5 things to do in Jeonju Hanok Village, Korea

We had a good time staying in a traditional Korean house, taking photos, and eating. This article should cover most needs!

Cherry blossoms in Jeonju © 2018 PEARL LEE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Jeonju Hanok Village was a scenic, beautiful place. I was lucky to see some cherry blossoms while when I was there. Overall, I had a lovely stay and have come away with some recommendations.

1. Stay in a traditional Korean house and rent a fancy hanbok: 전주한옥마을숙박 “더머뭄”

81-8 Pungnamdong 3(sam)-ga, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea

Hanok refers to a traditional Korean house. Expect to sleep on a floor in a comfy mattress.

The unique characteristic of Korean hanoks is their heating system. In Korea, heating is through the floor. It’s super nice to come back and plop down on the floor to warm yourself up.

What stood out about Deomeomun, the hanok we stayed in, was how hospitable the owners were. Our lady host came out to greet us in case we got lost (we were, actually!). As we stayed there on a weekday, the owners gave us a free upgrade to a larger room.

Our room looked out to a lovely, serene courtyard. Neighbourhood cats come to visit, but they’re quite fearful.

A. Renting a hanbok

Most people go to Jeonju and want to wear the traditional Korean dress. We did the same! We rented matching hanboks and received a steep discount as guests. For three hours of renting the fancy outfit, we paid about KRW15000 each. What a steal.

The owner’s daughter also pull out all the stops to accessorize my hair!

전주한옥마을숙박
전주한옥마을숙박 “더머뭄”: Hanbok and hair accessories
Cat in Jeonju
Here I’m looking at another cat in Jeonju – there are plenty of them. You can see my hanbok and my hair accessory!

B. Breakfast, yum!

I am not sure if breakfast is complimentary, but the owners were kind enough to deliver a filling meal right up to our room. It was a nutritious meal of fruit and rice cakes and tea, and I ate it facing the courtyard.

C. Prices and more comments

We paid about SGD80 per night in total. It seems that all rooms come with a toilet.

If you’re a light sleeper, bring earplugs – the owners said the rooms are not soundproof.

We booked this property via Airbnb here. Each room comes with their own listing, so do keep a lookout as room sizes differ. The rates are here.

Overall, I was sad to leave the hanok and promised to return. It’s a good deal for a unique experience of staying in a traditional Korean house and taking pictures in traditional Korean dress.

2. Take pretty pictures: Omogdae

68-9 Girin-daero, Gyo-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea

My boyfriend and I went to this area and climbed up to an observatory pavilion. The climb is not steep and is only about 5 minutes. The pavilion is surrounded by cherry blossom trees, and we managed to get a few good shots!
Omogdae Cherry Blossoms
A look at trees bursting with blossoms in Omogdae
Omogdae Cherry Blossoms
Snap all the dream shots you want! These are pre-filter so I’m sure you can take many better shots.
You can take pictures with cherry blossoms from any angle: under the tree, in front of low-lying branches, trees in the background. It’s a perfect background to work with.
You can see the pavilion and the surrounding garden in Google Maps, surrounded by sand.
Omogdae-map
The pavilion is in the area under the red indicator.

3. Rest and have coffee: Cafe브리즈

Jeondongseongdang-gil, Pungnam-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea

After walking so much and taking photos, we enjoyed a cup of coffee and honey toast at Cafe브리즈. It’s a building with three stories. It overlooked a garden and had a cozy environment both inside the cafe, and on its rooftop.

4. Eat delicious local Korean food: 전주 교동 떡갈비

73-2 Pungnamdong 3(sam)-ga, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea

The food here was excellent. If you love Korean food, this is the right place to be. If you don’t like Korean food, maybe this place will change your mind. 🙂

We took the reasonably priced lunch sets, and I added one bibim-naengmyeon. I don’t like bibimbap (mixed rice), but I wanted to sample the spicy sauce that Jeonju’s famous for! It was the right choice.

img_4547
전주 교동 떡갈비: The side dishes were great.
img_4550
전주 교동 떡갈비: Slightly spicy, but it’s great food.

The star of the show is the tteok-galbi: Korean grilled short rib patties. It’s a Jeonju delicacy. When I put a slab of meat in my mouth, it melted. If you love burgers, the minced meat may remind you of a burger patty.

I highly recommend this restaurant.

Click on the video to see the meat sizzle.

The restaurant had a very elegant look.

img_4548
전주 교동 떡갈비: Restaurant interior
img_4549
전주 교동 떡갈비

5. For the religious: Jeondong Cathedral

South Korea, Jeollabuk-do, Jeonju, Wansan-gu, Jeon-dong, 태조로 51

According to Google Maps: “Built 1908–1914, this historic Romanesque church features statues of Korean Catholic martyrs.”

