I’m going to Jeonju, and I’m so excited! This is my first time travelling with a native Korean, so I’m grateful to have some of the background information. This will be edited to include my own opinion as well, so for now, let’s just get to the fun information bits.
Jeonju ㅡ 전주 is the 16th largest city in South Korea and the capital of North Jeolla Province. It is both urban and rural, and its name “Jeonju” literally means “Perfect Region” (from the hanja 全 (전; jeon) for perfect, 州 (주; ju) for region). It is an important tourist center famous for Korean food, historic buildings, sports activities, and innovative festivals.
In May 2012, Jeonju was chosen as a Creative Cities for Gastronomy as part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. This honor recognizes the city’s traditional home cooking handed down over thousands of years, its active public and private food research, a system of nurturing talented chefs, and its hosting of distinctive food festivals.
Here are the top things to do in Jeonju!
To make it easier for you to choose what to do and where to stay in Jeonju, I have a map you can filter from types of sites (temples, food areas, shopping areas, historic and cultural sites, etc.).
The Jeonju Hanok Village 전주한옥마을, or Jeonju Hanok Maeul, is a picturesque and charming area located outside the Jeonju city center and houses over 800 traditional Korean hanok buildings and houses with slate-colored rooftops. The low houses made out of wood, clay, and unique roofs give this village a unique atmosphere. Many of these houses have been turned into restaurants, accommodations, boutiques, and galleries. It is a village filled with charm and historical value.
Jeonju Hanok Village is a must-visit for all visitors. You’ll love walking on the cobblestone roads and navigating through the various alleyways of the village. Many things are located in or around the Jeonju Hanok Village like the shrine, the cathedral, the Confucian school, the Pungnammun Gate, and many more. The top activities are shopping, eating, and visiting several of the cultural museums. It’s a 15-20 minute taxi ride from the Jeonju train station, but if you visit on the weekends, it can get crowded so come early!
Must-See in Jeonju Hanok Village
Omokdae 오목대 and Imokdae 임옥대
Across the bridge from the village, the two pavilions of Omokdae and Imokdae will also keep the photographer in you occupied.
If you want a panoramic view of the Hanok Village, visit the pavilions. It’s a short walk up the hill. There is a wooden walkway on the perimeter of the hill where you can see the rooftops of the Hanok Village. No hiking boots were needed for the walk-up. They are the finest vantage points in the city to overlook Jeonju Hanok Village during sunrise and sunset to take photos.
Omokdae Address: 55 Girin-daero, Gyo-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 기린대로 55
Imokdae Address: 5 Jaman-dong 2-gil, Gyo-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 자만동2길 5
Jeonjuhyanggyo 전주향교, a Confucian school dating back to the Joseon Dynasty, lies a little outside the Jeonju Hanok Village. It is such a calm and peaceful place that you will not regret paying a visit. Jeonju Hyanggyo used to be an educational center during the Joseon dynasty for the rich young noblemen sons.
Compared to the busy Hanok Village, this site receives little tourists, perfect for those looking to escape the bustling area and relax on the 2nd floor of the entrance gate. The open space overlooks the school garden and the Jeonjuchun river. The school grounds are serene with the huge ginkgo trees. It is completely free to enter and a great place to take pictures, especially during the autumn and spring season as that’s when the colors of the leaves are turning yellow or pink.
Address: 139, Hyanggyo-Gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 향교길 139
Hours: Daily 9:00-18:00
Entrance Fee: Free
As one of the centers of the Joseon dynasty that ruled over Korea between the 14th and 19th centuries, Jeonju is also an open museum on the rich history of the country. The Gyeonggijeon shrine, built in 1410, houses one of the most important Korean paintings in history, the portrait of the dynasty’s founder of the Joseon Dynasty, King Tae-jo. During the Imjin war, parts of the palace were destroyed and rebuilt in the 17th century. Rebuilt in the 1600s after being brought down during a war, Gyeonggijeon also houses an ancient library containing unique artifacts like the mortuary tablets of King Tae-jo and his wife, the Queen; ancestral tablets of the Yi royal family; and annals from the Joseon dynasty that was one of the few that survived the Japanese invasion.
