[Island Diary] ‘Food: A universal language’ by Jen Avison

Click here for more info about this series and to read more Diary entries. — Ed.

Dear Island Diary,

Since coming to Jeju, I’ve found that Instagram is an invaluable resource for finding the next “new place to check out.” Perhaps it’s the universe working its magic, or maybe it’s just the algorithm making me a sucker. Either way, I’m pleased with the results so far.

My latest find is Witraisin, a posh wine bistro tucked away near the City Hall area. Reservations were made via direct message, so I texted. My boyfriend and I walked in, discovering that we were the only ones there. Our server, a well-styled gentleman with round-rimmed glasses, showed us to our table and addressed us in English.

“Can you read Korean?”

We shook our heads no. He nodded.

“Okay, I have this. The dinner menu,” he said, gesturing towards a clipboard propped up on the table. Scrawled on it, in near-perfect handwriting, was a familiar language.

He had translated the whole menu in English for us

Entrees, side dishes, and even the dessert was written in delicious detail. For a couple of seconds, I couldn’t speak, the gesture was so moving. 

We proceeded to have the most delectable meal we’ve eaten since coming to the island, and our server even gifted us with a free dessert, a homemade apple tart with candied fruit and vanilla bean ice cream. 

We left in smiles, after delivering a tidal wave of handshakes and compliments to Peter, our server.

For any wine lovers or appreciators of fine cuisine, check out Witraisin. It won’t disappoint. 

About the author:

Jen Avison lives in Jeju City. She loves dancing, wine, and hopping on buses at random to explore the island. As a writer and avid traveler, she moved to South Korea from Los Angeles, to immerse herself in a culture that was entirely different from her own. For more pieces from Jen, check out her blog here


If you would like to contribute your own Jeju Island story, please contact the editor at todd@ijto.or.kr.


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