One of my friends is coming to Jeonju for a short trip soon, and since Jeonju is famous for its food, I thought I’d put together a list of my top twelve favorite eats here. We’ll imagine that this trip takes place over two and a half days and I’ll provide suggestions for good eats along the way.
While there have been (and are now) plenty of other great eats in Jeonju, some of them have been short-lived and others, I have yet to experience! But the following is a “tried-and-true” list of various delicacies that I’ve had the privilege of enjoying numerous times in the past twelve years.
(Honestly, the food in Jeonju is a BIG reason why I’ve never had any desire to move away. Doesn’t get much better than the Food Capital of Korea, a UNESCO city of gastronomy since 2012.)
#1 Breakfast: 콩국수진미집 (한옥마을점) 전라북도 전주시 완산구 전주천동로 94 (전라북도 전주시 완산구 전동 237) 063-288-4020 진미집 (송천점) 전라북도 전주시 덕진구 솔내8길 7 (전라북도 전주시 덕진구 송천동1가 113-4) 063-277-8777
When I first tried 콩국수 (cold rice noodles), I didn’t actually like it that much. It tasted pretty bland. But turns out I wasn’t eating it properly, and I hadn’t found the right restaurant. About a year ago, a friend introduced me to 진미집 which is located right at the edge of Hanok Village, next to the river path that we often bike on. After an early morning summer ride, this place is perfect for breakfast.
Add a little sugar and/or salt to your noodles to dramatically enhance its flavor. These wheat noodles taste much better than the rice noodles I’ve had elsewhere, and the generous portion of milky white broth and bean powder makes it taste just like a bowl of Cheerios. Breakfast of champions!
Note: This restaurant is also famous for its Soba.
#2 Lunch: 비빔밥고궁 (전주본점) 전라북도 전주시 덕진구 송천중앙로 33 (전라북도 전주시 덕진구 덕진동2가 168-9) 063-251-3211
We had my daughter’s 돌잔치 (first birthday party) here, and it was great. The interior decor is wonderful, very traditional, and the Bibimbap is amazing. I think they may also have 육회비빔밥 (raw beef Bibimbap) which is my personal favorite. My in-laws also brought us here to celebrate my wife’s grad school graduation, so it’s a pretty classy place for some of Jeonju’s most iconic food.
#3 Dessert: 초코파이풍년제과 (본점) 전라북도 전주시 완산구 팔달로 180 풍년제과 (전라북도 전주시 완산구 경원동1가 40-5) 063-285-6666 풍년제과 (한옥마을점) 전라북도 전주시 완산구 은행로 61 (전라북도 전주시 완산구 교동 67-2) 063-288-7300
Apparently, Jeonju is the home of the gourmet Chocopie – two thick chocolate cookies glued together with a nutty combination of strawberry jam and butter cream, and smothered with chocolate. This is definitely one of my favorite desserts, and there’s no better place to pick them up than in their city of origin.
#4 Dinner: 한정식 or 백반한정식: 고향생각 전라북도 전주시 덕진구 아중1길 5 (전라북도 전주시 덕진구 우아동2가 909-5) 063-246-9797
I’ve had a few 한정식 meals in Jeonju before and they’re always impressive – with the taste and quality of food along with the number of side dishes that are set before you. I’ve never eaten at 고향생각 before, but it comes highly recommended and is just down the street from the other delicious (and similar) restaurant that I’ve frequented.백반: 농부며느리 전라북도 전주시 덕진구 아중3길 20 (전라북도 전주시 덕진구 우아동2가 913-6) 063-242-6811
Years ago, when I studied TaeKwonDo in Ajoongri (the part of the city in which I lived), our 관장님 (Master) used to take the class (3-4 adult students) out for 백반 every once in a while. Needless to say, after a few visits to this place, I was hooked. I tried every food that was set before us at least once, and it made for a lovely, and quite filling, lunch after a hard workout.
#5 Drinks: 맥주매드헝그리 전라북도 전주시 완산구 홍산중앙로 42 (전라북도 전주시 완산구 효자동3가 1536-1 암빌딩 6층) 063-237-3618
탭하우스40 전라북도 전주시 완산구 홍산북로 60-18 (전라북도 전주시 완산구 효자동3가 1533-4) 063-225-8200
The new nightlife in Jeonju has sprouted up in 신시가지 and there have grown a number of great bars. One of my personal favorites is Mad Hungry (매드헝그리) – where my coworkers and I usually go if we have 회식. Another recent recommendations is Tap House 40 (탭하우스40) which has 40 brews on tap including “craft beers like Gorilla and several other IPAs, pale ales … regular lagers and Guinness and fruity beers, etc. You get a wristband and choose which beer you want and pay for as much as you pour. So you can try it out before pouring a bigger amount. You just beep the wristband. Then wash out the glass and try another.” (posted by a friend on Facebook)
#6 Breakfast: 콩나물국밥 + 모주왱이집 전라북도 전주시 완산구 동문길 88 왱이집 (전라북도 전주시 완산구 경원동2가 12-1) 063-287-6980
I highly recommend doing a Hanok Stay (one night in a traditional Hanok style hotel) if you come to Jeonju. And if you do get to sleep in Hanok village in one of the Hanoks, you’ll be within walking distance of one of the best restaurants for another of Jeonju’s traditional foods. When I was a Korea.net blogger for a time, the company brought us to 왱이 콩나물 국밥 the morning after our Hanok Stay. This is a great breakfast food (also good for curing hangovers), and tastes great with 모주, another traditional liquor that is light on the alcohol (1.5%) and big on flavor (cinnamon).