The Gyeonggijeon Shrine lies at the entrance of the Jeonju Hanok Village, just opposite the Catholic Cathedral. Korea Tourism organizes a guided tour of the shrine that will introduce you to a unique historical side of the city. If you get the chance to see the changing of the guards on Saturdays at 2 pm, it’s quite a sight. The guards leave the Sori Arts Center and walk along Hanjigil and Taejo-Ro Street to the Gyeonggijeon Shrine. One can buy tickets at the counter.
Address: 44, Taejo-Ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 태조로 44
Hours: Daily 09:00-18:00. Portrait museum closed on Mondays.
Entrance Fee: 3,000 KRW, buy tickets online here.
After visiting the shrine, cross the road over to the Jeondong Catholic cathedral, one of the first and oldest Romanesque buildings in the region. Another survivor of the Japanese invasion, the church is equally stunning from the inside as it is from the outside.
Catholicism had a very hard time during the Joseon Dynasty, many missionaries and priests lost their lives when trying to establish this religion in South Korea. This cathedral was built in honor of martyrs who died on this very same spot during the Joseon Dynasty. This church was designed by the same priest who designed the Myeongdong Cathedral.
Address: 51, Taejo-Ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 태조로 51
Mass Times: Check the official website
Entrance Fee: Free
The Kimchi Cultural Center opened in 2017 provides visitors a chance to experience the history of kimchi as well as various food from Jeonju. The Jeonju Korean Traditional Wine Museum offers visitors the unique chance to explore the world of traditional Korean liquor and engage in related hands-on experience programs. At the museum, visitors can see the tools and machines used in the making of alcohol and get a closer look at the different types of traditional wine in Korea. Some of the most interesting displays at the museum are the alcohol preparation room and the fermentation room. Thanks to speakers located in these two rooms, visitors are able to hear the amplified sounds of the fermentation process. There is signage in the museums but only in Korean.
Kimchi Cultural Center Address: 29-23 Gyeonggijeon-gil, Pungnamdong 1(il)-ga, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 어진길 29
Hours: Daily 9:00-18:00
Entrance Fee: Free
Kimchi Cultural Center Website
Traditional Wine Museum Address: 74, Hanji-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 한지길 74
Hours: 9:00-18:00, closed Monday
Entrance Fee: Free
Traditional Wine Museum Website
Located at the edge of the Jeonju Hanok Village on one of the small hilly pavilions, the Jaman mural village is a photographer’s dream. Once a poor hillside village, the introduction of murals on the walls has uplifted the village into a hub of Jeonju tourism.
It’s a delight to photograph the artsy walls more so with locals gathered here in their traditional attire. The area had multiple artists creating 36 different street art murals from the Hanok Village to Seohak-Ro, which is a stretch of 1.5 kilometers. The residential area is colorful with street art of anime characters, such as Totoro, and iconic Hollywood figures. Browse through the area and visit several cafes along the way. You may need a break after going up and down the hilly area. The walk to the village is rather steep as it is located at the foot of Seungamsan Mountain’s Jungbawi Rock, but it is worth it and easily accessible to Omokdae Pavillion as well.
Address: 50-79, Gyodong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 교동 50-79
Hakindang is a stunning hanok house located in the tourist center of Jeonju. The house was built using traditional methods dating back to the Joseon dynasty. It once belonged to the Suwon Beak clan, which was part of the upper-class Korean society. This has always played an important role in history, during the Joseon dynasty, the occupation of Korea, and even after the liberation. It is therefore considered as the most culturally significant house in the whole of Jeonju Hanok Village.
