Actual dates of travel: 10-13 Apr 2014
When travelling, I try to look for halal food, or halal-friendly food. However, in Korea, it is difficult to find halal-certified food outside of major cities like Seoul and Busan. Even in these cities, the options are limited. Also, I wanted to try some local cuisine, ‘cos isn’t that one of the fun aspects of travelling? That’s where the halal-friendly options came into play. By halal-friendly, I mean food from places that are not certified halal, but whereby the food itself is from permissible sources (e.g. seafood or vegetables) and there is little or no risk of contamination with non-permissible items (i.e., the shop doesn’t sell non-halal meat). Here, I share the places where I found such food in Jeju.
[Update, 1 July 2015: You can view the locations of most of the restaurants below + other halal-friendly options on my customised Jeju Map; https://seoulnme.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/my-jeju-map/]
1) What: Godeungo jorim (Braised mackerel) at Bugun Restaurant
Cost: 15,000 won
Where: Near Jeju City Hall; (19, Dongkwangro-6gil, Jeju-si, T: +82-64-753-9521)
In Jeju I had the most delicious seafood. On one of the nights, I sought out a seafood restaurant within walking distance from my hostel (YEHA Guesthouse City Hall) where I had a satisfactory meal of braised mackarel with radish. As seen from the menu board above, the restaurant only serves seafood. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the exact location, but basically it was situated along a side street near Jeju City Hall. I found the place based on a map of nearby eating places posted on the bulletin board at the guesthouse. Like in many restaurants in Korea, the minimum serving size was for 2 pax. I pleaded for them to give me a slightly smaller serving for 1 person and they kindly agreed. As I recall, the price was reduced slightly (from 20,000 to 15,000 won) to reflect the smaller serving size.
2) What: ‘Hue’ (Korean-style sashimi)
Cost: 30,000 won
Where: One of the restaurants at Seobudo (West Port) Raw Fish Street
Walk northwards from Dongmun Market along the Sanjicheon Stream towards the sea. You will see a port area with many fishing boats. Turn left and go a couple of streets down. (Look for C&U convenience store and take the street behind it). You will see a long sea wall and a row of seafood restaurants.
The fish was nice and fresh, with a melt-in-the-mouth texture! There was no fishy taste at all, especially after you dip the fish slices in the gochujang (red-pepper paste) provided on the side, add a sliver of garlic and wrap it all up in a lettuce or perilla leaf. Yums! Unfortunately, could not eat like that every night as hue tends to be expensive. A large plate like that set me back 30,000 won. (This was another case of restaurants offering min 2-pax serving sizes, although in this case I found the platter of fish and rice with side dishes just nice to fill my hungry tummy).
3) What: Jeonbuk Ttukbaegi (Abalone stew in a stone pot)
How much: 12,000 won
Where: Jeju Halmang Ttukbaegi restaurant (GPS ref: 733-9934). It is located along Chilsimni food street, between Jeongbang and Cheonjiyeon waterfall, in Seogwipo. See signboard below, showing the map of Chilsimni food street.
The two restaurants above, where I had the hue and jorim are found in Jeju-si, or Jeju City, in the northern part of Jeju Island. On another day, I ventured to Seogwipi-si, a city on the southern part of the island. I took a cab from Seogwipo main bus terminal. Took me abt 5-10 mins and cost around 5000 won. The restaurant helped to call for a cab to take me back to the bus terminal.
The stew was very satisfying, full of all sorts of seafood (not just abolone), including small crayfish, sea squirt, and mussels. Like the other restaurants above, the place only sells seafood. The other menu items include hairtail fish soup (10,000 won) and hairtail jorim (35,000 – 45,000 won).
Other bloggers have asked the restaurant owner and apparently found out that only seafood is used in the broth. Based on the taste, I am pretty sure that’s true.
You can read a more detailed account of the place on this blog, which also has a photo of the Korean sign-board and menu.
4) What: Spicy vegetable stew with brown rice
Cost: 3,500 won
In a bid to make-up for my indulgences on the other nights, on my last night in Jeju, I looked for a more economical dinner option and sought out Loving Hut in Jeju-si. Loving Hut is a vegan chain, with outlets around the world, including Singapore. It shares the same founder (Supreme Master Ching Hai) as the Oh Se Gae Hyang restaurant that I later patronised in Seoul, but thankfully, this oultet did not have a video stream of the Supreme Master expounding on her spiritual philosophy, like what I later encountered at Oh Se Gae Hyang. Indeed, I enjoyed the cosy and quiet ambience at this outlet, near Dongmun Rotary (which was just 10-15 mins by bus from my guesthouse). For 3,500 won, managed to get a pretty big meal of brown rice with some small side-dishes (banchan) and spicy vegetable stew. The stew looked nice, but was strangely oily, so didn’t finish it. The meal was only saved by the tasty morsels of banchan.
Phew… that ended up being a pretty long post. In my next update, will write about the food I had in Seoul and Seokcho during my spring trip.