Main Food and Local Produce of Jeju-do Island
As an island with a long history of fishing, Jeju-do Island is known for dishes made with fresh and savory seafood. Various seafood dishes use mackerel, hairtail fish, abalone, and tilefish caught right from the waters surrounding Jeju-do Island. The chewy taste of the famed black pork is also a known trademark of island. The horse-raising history has led to a number of dishes using horsemeat, only available on Jeju-do Island.
Jeonbokjuk (Abalone Porridge)
Traditionally, Jeonbokjuk (전복죽) was a delicacy served to royal families. These days, sliced abalone is lightly fried with sesame oil and combined with rice soaked in water to create delicious Jeonbokjuk. This porridge is known for its high nutritional value and is wildly popular among visitors to Jeju-do Island.
Seonggeguk (Sea Urchin Soup)
Called "Gusal" on Jeju-do Island, “Seongge” (성게, sea urchins) are caught mainly between May and June. The yellow flesh of the urchin is boiled with seaweed in a soup. Known for its distinct taste, Seonggeguk can only be enjoyed on Jeju-do Island. It is high in protein and iron, and is rich in vitamins.
Okdom-gui (Grilled Tilefish)
Okdom (옥돔) is a pink tilefish native to tropical waters in the Western Pacific Ocean. The area around Jeju-do Island is the only place in Korea that this special fish can be caught. This exquisite tilefish is cut in half, partially dried, marinated with sesame oil, and then grilled. Since ancient times, the fish has been served on holidays and used in rituals on Jeju. Renowned for its simple taste, Okdom is a popular gift item among tourists.
Haemul-ttukbaegi (Seafood Hot Pot)
Jeju-do Island offers distinct hot pot dishes using a wide variety of seafood. Haemul-ttukbaegi (해물뚝배기) is a delicious seafood soup made using shrimp, clams, and other kinds of shellfish.
Momguk (Gulfweed Soup)
"Mom" means “gulfweed” in Jeju dialect. Gulfweed is boiled in pork broth and is used to reduce the greasy taste of the meat. Momguk (몸국) appears frequently at local banquets or traditional markets on Jeju-do Island
Black Pork Dish
Back in the olden days, pigpens were built right below the bathroom. It is said that the Jeju pigs, which grew up eating human waste, grew black hair as a result of their special diet. Pigs are no longer raised in this way, but the Jeju black pig (흑돼지) is still seen as one of Jeju’s trademarks and it said to be chewier and more delicious than other types of pork. The distinctive black hairs can even be seen on some of the meat used in pork dishes.
Bingtteok (Rolled Rice cake)
Bingtteok (빙떡) is a kind of rolled rice cake (Bing means "to roll" in Korean). Blanched, sliced radish and bean sprouts are mixed in the buckwheat-flour dough and this, in turn, is fried and rolled to create delicious Bingtteok. This chewy snack is also popular as a side dish when drinking alcohol.
The balmy weather of Jeju-do Island is perfect for growing Hallabong and other delicious citrus fruits. Fresh seafood caught around the island and foods using Baeknyeoncho (cactus native to the island) are also among Jeju’s culinary delights.
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Shopping in Jeju
The climate of Jeju is ideal for growing Gamgyul (감귤, a citrus fruit) that was served to royal families during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1920). As a main product of Jeju-do Island, the sweet taste of Gamgyul renders it a highly popular item among tourists.
As a hybrid citrus fruit, “Hallabong (한라봉)” was named after Mt. Halla, as the two are said to be similar in shape. Hallabong is known for their large size and extremely smooth and sweet taste. These fruits are somewhat expensive compared to regular mandarin oranges.
As a cactus indigenous to Jejudo Island, Baeknyeoncho (백년초, palm cactus) is shaped like a flat fan. A variety of foods (teas, drinks, noodles, kimchi, and bread) are made using the purple fruit of the Baeknyeoncho.
Jeju Okdom (Tilefish)
Okdom (옥돔) is considered the king of fish on Jeju-do Island. This elegant, glittering fish has been beloved by local residents since ancient times. It is frequently served during rituals and special events. Okdom is caught between September and April (with the peak season being in November).
Hairtail fish are delicious, silver fish caught off the coast of Jeju-do Island. They are usually served grilled, raw, or mixed with vegetables, pumpkin, and green chili peppers to make Galchiguk (갈치국, Hairtail Fish Soup).