Mister Sunshine Set
It is also a very famous hanok, featured in multiple movies and Korean dramas, with the latest one being Mister Sunshine. A heroic Korean drama about the fall of the Joseon Dynasty, the Japanese Invasion, and the Korean freedom fighters. The drama has five different main characters each one from a different social class and background story. During the drama, the viewer follows the story of each of these characters from childhood to around 30 years later where somehow they turn out to be connected. One of these characters is Kim Hee-sung, a young Joseon nobleman who was considered as the richest person in the country after the Emperor. His parents live in a stunning and grand hanok, Hakindang. The garden, main living room, and master bedroom were used as film sets for this drama.
The current owner of the hanok is passionate about the history of the house and only accepted to be featured in the Mister Sunshine drama as the story of Kim Hee-sung’s family is similar to that of her family. During the Japanese invasion her family also secretly supported the Korean rebels, just like Kim Hee-sung. For fans of the Lee Byung-hun and the drama, this is one of the best things to do in Jeonju and will be a memorable experience.
Because of the success of Mister Sunshine, the house was finally opened to the public. A reservation through their website is required before visiting or staying the night in this wonderful hanok.
Address: 45, Hyanggyo-Gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 향교길 45
Entrance Fee: Depends on the activity. Reservation required.
Must-Try Foods in Jeonju Hanok Village
You won’t leave this area hungry! Street food is everywhere, especially on the Taejo-Ro road. You’ll notice many foods on skewers which makes it fun and easier to eat. The famous street foods include grilled octopus skewers, fried potato tornado rings, grilled cheese block, grilled chicken, dumplings, and more. Here are some recommended places:
If you want large dumplings as a snack, go to Da Urang (Dawoorang). The line may be long but it goes by quickly. Dumplings are 2,500 KRW
Address: 120, Gyeonggijeon-Gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 경기전길 120
Bulgogi stuffed in a baguette at Gilgeoriya 길거리야 for 4,000 KRW . This is “fast food” as you’ll get a prepared baguette in a takeaway bag after payment.
Address: 267-2 Gyo-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 교동 267-2
Hours: Daily 9:30-21:00
Stay In A Traditional Hanok Home
14th-century traditional Korean homes, Hanoks, epitomize eco-friendly architecture in the modern era of high rise buildings. Made entirely using natural materials, living inside a Hanok is a reminder of simplistic times. Jeonju features one of the largest congregations in a closely-knit atmosphere. Every single thing in Jeonju unravels around the Hanok Village, the image you’ll remember Jeonju by. The best way to conquer the Jeonju style of living is to spend a few nights inside one of these Hanoks. Inside a typical Hanok, you will find a comfy futon bed, a Korean style ondol heating system, and absolutely no cluttered furniture. A couple of nights in a Hanok is a great way to reconnect with the surroundings. The Jeonju Hanok House is one of the most preferred properties located in the center of the village and it features lovely hosts.
If you’re staying overnight, also consider a hanok guesthouse in the village. The Somangchae Guesthouse is a 2-minute walk outside of the Jeonju Hanok Village. The owners are nice, and the heated floors were a nice touch for the cold evenings. Sleeping on the ground isn’t too bad with a comfortable futon mattress, but it can be challenging for side sleepers.
Try On A Hanbok
Jeonju is a more traditional region to try out some hanboks. Much like the locals, rent one at a local store and feel like a Korean. While this may seem like an incredibly touristy thing at first, it is what the locals do too. You can rent a hanbok for around 5,000 won (6 AUD) for 2 hours, and most stores will help you slip into the attire. Feel free to browse around and choose a shop that has hanbok designs and colors to your liking. There are lots of shops to rent the colorful hanbok outfit. The traditional hanboks are available both for men and women, usually in a complementary pairing, so many couples dress up with matching hanbok colors and styles and take couples photos throughout the village. Choose from either a garish ceremonial dress or a plain everyday dress and click photographs that you’ll remember. With almost every second person wearing a hanbok, you’ll not be the odd one.
