The makgeolli (Korean rice wine) district of Jeonju is considered heavenly among the Korean drinkers. In this post, I’ll take you to the center of Korean makgeolli, the Samchundong district!
Jeonju’s makgeolli venues are famous for the makgeolli tables. In Jeonju, each order of a makgeolli kettle is served with a variety of dishes and nibbles that the table literally groans with food. If you order the second kettle, you’re served again with different dishes. The Samchundong district and the Seosindong district are renowned for their bustling ‘makgeolli alley’.
The makgeolli venues in the Samchundong district serves more ‘traditional’ dishes, while the venues in the Seosindong district serves more ‘younger’ dishes. Today, me and my friends visited the Samchundong district’s makgeolli alley.
Above is the map of the Samchungdong district’s makgeolli alley. All the dots surrounded by the dotted line are the makgeolli venues. I did a round-trip of the alley trying to find the suitable venue for me. I eventually ended up in the venue that I frequent with my friends.
A typical makgeolli venue is old and humble, but the one that I visited today boasts a modern interior. The venue was quite crowded despite it was the weekday.
You can sit in the hall or in one of the rooms.
As I sat, the server brought me the menu. When I’m ready to order, I gently shake the kettle! It’s quite interesting and fun to order like this.
Many makgeolli venues only take orders by ‘per kettle’ and don’t take orders for individual dishes. But don’t worry, because there’re menus for two or three people. We ordered the ‘couple’s table’ since we were three.
There are usually three different makgeollis: clear (malgeunju/cheongju), dark (takju), and chestnut (albamju). The clear makgeolli, “cheongju”, is filtered for a long time.
The darker makgeolli, “takju”, is less filtered, so the color is darker than the clear one. The chestnut makgeolli, “albamju”, is made with chestnut. For those who don’t like the smell of makgeolli, I recommend trying this one.
Makgeolli is very nutritious. It’s abundant with probiotics and edible fiber. Drinking makgeolli is like drinking a healthy medicinal tonic, except for the alcohol part. A bowl of traditional makgeolli contains around 100 to 1000 times of fiber than the fiber supplement drinks sold in supermarkets.
Makgeolli is also known to boost the immune system, kill cancer cells, reduce wrinkles and brighten the skin, help losing weight, and prevent constipation. The big kettle full of cold markgeolli is served immediately after we ordered the “couple’s table” from the menu.
One kettle was more than enough for the three of us. Also, a variety of dishes were served until there was almost no empty space left on the table.
This is the “couple’s table”. We were served with samgyetang (ginseng chicken broth, a typical Korean stamina dish), braised pork with aged kimchi and tofu, jokbal (boiled pig’s feet), fried egg and vegetable rolls, and others. They were all tasty.
The dishes kept flowing into the table, Korean pancakes, grilled fish, seasoned ark shell, and others. We managed to finish everything on the table.
I really recommend this place for the sheer amount of food and makgeolli offered and also the tastiness of the dishes!
You’ll definitely want to return to this place. If you’re looking for a genuine Jeonju local experience, don’t miss the makgeolli alleys!