As I mentioned previously, I knew next to nothing about Jeju Island before actually going, which meant everything was a surprise, including the food. It turns out that there are many delicacies specific to Jeju that I had to try once…twice…many times.
What better place to try sashimi than at a beach restaurant?
Jeju Orange juice, or Hallabong juice, is so sweet I thought I was drinking the dregs of an otter pop. It wasn’t until I ate an orange off a tree in a grove that we had wandered into that I realized, no, they are actually that sweet naturally.
We were distracted by a dog outside a house by our hostel, which turned out to be a coffee shop (of course). I ordered a salad, only to see the guy leave the house and pick my lettuce from his garden.
Ahjummas dive into the ocean and gather clams, cucumbers, crabs and snails to sell at tourist attractions.
My first raw snail: collected by an ahjumma that morning and eaten at the base of a waterfall.
Jeju is also famous for it’s black pigs, which it raises on the island and chops them up for consumption. It’s like regular pork–but better.
Over at Ecoland, a quick google translate revealed that this was a natural spring and that drinking from these spoons would grant you a wish. I did partake, perhaps against my best interest, but I didn’t get sick! And the wish…I’m still waiting.
I judge a country by its ice cream, and Korea has so far done quite well. Some more google translating revealed that the pink one “baeknyuncho” was a type of cactus. Cactus ice cream? YES.
Baeknyuncheo is indigenous to Jeju and therefore in everything from ice cream to chocolates to salads. It rates in the top ice creams I’ve ever had.
On one of my city days, we stopped at a coffee shop to bandage up my new friend’s knee, which was bothering her. The open windows and doors let in flies, the 70s sofas let out dust when you sat on them, and the television was replaying a drama from 10 years ago.
In Seogwipo-si, we ate at a restaurant on a harbor. I didn’t feel like google translating, so we just ordered a fish soup with boiled mackerel. I assume it was caught right outside, because it tasted like it had just been thrown into the pot.
We had to get overpriced drinks from Hello Kitty Island’s coffee shop.
What a restaurant/bar on Jeju serves as appetizers: miso soup, plain browned popcorn, two fried eggs on a hot plate, and a palate cleanser.
Not pictured–the baeknyuncho, hallabong, blueberry, and banana flavored chocolates, my hallabong ice cream, the jeju island statue shaped mandu, our second black pork, and assorted chicken skewers.
There are many more things I want to try, but they will have to wait until second trip. And there WILL be a second trip.