I did not have a tour of the cathedral, but it was a nice historical site to visit in Jeonju. Like most places of worship, there’s no photographing allowed in the cathedral. The Western-style architecture is a stark contrast to traditional Korean houses!

Wishing you a good visit to Jeonju Hanok Village!


© 2018 PEARL LEE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Please write to me here to use my material. Thank you. 

Road to meeting NamChin’s parents

My trip to Korea and meeting the parents in 2012

Can’t believe I had a nightmare about sending clients a copy riddled with errors. Plus I haven’t been feeling well yesterday and today so here’s some light-hearted stuff.

The first time I met NamChin‘s parents was in the summer of 2012. After my school trip ended, we met up in Seoul and left for Daejeon where his family stayed.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-194.JPG
It was summer but I spotted this pretty leaf.

Road to Daejeon

Daejeon is South Korea ‘s fifth-largest metropolis. I think it is like Yishun. It’s not as glitzy but it has everything you might need at arm’s length. And it’s easy to find spaces without a lot of people.

I really enjoyed this trip because it was the first time I got to see my boyfriend’s house and where he lived! Yay!

NamChin and I took the KTX from Seoul to Daejeon. It takes around one hour.

Train-to-daejeon
On a train to Daejeon in the summer of 2012
SouthKorea-summer-2012-9
Yongsan station in Seoul.

I was very amused when we were in Korea and NamChin knew where we were all the time because everything was foreign to me. That’s him dragging the luggage from behind on the right.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-11
Before leaving we had some time for lunch. I had this soup noodle thing. It was spicy.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-10
And of course, a snack to top it off. Waffles and ice-cream!
SouthKorea-summer-2012-5
Waiting for the train. No zombies.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-6
A different view.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-12
Inside the station
SouthKorea-summer-2012-13
KTX!
SouthKorea-summer-2012-14
Inside the KTX. TRAIN TO BUSAN ZOMBIES!
SouthKorea-summer-2012-8
On the train!
SouthKorea-summer-2012-16
Nice view!

NamChin’s house

Finally, we reached Daejeon. I was really excited to see where he stayed. His family has since moved to another area of Daejeon which is why we feel more comfortable posting these pics.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-19
Taking the taxi! So quaint
SouthKorea-summer-2012-20
What I saw on my way to his house.

We reached the residential area after a short ride.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-40
A residential area in Daejeon (not the block he stayed in). Looks like HDB flat! There’s a security guard post.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-17
A carpark. You can see where they stringently recycle stuff, which was the part that surprised me since in Singapore we just stuff everything down the chute.

There are even cameras to make sure people recycle their trash correctly.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-18
The corridor outside his home.

You can see that the houses were densely packed. One morning, I woke up to a loud shrill female voice. It was the neighbor. I wasn’t surprised though because in Singapore, I can hear my neighbors too. But I was still groggy from sleep.

Me: Hmm, I don’t think I have an Indian neighbour…
Voice: [Korean]
Me: Oh, I’m in Korea!

I reflected on it and thought that actually, Korean and Indian might sound a little similar. They have rolled Rs and when spoken really fast, can sound like a rapidly rolling marble of various sounds.


On the first day of meeting the NamChin’s parents, we went to eat fish porridge together.

We had a pretty idyllic stay. My boyfriend’s family stayed on the first floor of an apartment block. The windows were flooded with sunlight every morning and the lace curtains offered some privacy.

NamChin-old-house-food
Every morning I woke up to a delicious meal that Omma cooked. And the menu was different everyday.

Even though Omma has a full-time job, the menu changed everyday and we ate so much food.

NamChin-old-house1
The lace curtains! Very pretty.
NamChin-old-house2
The plants on the indoors balcony
NamChin-old-house3
Seeing this picture reminds me of the houses in the Reply series!

NamChin-old-house4

NamChin-old-house5
They didn’t have a sofa and a table. We sat on the floor most of the time. This table has foldable legs and they kept it folded up in one of the rooms.
NamChin-old-house-army
Wearing the NamChin’s “ggalggari” (the casual name for the innerwear from army), which was super warm and comfortable.

Apparently, Koreans like to joke that the “ggalggari” is the highest tech Korean military gear. I have to agree. Very comfortable.

Visited NamChin’s primary school!

I was really interested to see NamChin’s primary school so we went there. But there wasn’t a fence and people can easily walk in, which freaked me out a little because it’s a primary school! The name of the school is St. Mary Elementary School.

Apparently, when night falls, people can walk into schools to use the facilities such as the fields. I think that’s a good practice.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-130
The security guards didn’t stop us.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-131
I thought I would only see this in dramas.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-133
Lovely flowers.

Oh, and apparently Song Joong Ki came from this primary school. Yes, the one from Descendants of the Sun. Technically he is my boyfriend’s sunbae (lol). And sauce confirmed.

