Incheon, Korea is a landmark for having the best airport in the world year after year. It is still my favorite airport in the world and trust me, I have been to quite the number of airports this past year with all of the traveling done. In addition to having the best airport in the world, Incheon is also known to be the one place that the locals go to for their Chinatown. Although Chinese food and Chinese goods in Korea has its Korean influences, the Chinatown in Incheon is still worth a visit for their food.
Many locals and foreigners visit the Chinatown in Incheon to buy a handful of Chinese goods. You will see the many red and gold designs because of the Chinese influences, those being the strongest two colors. Red and gold basically stands for luck and fortune which is dispersed all over Chinatown. Using the influences of the Chinese culture, the decorations of Incheon is very similar. It is also one of the very few places in Korea that you will actually find Chinese characters which is also the traditional Korean writing, from years ago.
The Incheon Chinatown is extremely small with a few streets of food and stores located right across the street from the Incheon station and up the block. Spending half a day in the Chinatown is more than enough, especially during lunch time. You can leisurely walk the streets and explore, eating your way up the alleys and if your stomach can hold it, go for the Korean Chinese infusion foods. There are countless numbers of Jajangmyeon restaurants in the alleys. With so many restaurants in the area, it can get a little difficult to choose, but I always look for those with the longest lines and most locals of course!
The one thing I will rave about, the must have here is the clay pot buns. With two stoves that are made of clay and a fire that cooks the buns stuck to the side of the huge furnace, it is one thing that everyone lines up for. You can't miss it with a huge figurine replica of the store. The owner is hugging his many buns and the best thing is, he promotes picture taking. Once the buns are in the old fashion stove and almost ready to be sold, he will open it for locals and foreigners to snap a photo. Now that's some customer service there! It is extremely difficult to find stores that will allow you to come up close and personal with the things that they are cooking, but this store is extremely friendly.
There are a handful of street vendors that sell food for you to consume as you walk through the rest of the Chinatown. This is the one place you will find a ton of cookies, sweet to the taste with a caramel inside. You can also find the Korean version of moon cakes here in Incheon. Mooncakes is something that is special to the Chinese during the Full Moon festival. For this very reason, I found Incheon special because they actually carry the moon cake. Although it is not the same as the traditional Chinese moon cakes, it is rather close enough. With different kinds of filings, they are all something to sample. You will definitely find tons of samples out along the streets because of the amount of competition. Although most taste fairly similar to one another, very few are able to distinguish the difference, myself included!
It is definitely recommended to go with a bunch of friends to share snacks because you just might be too full for lunch. A day of adventure with a handful of friends is always the way to go. Knowing most people who live in Seoul, Incheon is quite a trip out so be sure to make it worth it! There are a handful of parks and stores nearby that you can explore and make it a full day's trip. You'll be surprised at what you can find.
Graduating with a double major in Communications and Chinese from Rutgers University, it wasn’t long after working in the Big Apple that Cindy Ung decided to take a break from the cliché 9-5 lifestyle and move to Korea to teach English for CDI. Making the bold step to leave her comfortable, mapped out life in the States, she has fallen more in love with the Korean culture as each day passes. With weekly mountain hikes, weekend road trips, discovering great foods and beauty products, constantly meeting new people, her life in Korea has been everything but mapped out.
Check out Cindy’s blog to get a glimpse of what Korea has to offer.