From world-renowned cosmetic products to affordable clothing, South Korea is a shopping heaven, and Jeonju carries a traditional charm. In the century-old Nambu Traditional Market, one of the oldest traditional markets, there are lots of stores that sell produce, furniture, and other household goods. The south side of Nambu Market has most of the produce and fish for sale and some vendors selling produce along the sidewalk. On Friday and Saturday nights from 5 pm to midnight, the Nambu Market transforms into a bustling place with street foods and performances.
Nambu Market first opened in 1905 towards the end of the last Korean Dynasty. The market is located next to Pungnammun Gate and holds more than 800 stores and 1200 workers selling all kinds of goods including food, furniture, silk, and much more. There are many street food vendors and restaurants located in this market, a great place to go when looking for things to do in Jeonju at night.
Apart from the traditional market, the second floor of the market features a Youth Mall, an open terrace brimming with third-wave coffee shops, fashion boutiques, and handcraft artwork to help young entrepreneurs start their business. It’s a place to hang out and relax compared to the craziness of the ground level. This new market has a similar vibe to the more popular areas in Seoul like Hongdae.
Address: 63, Pungnammun 2-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전라북도 전주시 완산구 풍남문2길 63
Must-Try Foods in Nambu Market
Hungry? The market has traditional Korean restaurants tucked in the alleyways.
Hyundaiok Nambusijang 현대옥 남부시장점– Known for their bean sprouts and rice soup. The restaurant has operated since 1979 and is a popular place! You have the choice of an original bean sprout rice soup for 6,000 KRW or with octopus for 10,000 KRW. The meal comes with a sizzling pot of soybeans in rice and a raw egg. To eat the egg, crack it into a small bowl, add soup, stir it up, and add crumbled seaweed. So good and great for hangovers!
Address: 74, 2-dong, 63, Pungnammun 2-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeonbuk, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 풍남문2길 63 2동 74호
Hours: Daily 6:00-14:00
Outside of the Nambu Market and at the main entrance of the Jeonju Hanok Village is the colorful Pungnammum Gate. The gate was built around 1768 and now is the only surviving gate of the original four that surrounded the now-defunct castle. It was partially destroyed during one of the Japanese invasions and wasn’t restored until the end of the 20th century. The lights show illuminating on the gate are stunning in the evening.
Address: 1, Pungnammun 3-Gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 풍남문3길 1
Opened in 1990, Jeonju National Museum has since then endeavored to collect, conserve, research, exhibit, and educate on the cultural heritages of Jeollabuk-do and to pursue domestic and overseas cultural exchanges in a drive to become the hub culture center in the region.
The museum currently boasts of a collection of 40,000 works, including heritages of ancient stories and historical materials and arts unearthed in Jeollabuk-do or related to the regional history. Among them, 2,000 works are exhibited in four galleries and outdoor garden.
Address: 249 Ssukgogae-ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전라북도 전주시 완산구 쑥고개로 249
Hours: Monday-Friday 10:00-18:00, Saturday-Sunday 10:00-19:00 (Admissions end one hour prior to closing)
Entrance Fee: Free, except for special exhibitions
Jeonju National Museum Website
The site of Jeonju Museum of Art is a historically significant place, as it is the site of the old Jeonju “Central Theater”, one of three major movie theaters in Jeonju, which served as a “pick-up” for the enjoyment of culture and arts to the people of Jeonju City. It was closed in 1989 according to the trend of the times and has since become the first and best skyscraper in Jeollabuk-do, Seongwon Officetel. On the first basement floor of the office building, there was the Jeonbuk’s first male Sungwon Sauna, where the father’s joy and sorrow was washed away.
Then in 2012, it became a Jeonju Museum of Art, and even today, traces of its use as a sauna can be found inside the museum, and the museum is operated with the belief that it can become jade depending on how the given space is used.
