Yamori Shikdang: Jeonju Japanese Flare

Korea in general may have a lot of elements of Japanese food, but it’s rare to find something as authentic as Yamori Shikdang, particularly in terms of Jeonju Japanese restaurants.  But slide open the door to this unassuming shop, perhaps the size of some smaller one-room apartments, and you’re opening up to a tiny world of flavor.

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Since Yamori’s opening several years ago, a sign has alerted visitors that the chef is indeed Japanese, and, in fact, does not speak Korean well.  The important thing, though, is that he can indeed cook, and the tiny restaurant is often full up with eager visitors.

Noodle- and rice-based dishes at Yamori Shikdang range from 7,000 to 9,000 won, generally, and include such favorites as miso ramen and Japanese curry.  One or two specials are usually on offer at any given time.  If available, the shrimp donburi is a hearty and flavorful choice.  Portion sizes are more than generous, too, and are accompanied by heaping helpings of stewed, pickled radish and palate-cleansing ginger bits.

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While the restaurant has minimal decoration and ambience, the simple, homey atmosphere perhaps makes it more charming.  The location, too, has its charm – the restaurant rests in a narrow, perpetually hip alley in Jeonju’s Gaeksa area, in the presence of a number of independent cafes and fusion restaurants.

If meandering the shopping streets of Jeonju, search for Yamori Shikdang behind the now-defunct Intersport mall downtown.  The characteristic wooden façade and ever-present bicycle will mark the spot, and the chef is sure to be all smiles when you get there.

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