Top 4 Foods You Should Eat in Wonju, South Korea

After a year of living back at home in the States, I decided it was time to come back to Wonju for a visit. Known as the most populated city in Gangwon province, Wonju is a quickly developing city located about 87 miles southeast of Seoul that has a lot to offer in terms of culture and entertainment. Those who have lived in Wonju for a while know that there are a wide variety of foods to eat here. However, after scouring the internet for information about food and restaurants, I realized that there wasn’t that much information in English for newcomers (other than the amazing American barbecue restaurant, Sweet Oak). Whether you’re a newbie in Wonju or you’re just planning a trip in the near future, this top 4 list will help you figure out what new things you can try!

Top 4 Things to Eat in Wonju

1. Pyo Haejang-guk

Pyo Haejang-guk is known in Korea as a great hangover cure after a night of heavy drinking. It consists of dried radish leaves that have been rehydrated and pork neck bones (with meat on them, of course). In my opinion, the broth is the best part of the soup. It is boiled for many hours, so the flavors are deep and delicious.

Where to Eat It: Chamimat Gamjatang (참이맛 감자탕) 

Price: 7-8,000 KRW

Business Hours: 24 hours

Tip: Ask for “Pyo Haejang-guk”. If you want a heartier meal for two or more people, try “Kamja-tang”. It’s haejang-guk with potatoes added in.

2. Samgyetang

Although samgyetang is a dish that is meant to be eaten in the summer months, this ginseng chicken soup is also a perfect remedy for a winter cold. Its main ingredients include a whole young chicken stuffed with sticky rice, dates, garlic, and ginseng. The broth has a nice, mellow flavor that can be intensified with the coarse salt and black pepper that is provided on the side.

Where to Eat It: Seoul Nokgak Samgyetang (서울녹각삼계탕) – It’s located on the corner.

Price: 11,000 KRW

Business Hours: 10:00 am – 10:30 pm

Tip: If you visit this restaurant regularly, the owner will give you extra ginseng liquor to go along with your meal!

3. Godeungoh Kimchi Chorim

Godeungoh kimchi chorim is one of my favorite dishes in Korea because it’s cheap and filling! If you’ve had kimchi jjigae before, it’s a bit similar to that. The difference is that it is cooked down to a thicker consistency and has two pieces of delicious mackerel at the bottom of the stone bowl. Since it’s cooked down, the godeungoh kimchi chorim is a bit spicier than kimchi jjigae in my opinion. However, the flavors are much more intense.

Where to Eat It: Kimbap Heaven (김밥천국)

Price: 6,000 KRW

Business Hours: 24 hours (Closed Sunday)

Tip: When you go to this specific location, you’ll get a piece of paper with the entire menu on it. Check off 고등어 김치 조림, hand it to the woman at the register, and pay before you eat.

4. Jokbal

I never thought I’d be eating pigs feet when I first arrived in Korea, but I just couldn’t resist the sweet fragrance of the different herbs used during the cooking process. Jokbal, or pigs feet, are braised for hours in a broth infused with cinnamon, onion, garlic, ginger, star anise, and brown sugar. When it’s done, it is served thinly sliced on a platter with kimchi and other side dishes.

Where to Eat It: Toshilae (토시래)

Price: 29-33,000 KRW (Feeds 2-4 people)

Business Hours: 5:00 pm – 2:00 am

Tip: If you’d like, feel free to follow the Korean custom of cracking open an ice cold bottle of soju to go along with this delicious meal.