Cover Story: the 100 Best Dishes – Travelers’ Picks

These dishes aren’t local secrets—they’re famous destinations in and of themselves. Educate yourself about regional cultures through their food with any of the picks below.


1-5. Words and shots by Jo-Anna Lynch

Sanchae Baekban 

Bu-Il Sikdang, Gangwon-do

There’s no need to call the waitress to order here, because they only serve one thing: Sanchae Baekban, a set menu of roots and veggies. They’ll cover your table with every mountain vegetable imaginable, plus rice cooked in a traditional agungi furnace. If you like to bibim your bap, just ask for a bowl! Be sure to also try their handmade tofu and the extra-dark Gangwon-style doengjang jjigae.
74-2 Hanjinbu-ri, Daegwallyeong-myun, Pyeongchang-gun. 033-336-7232


O-Sam Bulgogi  and Hwangtae 

Doam Sikdang, Gangwon-do

On any Saturday night, Doam Siktang will fill two floors with diners chowing down on this Hoenggye specialty made of squid and samgyupsal fried with gochujang. While you’re there, be sure to try the town’s other famous dish, the dried fish know as hwangtae, either fried () or in hwangtae soup (). There’s nothing like the taste of fish which has been left outside to freeze and melt continuously for five months.
323-6 Hoenggye-ri, Daegwallyeong-myun, Pyeongchang-gun. 033-336-5814


Pheasant Dumpling Soup

Namkyeong Sikdang, Gangwon-do

While chicken dumplings are more common today, pheasant used to be the dumpling meat of choice until overhunting took the bird off the tables (hence the folky saying “脫 渠褐 殼”, or “chicken instead of pheasant”). Try dumplings like they used to be made, served here in a bowl of deeply flavored manduguk broth.
21-5 Hoenggye-3-ri, Daegwallyeong-myun, Pyeongchang-gun. 033-335-5891


Gondeurae Bap

Hometown Story (고향이야기)

Gondeurae is a wild mountain herb that’s mixed with rice and served in a hot stone pot as a centerpiece to this set menu of Gangwon side dishes. When it arrives, scoop your rice into another bowl and fill the hot pot with water to make yourself a delicious nureungji burnt rice soup—then enjoy it for dessert.
348 Hoenggye-ri, Daegwallyoung-myun, Pyeongchang-gun. 033-335-5430


Grilled Daechang

Yeontabal, Seoul

For those who always wanted to try some stranger foods but couldn’t enter the hole-in-the-wall restaurants that serve them, here comes Yeontabal, a gourmet barbeque restaurant specializing in cow organ meats. Relax in a luxurious atmosphere while your waitress grills well-marinated daechang, or large intestines, right before your eyes, and be stunned when you realize it’s much better than you expected.
Global Building at 11-10 Gwangcheol-dong, Jongno-gu. 02-720-9263~4


6-9. Words and shots by Paul Matthews

Fried Chinese Dumplings

Hongseongbang, Busan

Just W5,000 will buy you a little piece of dumpling heaven made by the Taiwanese chef of Hongseongbang. Thanks to a very special recipe, the initial crunchy bite into one of these perfectly fried dumplings skins is followed by a chewy stickiness enhanced by the gingery fragrance of the dumpling’s meaty filling. This restaurant also happens to have been one of the filming locations for the Park Chan-wook blockbuster Oldboy.
210-1 Cholyang-dong Dong-gu. 051-467-3682


Grilled Mushroom Pancake

Cheong-ju Mushrooms, Daegu

Those with a passion for mush-rooms should try this “mushrooms house” and its menu of fungi friendly dishes at very reasonable prices. The grilled mushroom pancake is a gorgeous mélange of at least five different mushrooms, made 100% fresh with no frozen or instant ingredients. It’s crispy, chewy and everything that a pancake should be.
65-1 Dongseongro-2ga, Jung-gu. 053-425-5668


Bulgogi Udong

Buksong Udong Bulgogi, Daegu

In a simple, unique concept, Buksong pairs twice-grilled bulgogi with a comforting, homemade udong noodle soup. Thanks to its cooking method, the marinated pork has an exquisitely charred, smoky taste that pairs perfectly with the noodles. Serving sizes are small, but so is the price: you get both dishes for just W3,500.
883-12 Beonji, Bangchon-dong, Dong-gu. 053-951-3534


Black Tofu Bossam

Gapdonggol Heuk Sujebi in Daejeon

Boiled pork and aged kimchi match perfectly with this restaurant’s specialty, black tofu, which has an earthier taste than its pale cousin. As a side, try the black bean curd pancakes—crunchy little patties that are crispy on the outside and satisfyingly moist in the middle—as well as the black dumplings, a solid and hearty dish that will fill you up and keep you warm in the winter.
1308 Dunsan-2dong, Seo-gu. 042-486-0772


1Ssambap Leaf Wraps

Ipungnyo Kuro Ssambap, Gyeongju

For just W10,000, Kuro will cover an entire four-person table with fixings for every kind of ssambap meat leaf wrap you can make, plus sides like a mellow perilla soup and Gyeongju-style barley bread pancakes for dessert. You can even get a doggie bag if you can’t finish it all.
106-3 Beonji, Hwangnam-dong, Gyeongju-si. 054-749-0600


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