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7 Local Foods in Jeju
Galchi Guk(Hairtail Soup)
For most people, it would make more sense to eat galchi grilled or braised. In Jeju, however, the fish is actually preferred as a soup as well. Some might imagine it to be quite fishy, but the taste is quite similar to that of a bland fish soup. Since it is boiled with vegetables such as squash, taxibage, and green chills, it tastes both sweet and spicy in equal measure. In Jeju, Galchi guk is also recommended as a hangover soup, perfect after a night of Jeju soju.
Seongge Guk (Sea Urchin Soup)
Usually, seongge is caught on the rocks of Seogwipo seashore by Jeju diving women. Among the different species of seongge, bora seongge (purple sea urchin) is used for seongge guk. It is boiled with sea urchin eggs and miyeok (seaweed), which is why it is often called seongge miyeok guk (sea urchin seaweed soup). This one, however, has a broth that is thinner and lighter-flavored than the typical miyeok guk. In Jeju, seongge guk displays the level of sincerity afforded to the guests by the amount of seongge eggs in it.
Okdom Gui(Grilled Sea Bream)
Okdom (sea bream) acquired its name for its bulging forehead which looks like ok (jade marble). The fish is caught in abundance around Jeju Island. As gogi (meat) usually refers to pork in the Jeju language, the word saengseon (fish) is another word for okdom, rather than other fish species such as mackerel or hairtail. When sun- or airdried, the fish becomes harder in taste, which is loved by many. While tourists prefer it to be grilled, the Jeju locals usually consume it as a soup.
Jari Mulhoe (Cold Raw Damselfish Soup)
Jari Dom (damselfish) is without doubt Jeju’s summer specialty fish. Caught in late May and prepared as mulhoe (cold raw fish soup) solely in the summer, jari dom is enjoyed as comfort food by the Jeju people. It is cut and eaten with bones in it, which enhances its umami flavor while being chewed. Jeju’s traditional jari mulhoe becomes sourer by seasoning nal doenjang (plain soybean paste) with swindari (a kind of vinegar).
Hanchi Mulhoe (Cold Raw Cuttlefish Soup)
Along with jari mulhoe, hanchi mulhoe is another comfort food enjoyed during Jeju’s summer season. Hanchi has shorter legs than squid. In particular, Jeju-grown hanchi is small in size so it is popular as an ingredient in mulhoe. While frozen hanchi can be preserved and enjoyed throughout every season, the best season for fresh hanchi is the summer. Compared to jari dom, hanchi is more tender in texture and has a good pairing with vegetables.
Gogi Guksu (Pork Noodles)
Gogi guksu is one of the representative foods found in Jeju and is also one of the must-tries for Jeju tourists. Of course, the word gogi (meat) in its name refers to pork. First, boil the pork in water and add the noodles to the broth later. Compared to the thinner noodles on the mainland, Jeju’s gogi guksu features thick noodles and its richly flavored broth is beyond anyone’s expectations.
Bing Tteok (Buckwheat Pancake)
Bing Tteok is a local traditional food item enjoyed in buckwheat-producing areas. However, it is only available in some parts of Gangwon-do and Jeju. First of all, you make the dough with buckwheat powder, spread it wide, add salted radish slices on it and roll it up. The name Bing comes from bing bing (the motion of rolling something). One can easily find bing tteok in any of the traditional markets of Jeju.