One of the best things about living and teaching in South Korea without a doubt is the food. Quite simply it is amazing. The flavors in Korean food are so unique that no matter what you eat you are bound to have a mouth watering experience. Recently, I had the opportunity to travel with a friend to Sunchang, which is considered the food capital of South Korea. This blog will focus on our trip and all the delicious food we got to sample.
Sunchang is home to the famous red pepper paste gochujang and fermented soybean paste,deonjang. It is located in Jeoalla-Do province, which is renowned in Korea for their bounty of side-dishes. It is not uncommon to get 40 or more side-dishes with your meal. These side dishes range from different varieties of kimchi, soups, radish, fish, to baby octopus, potatoes, and other root vegetables. Sunchang is also home to many species of Bamboo, and luckily for us, the International Bamboo conference was taking place the same weekend we were in town.
Sunchang was a three and a half hour drive from Daegu, which is where I live and teach English. We decided to rent a car, as it would give us the flexibility to explore Jaello-do more freely, and as there were two of us, it only cost W50,000 each (or $43) which covered the car-rental, gas and the tolls we crossed.
Even though it was a long drive, we decided not to stop for food on the way, so that when we arrived in Sunchang we would have a big appetite. The first restaurant we went to, “조해,” is famous for Banchon . Usually customers have to wait anywhere from 20 – 60 minutes, however luckily for us, we only had to wait 15 minutes.
After our amazing meal at “조해”we went to check into our guest house. Since Sunchang is a small town / village there are not many hotels or guesthouses, so our guesthouse was a traditional Korean building, known as Hanok. The owner was so kind and friendly, and even upgraded our rooms for free.
After checking into our guesthouse, we decided to check out the gochujang village. Here, you can sample many kinds of gochujang for free and also try the local home-made mokgeolli which each store owner hand-makes.
We decided to visit a very famous waterfall located in “Gangcheonsan” national park to take a hike and work off all the food we had eaten. The amazing views at the waterfall made the hike well worth it.
Later that night, we went to a famous jjimgalbi restaurant. Jjimgalbi is a delicious spicy pork stew, which contains onions, potatoes, carrots, noodles and is typically served with steamed rice. This was another filling and satisfying dish.
For our final day in Sunchang, we went to the bamboo festival, where we saw everything conceivable that could be made from bamboo. This included chairs, pens, keyboards, and even a bicycle. We walked around the bamboo forest, and then headed out for our last meal in Sunchang . For our final meal we decided to have beef and pork dalkjalbi, which is a traditional Korean meat patty.
We decided to head back to Daegu at 4pm, as it was the weekend before Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving, and the traffic was bound to be heavy. I had such an amazing time in Sunchang and my trip proved that Jaella-Do really is the home to the best food in Korea.
John May grew up in Dublin, Ireland where he is from & went to Trinity College – one of Ireland's best known universities. He graduated in November 2012 with a B.A. (Mod) in Geography & Sociology. John has always had a passion for traveling, having been to most of Europe, and as a result he decided to explore Asia after graduation. He had always wanted to teach and thought what better way to travel than teaching English along the way. John is currently teaching English for ChungDahm Learning in Daegu, South Korea; a position he found through Aclipse, and has loved every minute of it!