NamChin: Song Joong Ki sunbae, notice me!

The post got long so here are other stuff to do in Daejeon..

Best fish porridge in Daejeon

Wongol shikdang and nature

I had the best fish porridge ever in Daejeon, Korea.

원골 식당 (Wongol shikdang/restaurant)
254-1 Cheonnae-ri, Jewon-myeon, Geumsan, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea

SouthKorea-summer-2012-21
The carpark of Wongol shikdang
SouthKorea-summer-2012-22
Here was the restaurant. They’ve since expanded into two more of these houses.

The first time I drank makgeolli

The first time I had makgeolli was during my first meal with NamChin’s parents. I really wasn’t expecting to drink. Moreover, alcohol at lunch time seems a bit extreme. And I was quite young back then so I wasn’t expecting to be drinking at all.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-24
Drank from a small cup

“Is this milk?” I asked before taking a swig. It was slightly sweet, addictive, and then the alcohol hit me.

“WTF,” I thought. “It’s only the first meal together and I’m drinking already.” And it was about 4pm when it was still bright.

Thankfully, the alcohol wasn’t too strong so nothing crazy happened.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-85
The tasty makgeolli!

Soon, the dishes were ready.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-25
The fish dish!

I wasn’t expecting much because it was a week into Korea and I was getting sick of Korean food. But this was really, really, tasty stuff. The fish was fresh.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-23
Covered with spicy sauce
SouthKorea-summer-2012-26
The porridge

The porridge was thick and flavorful, which went well with the fried fish.

After the good meal, we had a walk before heading back. The restaurant is surrounded by nature and it was lovely. Before you see more pics here’s the address again because it is THAT GOOD.

원골 식당 (Wongol shikdang/restaurant)
254-1 Cheonnae-ri, Jewon-myeon, Geumsan, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea

SouthKorea-summer-2012-218
Just outside the restaurant.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-30
Walking around the stream. Kids were playing there too.

It was spring going summer, so the weather was good and cool. I walked a little in the stream as well.

Beautiful!

SouthKorea-summer-2012-28

SouthKorea-summer-2012-31
Tsk tsk. 
SouthKorea-summer-2012-34
The waters are really clear. And no, the fish isn’t caught from this stream.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-33

SouthKorea-summer-2012-35
It was a really lovely day.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-36
Looking at the fish porridge place from the stream.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-37
Omma made me this flower ring.

Omma made me this flower ring from flowers by the stream, which she used to do to entertain herself when she was younger.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-38
Delicate and beautiful.

Korean chicken

SouthKorea-summer-2012-112
One night, we had takeout. It was also my first time having Korean chicken.

 

SouthKorea-summer-2012-116
My first time having Korean chicken!

Little did I know Korean chicken would become so popular, thanks to You Who Came From The Stars.

Some sushi in Korea too.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-113SouthKorea-summer-2012-114SouthKorea-summer-2012-115


Besides the food, I had a great time in Daejeon. Walked around a lot but it was a pity I did not take any more pictures.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-83
Daejeon at night.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-84
NamChin buying me a red bean bun from a stall. Sadly, I did not take pics.

Now I’m much more used to Korean food, but after this trip, I rushed like crazy to my favorite zichar (煮炒) place to have some Singaporean-Chinese food. Shovelled Hong Kong style steamed pomfret with rice and sambal kangkong.

That felt really good too.

What I saw in Daejeon

Featuring Sung Sim Dang

Here’s a short introduction of what I saw in Daejeon during my trip there in summer 2012.

KAIST

Daejeon is famous for being home to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), one of Korea’s top universities.

I’ve never been to KAIST to take a look, but I’ve been to Hanbat National University instead. It’s really scenic and quiet there.

Next!

Say department Store

1-16 Munhwa 1(il)-dong, Jung-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

This is my favorite mall. It’s similar to North Point and Golden Village in Yishun. Why I love it:

    • Has budaejjigae (army stew). It’s a delicious pot of instant ramyeon, spam, sausage, egg, baked beans, and kimchi. The first time I had budaejjigae was there.
    • Has a really comfy movie theater
    • Has Smoothie King
SouthKorea-summer-2012-135
My first time eating budaejjigae!
SouthKorea-summer-2012-136
Soupy~
SouthKorea-summer-2012-109
The cinema at Say Department Store
SouthKorea-summer-2012-110
We watched this movie and the ticket was like this. Korea was more advanced than Singapore. These tickets were purchased at the self-service booth.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-108
Taking the subway! It was a little smaller than Singapore’s trains.

Sung Sim Dang

Phone, +82 42-220-4153 · Address. 중구 은행동 145번지; Daejeon 301-839.

This deserves a category of its own.

Best bread and pastries in Korea! It’s conveniently located next to Old Downtown, or Eunhangdong. It’s the most awesome shopping street – not commercialized like MyeongDong. You could get nails done for really cheap!

