Welcome to Jeju Island! After a tiring trip on the southern part of the island, looking for the Jusangjeolli Cliff, two of the three most famous waterfalls of the island, as well as the Teddy Bear Museum, I was completely exhausted, longing for a nice dinner.
After I was done adoring the beauty of the Cheonjiyeon Waterfall at night, I took a cab back to the vicinity of the hotel, strategically located next to a food street called Arangjoeul Geori, where I was staying for the night. I just randomly picked an eatery and went inside. Hmm, grilled food for the night!
Banchan refers to side dishes which accompany main courses in Korean cuisine. They're usually refilled throughout your meal, but the other day I arrived very late and didn't get them refilled as they were cleaning up, I guess. There were no other people eating, so I felt like I owned the restaurant haha... Anyway, actually there were only five banchan dishes in the above picture: turnips, cucumbers, kelps, shellfish and egg tofu; the rest were for the main course I ordered. My personal favourite were the pickled turnips which were sweet and crunchy, sliced so thin that they appeared somewhat transparent. The shellfish, seasoned with a bit of vinegar, among others, were great too without having an over-powering fishy taste.
Ogyeopsal (오겹살) ₩13,000 (~S$14.30)
The price stated is per person, and the picture shows the amount of ogyeopsal (lit. five-layered pork belly), enoki mushrooms and onion slices you'll get for two people. The pork belly was neither marinated nor seasoned, but goodness, the alternating layers between the meat and the fat were heavenly. I shall describe more below.
Well, of course you need vegetables to wash down the fatty stuff! They were fresh, lightly seasoned with vinegar and chili.
Let them cook on the grill! Pika's advice: If you're a baseball fan like me, don't forget to take a look at your food on the grill when you're watching a match on the TV; otherwise, you may end up burning your meat (like what I did)! :P
Put the pork belly, onion, garlic and the savoury ssamjang (쌈장), a variety of paste made of fermented soybeans, chilies, sesame oil and others, on top of lettuce or a perilla leaf, wrap them and YUM! The moment I sank my teeth into the pork belly, I was taken in by the tender meat and the succulent layers of fat which had acquired the smoky flavour from grilling. Topped with the sweet onion and the stinging garlic, it was an awesome dinner to end the day. Oh, I also enjoyed the minty sensation given out by the perilla leaves (not shown), locally known as ggaenip (깻잎).
Sitting on a cushion (very thin, unfortunately) on the raised wooden platform, I truly enjoyed my first dinner in Jeju Island. The staff I met could speak very basic English. He didn't talk much as expected, but he was quite friendly, although I could tell that he was really tired.
(Opening hours unknown - Anyone knows?)
*Prices quoted are nett prices.
Have a nice meal,