Jeonju Museum of Art is the first type of private art museum representing Jeonbuk, and is located in a location in the oldest building in the neighborhood with excellent accessibility within 5-10 minutes from Nambu Market and the Hanok Village. In addition, there are various facilities such as a special exhibition hall, a permanent exhibition hall, an education room, an experience room, a data room, and a parking lot. In addition to well-equipped facilities, it houses relics and artworks of various genres and communicates with visitors and local residents through various special exhibitions, invitational exhibitions, and antique art exhibitions that promote the history and culture of the museum.
In addition, through education, lectures, academies, and exhibition-linked experience programs, we expand opportunities to enjoy Jeonju’s history, culture, and arts to residents and tourists visiting Jeonju, providing high-quality programs and doing our best as a complex cultural space.
Address: Seongwon Officetel B1, 25-26, Pungnammun 4-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeonbuk / 전주시 완산구 풍남문4길 25-26, 성원시티타워 B1
Hours: 10:00-18:00, closed Monday
Jeonju Art Museum Website Jeonju Art Museum Instagram
This small museum is 3 floors of such love and care. If he’s free, the museum director will give you some warm drinks, show you around, and tell you about some of the exhibits happening (all in Korean though). On the 3rd floor they sometimes have a special exhibit open to the public with beautiful balcony doors that open onto the rooftop.
Address: 98-1, Pungnammun 2-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeonbuk / 전라북도 전주시 완산구 풍남문2길 98-1 (전동3가) 전주현대미술관
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-18:00, closed Monday
Entrance Fee: Adult 7,000; Student 3,000
Jeonju Museum of Contemporary Art Website Jeonju Museum of Contemporary Art Facebook
This tiny free calligraphy museum houses over 1,000 artworks of famous Korean Joseon artists like Kim Hong-do, Jeong Yak-Yong, and Kim Jeong-hee. The museum conveniently located in the Jeonju traditional Hanok Village is definitely worth paying a short visit.
Address: 74, Jeonjucheondong-Ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 전주천동로 74
Hours: 9:00-18:00, closed Sunday
Entrance Fee: Free
Gangam Calligraphy Museum Website
This Hanji Museum in Jeonju opened back in 1997 and is the first museum in Korea to specialize in paper, especially the high-quality Hanji Korean paper. This museum isn’t located in the Jeonju Hanok Village, it is a 40-minute bus ride away from the village and is fairly close to Deokjin park.
Address: 59, Palbok-ro, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전라북도 전주시 덕진구 팔복로 59
Hours: 9:00-17:00, closed Monday
Entrance Fee: Free
Hanki Museum Website
Parks, Views, & Outdoors
Wansan Park is a quick stop after a visit from Nambu Market. This place is a must-visit during the cherry blossom season for its amazing view of bursting pink and red flowers everywhere. You’ll see locals taking a walk along the park and picnicking throughout the area. There are some hills in the park, and hiking shoes are not needed for the walk.
To get to the park, head south from Nambu Market, cross the overpass and continue to go straight up on Maegok-Ro Street which will lead you to a walking path.
Address: 35-29 Maegok-ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeonbuk, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 매곡로 35-29
The Deokjin Park is the citizen park of Jeonju and a nice getaway from the Hanok Village. It was created back in 1978 and has a huge natural pond which dates back to the Goryeo Dynasty. In the middle of the park, you can walk along a suspension bridge and check out the lake with the blooming lotus plants. Towards the back of the park, there is a man-made Byeokjin waterfall and the Yeonjljeong resting area.
Address: 390, Gwonsamdeuk-Ro, Deokjindong 1(il)-ga, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do
South Korea is the country of railbikes, and almost every city has its own rail bike track for visitors to enjoy. Take the Jeonju Rail Bike to enjoy the natural scenery of the ancient city. This is the perfect activity for couples or families with kids.
Address: 420, Dongbu-daero, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 덕진구 동부대로 420
Buy Tickets: Check info here.
Every year the Jeonju movie festival is held in Jeonju city. There is a whole street dedicated to this festival and is filled with lots of artwork and statues. The street starts at Jeonju City Hall and goes all the way to the Jeonju Digital Independent Film Theater.
