Vegetarian menu items to try on Jeju Island

pexels-photoWe’re in the process of updating our VisitJeju.net article for Muslim travelers to Jeju Island (bitly.com/muslimjeju). Here’s a preview of a four-part introduction to Korean cuisine, starting with vegetarian items. We’ll have more seafood and non-pork items for you in the coming weeks. And as always, please let us know what you think in the comments section below. Thank you! 

Things to try especially on Jeju

Wild vegetable bibimbap (sanchae bibimbap 산채비빔밥): Adding freshly picked wild fiddleheads (gosari 고사리) into the mix, you can enjoy a very fresh and healthy Jeju meal. Add as much or as little spicy red pepper paste and sesame oil as you wish.

Mandarin orange (gyul 귤): Delicious on its own and a key ingredient in cooking, medicine, cosmetics and more, the Jeju mandarin orange is particularly central to Jeju culture. From a health standpoint, the mandarin orange provides essential Vitamin C, enzymes to increase metabolism, anti-oxidants to help prevent cancer and diabetes and pyridine, which can minimize arteriosclerosis. At this time of year, with the mandarin orange harvest in full swing, some restaurants offer their customers complementary mandarins.

Soups / Rice porridge

Vegetable rice porridge (juk 죽): This hearty porridge is made with chopped abalone and (if you’re lucky) served with one or two whole ones on top. Sesame oil and salt finish the flavoring. It’s a comfort food the whole family can enjoy.

Noodles in cold soybean soup (kong guksu 콩국수): This is probably a dish you’ve never experienced before. The main ingredient is puréed soybeans – which on the face of it might not sound very appetizing, but it really is! The simple ingredient and seasoning (salt) is balanced with crushed ice and radish kimchi.

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Sides

Braised tofu (dobu jorim 두부조림): A light side dish loaded with protein, this pan-fried soybean curd is light and healthy. It is served with a small dish of soy sauce that has red peppers, green onions, a touch of garlic, and sugar.

Acorn jelly salad (dotorimuk 도토리묵): Here’s another side dish that you may have never tried. It’s an acorn gelatin that is cubed, chilled, and served with fresh greens, sliced cucumber, green chili peppers, and covered in a soy-sesame sauce. Good luck trying to pick it up with chopsticks!

White cabbage kimchi (baechu kimchi 배추김치): Kimchi is a dish you’re sure to encounter (and hopefully enjoy) while in Korea. The fermented cabbage is stuffed with a variety of ingredients that may be determined by season or locale. Chances are you’ll try kimchi with chopped white radish, minced garlic, powdered red chili flakes, and salted anchovies.

Radish kimchi (kkakdugi 깍두기): Using cubed radish as the main ingredient, this version of kimchi uses powdered red chili flakes, garlic, and green onions, in addition to ginger and shrimp brine, to bring out a subtle flavor in the substantial crunch of the dish. You can eat as much or as little as you like as an accompaniment to your main meal.

Sweets, desserts

Sweet rice puffs (gangjeong 강정): Puffed rice, beans, and toasted sesame seeds combined in a sticky starch syrup is left plain or sometimes colored and cut into various shapes. It’s rather dry, so it goes well with a small cup of hot tea. Watch out for those pesky crumbs!

Sweet rice punch (sikhye 식혜): A favorite with the kids, this dessert beverage is always served ice cold. Note that the sugar content has a real kick to it.

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