Thursday, April 5, 2018

Myeongjin Jeonbok (Jeju)

When tourists talk about the food that you must try in Jeju, the two items that will definitely surface are black pork and abalone. 

We asked our Airbnb host whether there was any place in particular she recommended for abalone. While she was happy to share the names of restaurants for other kinds of food, she said that locals usually typically did not eat abalone in restaurants as these abalones are farmed and they would rather buy the wild abalones from the market. 

We decided to try Myeongin Jeonbok in any case because we weren't about to head to the market to buy some abalones. When we reached, we were told by the lady at the counter that we were to return in 45 minutes. She then said, "One five!" We thought that she changed her mind and that we were now to return in 15 minutes. It turned out that she really meant five minutes past one.

There was a small hut next to the restaurant, where there was free water and coffee for the loads of people who were waiting for their turn to enter the restaurant. If you prefer, the restaurant is right next to the sea and you can take a stroll by the sea.

When asking for a seat, you also have to place your order. If it is easier, you can just tell her "one", "two", "three" and "four". These are set out on the wall.

(1) Abalone Sizzling Stone Pot Rice

(2) Rice Porridge with Abalone

(3) Grilled Abalone

(4) Slices of Raw Abalone

We ordered Grilled Abalones (30,000 won). This was the first time I ate abalone in its shell instead of eating it out of a can. The piping hot abalones were thick and chewy.

If you order both the porridge and the stone pot rice, I think you would have a preference for either by the end of the meal. I preferred the Abalone Sizzling Stone Pot Rice (15,000 won) as the rice was flavourful with more ingredients (such as pumpkin) and there were always the crispy bits of rice that you can always scrap off. The Koreans next to us poured some water into the pot, covered the pot for a while, then finished the rest of the rice.

The Rice Porridge with Abalone (12,000 won) was comforting to the hungry stomach, but was otherwise rather unexciting.

We also got a complimentary fish which was nicely crisped and had a delicious smoky taste to it (but plenty of bones).

If possible, do check the opening hours. While some websites state that they are open until 9 p.m. at night, other websites say that they open till 6:30 p.m. only. You don't want to be making a wasted trip! It is also supposedly closed on Tuesdays.

Myeongjin Jeonbok 
128 Haemajhaean-ro


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