When I looked up Jeonju the first things that came up in my research was that this place was known for the famous dish bibimbap. In fact it boasted to have the best bibimbap in Korea. For those who may not know, bibimbap is a Korean dish which is mainly rice, vegetables and a meat usually bulgogi(Korean beef with sweet sauce). The actual word bibimbap translates to english as mixed rice. But did Jeonju have much else to offer? Did it have the best bibimbap in all of Korea?
When we first arrived in Jeonju, my first opinion was that I don’t think it sees many western tourists. The town was devoid of any english, for some this may be difficult to deal with. But we managed to get to our hostel and checked in. The hostel gave us a map circled some highlights and a famous bibimbap restaurant, then we were off to explore! The first highlight to see the Jeondong Catholic Church. It was very much so like another church you may see through out Asia. But the thing that most distinctly made it different to me was the people. Everyone was dressed up in beautiful traditional clothing. They also set up there tripods and took selfies of each other in front of the church.
As we began are walk towards the other sites I saw more and more people dressed in traditional clothing. There was also street food down this beautiful walking street. Next to the walking street laid a beautiful Hanok Village(traditional homes) still used today. I’ve found that Koreans seem to be proud of their past and want to preserve their culture. I find this admirable, in a world where globalization is becoming more and more rampant. This also led us to the portraits of the kings along with a traditional area.
After checking out these sites we were ready to try this infamous Jeonju dish. We went to the restaurant recommended by our hostel. We followed the hand drawn map given to us my the receptionist, matched the hangul(Korean alphabet) ensuring we were at the right place. We entered the place to be full of locals. I ordered the Jeonju Bibimbap It was served in a brass bowl which was very hot. I mixed all the veggies, rice and bulgogi together. There was a fruit added as well that I’m not familiar with but it added a sweetness to the dish that was very different from other bibimbap I’ve had in the past. Needless to say it was worth the trip.
I then also checked out a beautiful park called Deokjin Park. It’s known for having lotuses on the lake. We went and found the park to be filled with people just relaxing in the shade with friends and loved ones. The park was also filled with many statues of people, accompanied with many sculptures which were just interesting to look at(although there was no english, much like the rest of Jeonju I’m not sure who or what most of the sculptures represented). Locals were very friendly to us giving us fruits they had just picked from the trees in the park and trying to explain what some of the things were, Sadly my Korean just was not good enough to understand them.
If you have the chance to visit Jeonju one day, do so. Its beautiful place a little bit of the beaten path for some. But thats how we find these treasures. I hope you enjoyed the post,thank you for reading!
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