Period: 05.28.2020 ~ 06.06.2020
Address: 46, Jeonjugaeksa 4-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전라북도 전주시 완산구 전주객사4길 46 (고사동)
Jeonju city has its own zoo, only a kilometer away from Deokjin Park. The zoo opened in 1978 and has over 670 animals like tigers, lions, giraffes, rhinos, camels, hippos, and many more. On top of the animals and plants, the zoo also houses a small amusement park, a soccer and volleyball court.
Address: 68, Sori-Ro, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 덕진구 소리로 68
Hours: Daily 9:00-19:00
Entrance Fee: 1,300 KRW
Explore South of Jeonju
If you have extra time and want to explore the local parts of Jeonju, consider a trip south from the Jeonju Hanok Village to the southern part of Jeonju. It was a long walk (about 45 minutes). It was awesome to get away from the crowds and see the local life as there were no other tourists around.
Namgo Sanseong Fortress 남고산성 and Namgosa Temple 남고사
Follow the signs that head to Namgosa Temple to reach the Namgo Sanseong Fortress. If you’re walking, beware that this hill is STEEP, but once you reach the top, you’ll be awarded with colorful lanterns and a resting spot.
The fortress was used to defend against the Japanese army during the Hubaekje kingdom era; used as military barracks, storehouses, and armories. Currently, there aren’t much of the fortress walls left, except for the Namgosa Temple.
The Namgosa Temple is a five-minute walk from the fortress. It’s a well-maintained temple, and you can easily browse through the area and go through a walking path along the forest area of the temples.
Namgo Sanseong Fortress Address: 153-1, Dongseohak-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeonbuk / 전북 전주시 완산구 동서학동 산 153-1
Namgosa Temple Address: 53-88 Namgosanseong 1-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeonbuk / 전북 전주시 완산구 남고산성1길 53-88
Chunggyeongsa Temple 충경사
This temple is much easier to get to as it’s on Dongseohak-dong Road. The temple has three tiers and is surrounded by beautiful trees and has a serene presence. The temple is a shrine for Yi Jeong-ran who helped raise over 700 volunteers to defend against the Japanese army in 1592. Yi was the mayor and volunteer force organizer when Japan invaded again in 1597, helping with public morale during the time of war and passed away at 72 years old. Bathrooms are available here.
Address: 31, Namgosanseong 1-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeonbuk / 전북 전주시 완산구 남고산성1길 31
Jeonju Choco Pie
The Jeonju choco pie is like no other choco pie in Korea and is a must try when visiting Jeonju. Choco pies are two fresh baked cookies sandwiching a flavored whipped cream, dipped in dark chocolate. So decadent from the first to last bite. It is very thick and about the size of a hand palm. The pies are sold with different flavors but are all filled with cream and jam and are very popular among tourists and locals. Many different shops sell this choco pie, but there are two main ones: PNB and Jeonju Jaegwa. The latter one delivers choco pies to the President of Korea.
PNB Bakery started in 1951. There are various flavors, including matcha, chocolate, strawberry, and more. Small choco pies are 1,500 KRW and the larger ones are 2,300 KRW. If you visit the larger PNB shops (outside of the Hanok Village), the other baked goods are also delicious! It’s easy to find PNB in Jeonju, while there’s just one store in Seoul. Many visitors stock up while they’re in town. Look out for the orange and brown shopping bags.
Address: 61 Bank-ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeonbuk, 55045, South Korea / 전북 전주시 완산구 은행로 61; Selection at different locations vary.
Jeonju is considered to be the bibimbap capital of South Korea, and there are very few food experiences in the world like a ‘meal in a bowl’ in Jeonju, Korea. Among the gazillion such bowls, the most celebrated is the ‘mixed rice’ bowl of bibimbap that was born in Korea’s Jeonju.