SouthKorea-summer-2012-90
Outside the store. It has a lovely exterior, but after its renovations, it no longer looks like that.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-91
Pastries galore!

SouthKorea-summer-2012-92SouthKorea-summer-2012-93

SouthKorea-summer-2012-95
This is what we got.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-100
Yum!
SouthKorea-summer-2012-98
I think this is apple bread.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-99
Sausage bread.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-101
Fried bun, which Sung Sim Dang is famous for.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-105
Inside the buns.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-94SouthKorea-summer-2012-96

SouthKorea-summer-2012-89
Eun Haeng Dong (the street where Sung Sim Dang is located).
SouthKorea-summer-2012-88
Walking and exploring Eun Haeng Dong.
SouthKorea-summer-2012-128
Of course, we had to have this long soft serve ice cream.

Whenever I go to Korea the ice cream is a must have.

SouthKorea-summer-2012-127
Tons of Molang!

This brings back good memories of walking around the street on a lovely day eating street food with my boyfriend. And this was already five years ago! I’ll always cherish those innocent and carefree moments where everything felt new and fresh.

Sumiya at Orchard Central

A Japanese gem in the heart of town.

There’s a gem in town.

Sumiya at Orchard Central (Facebook) has a “happy hour dinner”. The price of a meal that is typically very luxurious costs 50% less. Moreover, I’ve been there twice, once directly after my trip in Japan. The quality of the food here is comparable to that of food served in restaurants in Japan.

sumiya-orchardcentral-4
The menu. Do you see something you like?
sumiya-orchardcentral-5
The menu. Do you see something you like?

The price is reasonable for the taste of the food. I think this restaurant cares about the aesthetics of the dish as well, which is important to me when assessing the quality of a Japanese restaurant. For example, the plates they use are very beautiful such as this seashell shaped dish.

sumiya-orchardcentral-2
This seashell dish is so cute!

Here’s the food!

sumiya-orchardcentral-1
Unagi and tempura double don.

The tempura is well done. Not oily, lightly fried, and I can still taste the fragrance of the prawn. I love that they didn’t douse the rice with tons of sauce as some restaurants do. Wet rice is not nice. I was able to eat the entire dish with only chopsticks, Japanese style!

Needless to say, the unagi is very good. The egg is also a winner in my heart. It isn’t heavy at all. That’s the reason I keep going back – to get that taste of Japan back in my mouth.

On to the next don…

sumiya-orchardcentral-6
Seared Japanese Wagyu Shabu Don with Crab Meat and Salmon Roe

The crab which I think is the main draw isn’t very flavorful. I clarified with the staff there that it’s snow crab, which I really love for its taste. Altogether, this was a very nice tasting and well-balanced dish. The wagyu is quite tasty, and I could tell it was not the usual shabu meat. I would say nothing really sets this dish apart, but I could be wrong, as I had finished the entire bowl previously. Good to give it a go nonetheless.


Why do I look for high-quality Japanese restaurants in Singapore?

Usually Japanese restaurants are very expensive, but I find that the taste is lacking or incomparable to the food I had in Japan. That’s totally understandable. That is why I am happy with Sumiya.

A couple of months ago, I returned home from Japan. It was my second major trip away from Singapore with my boyfriend. Also, Japan was one of the countries I wanted to visit for a while. So we went there, and even till now, I am craving all the food from Japan. Tamago, dorayaki, tea, and even konbini foods like the latest spicy mentaiko onigiri.

We ate this tamago at Kyubei Sushi in Ginza. We really recommend this place for sushi! The service we received was top notch and the food was beyond words. Again, my boyfriend is Korean and intercountry relations are iffy. We didn’t experience any racism in Japan and not in any of these restaurants. People were very kind to us.

Tamago, one of the dishes served at Kyubei Sushi, Ginza

I really wanted to have eel in Japan, especially after our insane sushi experience. I was especially blown away by the fact that the chef made the distinction between sea water and fresh water eel. The Japanese really care a lot about food and the quality of their work.

Nearing the end of our trip, on our 5th anniversary, we decided to go to this place in Kyoto to have eel. I had mine paired with hot sake.  It was my treat to my boyfriend 🙂 Service in this restaurant was impeccable. Japanese girls are all so cute.

Boyfriend’s food. One way to eat this is to have it like a normal rice bowl. Another way is to pour the “tea” provided into the bowl, mix, and slurp it up.
I chose the set which was slightly more expensive. It was very good.

The trip to Japan was very memorable, especially because we celebrated our fifth anniversary in Kyoto. This is a pendant from J.estina. I’m a fan of ice skater Kim Yuna and she endorses this jewelry.

fifth-anniversary-necklace
Gift from my boyfriend for our fifth anniversary!