled as a large cut and then immediately sliced and served on a cutting board. Sometimes, the dish is eaten dipped in mel jeot. Unique to Jeju, the dombe traditional cutting board has long legs and looks more like a small table.
  • 4 Kkwong Memil Kalguksu (Knife-Cut Buckwheat Noodle Soup with Pheasant)

    Jeju is the biggest producer of buckwheat in Korea. Also, a substantial number of pheasants live within its middle-mountain area. Kkwong Memil Kalguksu is a traditional type of Jeju cuisine known as an invigorating meal, using both buckwheat and pheasant as its main ingredients. The noodles are wider, thicker and shorter than normal noodles that are cut with a knife while the pheasant broth has a lighter flavor than chicken stock and is less greasy than duck broth.
  • 5 Omegi Tteok (Omegi Rice Cake)

    Since it is almost impossible to grow rice in Jeju, the locals have farmed millet or barley instead. Omegi tteok is a type of rice cake made by kneading millet powder. Recently, glutinous rice or mugwort powder has been added, turning the dough a shade of green. The millet dough is stuffed with red bean paste, rolled into round balls and coated with mashed red bean, bean powder and nuts.
  • 6 Gosari Yukgaejang (Spicy Beef Soup with Bracken)

    In Jeju, there is a special season called gosari jangma (a rainy season from mid-April to earlyMay) which provides the perfect conditions for gosari (bracken) to grow. During that period, gosari flourishes everywhere in Jeju. Gosari yukgaejang is made by simmering pork, hand-torn Jeju-grown gosari and buckwheat powder for such a long time that the gosari becomes very soft and the soup becomes a thick, porridge-like texture. The tender flesh of the pork is easy to chew and swallow and theflavor of the soup is both spicy and refreshing.
  • 7 Mom Guk (Gulfweed Soup)

    In the Jeju language, mom refers to mojaban (gulfweed). Mom guk has long been a customary dish at ceremonial occasions such as weddings or funerals in Jeju. Careful to not to throw away the pork broth after boiling the meat, the locals started adding pork innards to it and boiling them with mom, and this was the origin of mom guk. Similar to gosari yukgaejang, it is boiled with buckwheat powder and has a thick texture.
  • 8 Haemul Ttukbaegi (Seafood Hot Pot)

    Without doubt, seafood is what makes Jeju cuisine diverse. Among the many types of cuisine available, haemul ttukbaegi is a traditional seafood-based hot pot. It is made by boiling fresh in-season seafood and doenjang (fermented soybean paste) together. The hot pot features the delightfully savory flavor of the seafood broth, which is enhanced when mixed with doenjang. When it contains jeonbok (abalone), it is called Jeonbok Ttukbaegi; while with obunjagi (smaller abalone), it is Obunjagi Ttukbaegi.
  • 9 Mal Gogi (Horse Meat)

    As an old Korean proverb states, “A human should be sent to Hanyang (old name for Seoul) and a horse to Jeju Island. “ The grassy plain within the middle-mountain area in Jeju has long been home to ranches. No wonder then that it gave birth to the tradition for eating horse meat. The recipes are various: boiled into sujebi (hand-torn noodle soup) with buckwheat noodles; eaten raw, as bulgogi (barbeque) or as shabu-shabu (hot pot with vegetables).

7 Local Foods in Jeju

  • 1 Galchi Guk (Hairtail Soup)

    For most people, it would make more sense to eat galchi grilled or braised. In Jeju, however, the fish is actually preferred as a soup as well. Some might imagine it to be quite fishy, but the taste is quite similar to that of a bland fish soup. Since it is boiled with vegetables such as squash, taxibage and green chills, it tastes both sweet and spicy in equal measure. In Jeju, Galchi guk is also recommended as a hangover soup, perfect after a night of Jeju soju.
  • 2 Seongge Guk (Sea Urchin Soup)

    Usually, seongge is caught on the rocks of Seogwipo seashore by Jeju diving women. Among the different species of seongge, bora seongge (purple sea urchin) is used for seongge guk. It is boiled with sea urchin eggs and miyeok (seaweed), which is why it is often called seongge miyeok guk (sea urchin seaweed soup). This one, however, has a broth that is thinner and lighter-flavored than the typical miyeok guk. In Jeju, seongge guk displays the level of sincerity afforded to the guests by the amount of seongge eggs in it.
  • 3 Okdom Gui (Grilled Sea Bream)

    Okdom (sea bream) acquired its name for its bulging forehead which looks like ok (jade marble). The fish is caught in abundance around Jeju Island. As gogi (meat) usually refers to pork in the Jeju language, the word saengseon (fish) is another word for okdom, rather than other fish species such as mackerel or hairtail. When sun- or airdried, the fish becomes harder in taste, which is loved by many. While tourists prefer it to be grilled, the Jeju locals usually consume it as a soup.
  • 4 Jari Mulhoe (Cold Raw Damselfish Soup)

    Jari Dom (damselfish) is without doubt Jeju’s summer specialty fish. Caught in late May and prepared as mulhoe (cold raw fish soup) solely in the summer, jari dom is enjoyed as a comfort food by the Jeju people. It is cut and eaten with bones in it, which enhances its umami flavor while being chewed. Jeju’s traditional jari mulhoe becomes sourer by seasoning nal doenjang (plain soybean paste) with swindari (a kind of vinegar).
  • 5 Hanchi Mulhoe (Cold Raw Cuttlefish Soup)

    Along with jari mulhoe, hanchi mulhoe is another comfort food enjoyed during Jeju’s summer season. Hanchi has shorter legs than squid. In particular, Jeju-grown hanchi is small in size so it is popular as an ingredient in mulhoe. While frozen hanchi can be preserved and enjoyed throughout every season, the best season for fresh hanchi is the summer. Compared to jari dom, hanchi is more tender in texture and has good pairing with vegetables.
  • 6 Gogi Guksu (Pork Noodles)

    Gogi guksu is one of the representative foods found in Jeju and is also one of the must-tries for Jeju tourists. Of course, the word gogi (meat) in its name refers to pork. First, boil the pork in water and add the noodles to the broth later. Compared to the thinner noodles on the mainland, Jeju’s gogi guksu features thick noodles and its richly flavored broth is beyond anyone’s expectations.
  • 7 Bing Tteok (Buckwheat Pancake)

    Bing Tteok is a local traditional food item enjoyed in buckwheat-producing areas. However, it is only available in some parts of Gangwon-do and Jeju. First of all, you make the dough with buckwheat powder, spread it wide, add salted radish slices on it and roll it up. The name Bing comes from bing bing (the motion of rolling something). One can easily find bing tteok in any of the traditional markets of Jeju.
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