#7 Lunch: 칼국수베테랑분식 전라북도 전주시 완산구 경기전길 135 베테랑분식 (전라북도 전주시 완산구 교동 85-1) 063-285-9898
For years, this was THE restaurant to go to in Hanok Village. It was constantly packed and you often had to wait outside to get a seat. But with the expansion of Hanok Village in recent years, many 석갈비 and 한정식 places have opened up near by, and 베테랑 has also expanded out toward 신시가지 in a much bigger location. But if you’re in the mood for 칼국수, the original is unbeatable.
#8 Dessert: 팥빙수외할머니 솜씨 전라북도 전주시 완산구 은행로 87 (전라북도 전주시 완산구 교동 113-4) 063-232-5804
This place has also become crazily popular in recent years. In the hot summer, there’s often a line that stretches down the street (so it’s a good thing you can get the 팥빙수 to go as well). Nothing really fancy, the taste is traditional and authentic, offering choices of …, …, and … for your dessert.
#9 Dinner: 고기고기장터 전라북도 전주시 덕진구 명주6길 9 (전라북도 전주시 덕진구 인후동2가 1577-27) 063-246-4992
There are many good meat restaurants in Jeonju, but this one is special to me because it’s right in front of the first place my wife and I lived at together. It’s also owned by her uncle, so we’ve visited numerous times (and they treat us quite well). It’s always fun to be able to sit down and have a meal with the restaurant owners and chat over some 소주. We also get to host them occasionally at my in-law’s house in the country during the Korean holidays.
#10 Drinks: 막걸리옛촌막걸리 전라북도 전주시 완산구 팔달로 144-4 (전라북도 전주시 완산구 전동 52-2) 063-232-9991
There are no less than EIGHT makkeolli “towns” recommended by the Jeonju city government’s own website. The one I’ve recommended here is right inside Hanok Village, just next to the large Gyeonggi-Jeon Palace. Without a doubt, it is one of the favorite drinks here. The restaurants that serve the drink also bring out generous portions of food when you order, so you can easily find yourself spending a few hours whiling the night away with some good friends, food, and rice wine.
Day Two Point Five
#11 Breakfast: 순대국밥조점례 남문 피순대 전라북도 전주시 완산구 전동3가 2-198 063-232-5006
If you’ve stayed in Hanok Village, this restaurant is the most famous 순대 restaurant in Nambu Market (within walking distance from Hanok Village). It is also probably the most famous 순대 restaurant in Jeonju – I’ve traveled from halfway across the city just for lunch here. The line usually stretches out the door and down the street for quite a way – even though there are a handful of other 순대 restaurants in the same immediate area. But, the generous portions of meat and 피순대 are well worth the wait.
#12 Lunch: 설렁탕족보설렁탕 전라북도 전주시 덕진구 송천중앙로 25 (전라북도 전주시 덕진구 덕진동2가 168-15) 063-277-0004
Back over near Dukjin park and 고궁, the Bibimbap restaurant I mentioned earlier, there’s a really great 설렁탕 restaurant housed in a very old and traditional feeling Hanok house. The taste is amazing, and this is one of my favorite restaurants that I’ve frequented with friends. It doesn’t hurt that it’s near my house too!~
(Bonus) Dinner & Dessert: 순두부찌개 & 도너츠화심순두부 (소양면) 전라북도 완주군 소양면 전진로 1051 (전라북도 완주군 소양면 화심리 532-1) 063-243-8268 화심순두부 (중화산동점) 전라북도 전주시 완산구 서원로 339 화심순두부 (전라북도 전주시 완산구 중화산동1가 321-10) 063-231-6500
The original 화심 순두부 restaurants are located outside of Jeonju, on the way toward Jinan in a little outpost on the side of the road. This place has far and away the best 수두부찌개 (soft tofu stew) in all of Korea, and the 두부 (tofu) donuts are an extra treat for dessert that you can take on the road with you. In recent years, another branch has opened inside Jeonju just down the street from Jesus Hospital, so you no longer have to drive 30 minutes out of town to enjoy this delicious meal.