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Gamaek or Corner Store Beer, the Beer Culture of Jeonju


Jeonju has a peculiar beer culture called “Jeonju gamaek”. The word “gamaek” is a combination of two words: store (ga-gae) and beer (maek-ju). How “gamaek” started in Jeonju? Back in those days when people were low on their pockets, instead of going to pubs, people bought beers and snacks from their local corner store. They then drank beer on the bench or foldable tables prepared in front of the store. Now “gamaek” has become a proud beer culture of Jeonju.

Today, I’ll introduce three “gamaek” venues serving the best side dishes that goes well with cold beer and summer nights.

Gyeongwon Sanghoe

Started in 1978, Gyeongwon Sanghoe is one of the oldest “gamaek” venues in Jeonju. It’s located near Jeonju Gaeksa.

Gyeongwon Sanghoe has two floors. The snacks and ramyuns displayed on the first floor really bring out the atmosphere of a “gamaek” venue. The second floor is for larger groups.

For side dishes, the owner recommended “hwangtae” (roasted dried pollack). Also, customers are free to bring their own side dishes into the venue.

I was first surprised at the size and soft texture of the pollack. I was surprised again by how the house-made soy and mayonnaise sauce went well with the pollack. It’s said that the soy sauce is made by the owner, old school.

If you want to try the three-decades old soy sauce with soft roasted dry pollack and cold beer, visit Gyeongwon Sanghoe!


​Gyeongwon Sanghoe

Address: Hyunmu 1gil 11, Wansangu, Jeonju

Contact: 063-284-0354

Menu: hwangtae gui (roasted hwangtae) 10,000 won; gapoingo (roasted cuttlefish) 23,000 won [medium] and 30,000 won [large]; beer 3,000 won

 Imsil Super Gamaek

Imsil Super Gamaek is located near the Gyeonggijeon Palace. I see a variety of snacks and ramyuns!

Imsil Super Gamaek is famous for “myungtae” (pollack). The pollack here is also called “choktae” because of its moist texture (“chokchok” means moist). Thus, I ordered the pollack.

Here’s the pollack and two sauces. One was sweet and the other was spicy.

With the moist pollack and sauces, my beer disappeared almost instantly. The owner served a boiling pot with pollack head, chopped green chilli pepper, and dough flakes. The pot is served for free with an order of more than 3 bottles of beer.

I highly recommend Imsil Super Gamaek if you want to try moist pollack!


​Imsil Super Gamaek

Address: Gyeonggijeongil 7, Wansangu, Jeonju

Contact: 063-288-1896

Menu: myungtae 15,000 won; hwangtae 12,000 won; gyeranmari 10,000 won; beer 3,000 won; soju 4,000 won


Ajung Kumu Gwangjang

Ajung Kumu Gwangjang is located in the Inhudong District. This venue is also a local convenience store.

Ajung Kumu Gwangjang is famous for “golbaengi muchim” (spicy seasoned top shell with vegetables and noodles). I ordered this dish too.

I was surprised by the sheer size of the spicy top shell dish! The sauce was sour, sweet, and spicy. The sliced cucumber, cabbage, and top shells were very fresh. I mixed everything with the noodle, and it seemed like the best side dish for cold beer and soju.

Why not try the spicy top shell and noodle dish at Ajung Kumu Gwangjang tonight?


Ajung Kumu Gwangjang

Address: Guchongmokro 34, Deokjingu, Jeonju

Contact: 063-245-0880

Menu: golbangi muchim 15,000 won; gyeranmari 10,000 won; hwangtae 10,000; beer 3,000 won


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  • Vikas Polavam
  • yi xien Sang

    gamaek is a wonderful place for friends to hang out and have a pleasure to taste the spicy dishes with extra cold beers.. i prefer to chill out in one of these places with friends.

  • awwal christopher

    great stuff to experience Korea.. we can feel Korea in Jeonju defenitely

  • Hameed Tiger

    I would like to try it once.. It is alluring..

  • Venkat Veeram

    Good destination for weekend relaxation..

  • That’s cool that you can bring your own side dishes in some of these place. Bigger cities don’t allow that anymore. All the more reason to visit Jeonju and go to a gamaek.