It is a bowl of rice mixed with shiitake mushrooms, beef, spinach, flavored with spicy chilli paste, fermented soybean paste, and most often topped with fried egg. A beef tartare (raw beef) is also very popular in Jeonju. You can get bibimbap in a normal or a sizzling hot stone bowl (dolsot bibimbap) which produces crispy rice. What makes Jeonju bibimbap better that any other bibimbap is the fact that the rice is cooked in beef broth instead of plain water. As a testament to the quality of the dish, Lonely Planet’s recently released ‘Ultimate Eatlist’ book featured it as the world’s 8th best eating experience. Almost every restaurant and stall in town have their take on the dish. Finding your personal favorite is an adventure only Jeonju has on offer. If you find yourself in Jeonju in October, don’t miss the bibimbap festival that celebrates not just the dish but also other specialties of the region.
A recommended spot is the hot pot version at Hanguk-Jib 한국, one of the oldest serving institutions with delicious foods, clean flavors, and fresh vegetables. All tables receive 6 amazing banchans, bean sprout soup, and kimchi soup. Price for bibimbap is 12,000 KRW.
Address: 119, Eojin-Gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 어진길 119
Hours: 10:00-21:00; Break time: 15:00-17:00
Another best restaurant to taste this yummy dish is Hanguk-Gwan 한국관 which lies just across the palace on the main street. They serve different kinds of bibimbap including stone, beef tartar and the original bibimbap.
Address: 31, Taejo-ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 태조로 31
Hours: Daily 11:00-19:00.
Another on this list is Kajok Hoegwan 가족회관, a 15 minute walk from the Hanok Village and close to the Pedestrian Walking Area/shopping. You have a choice of just two items on the menu – Jeonju bibimbap with raw beef or a regular version with cooked beef. The highlight is having 12 different banchan included with your meal. Price for bibimbap is 13,500 KRW.
Address: 17, Jeollagamyeong 5-Gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do (2nd floor) / 전북 전주시 완산구 전라감영5길 17 2층
Kongnamul Gukbap 콩나물 국밥
Kongnamul Gukbap is a very simple dish of bean sprout soup with rice. The soup broth is made with dried anchovy, lots of bean sprouts and washed chopped kimchi are added in the end. A recommended spot is Sambeakjib 삼백집, the perfect breakfast or lunch place in the Jeonju Hanok Village. They finish the soup with lots of sesame oil and a raw egg which makes the soup rich and mild. The raw egg will be cooked because of the hot soup in the stone pot. There is another amazing dish, perfect as a side dish with this main food. The non-spicy pan-fried green chili dumplings.
Address: 22, Jeonju Gaeksa 2-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 전주객사2길 22
Jeonju Makgeolli 전주 막걸리
There is a specific makgeolli in Jeonju, quite different from the standard makgeolli. This one is called Moju 모주 and has a much lower alcohol percentage than the original drink. Moju literally translates to ‘mother’s care’ and is made with ginger, jujube, ginseng, and cinnamon.
Dine & Wine In Traditional Korean Style
The Koreans love their makgeolli, a spirit made of fermented rice. One of the most exciting things to do in Jeonju is the experience of its ‘makgeolli town’, a bar strip that specializes in the drink. These taverns are like a Korean version of tapas. You can order a brass kettle of rice wine for the table and the accompanied food is brought alongside. For each kettle you get, expect a spread of 20+ dishes, each brimming with flavor. At Cheonnyeonnuri Bom 천년누리봄, a makgeolli town run by the senior citizen club, each dish is packed with a flavorful punch. Along with banchan, large ginseng soup bowls, grilled fish, stir-fried pork belly are some of the many dishes served. The more kettles of wine you order, the dishes on the table grow with it. Don’t worry about the hangover as Jeonju has the perfect cure: Kongnamul Gukbap, a bean sprout soup with rice you can find in the streets in the morning.
Address: 38-8 Gyeonggijeon-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju / 전북 전주시 완산구 경기전길 38-8
Hours: Daily 11:00-23:00; Break time: 14:00-17:00