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Retro Cafés in Jeonju: Saekjang Jungmiso and Samyang Dabang

 

 

The reason why retro things continue to be popular is that they allow you to indulge in your ‘good old days’. Such retro experiences seem necessary for surviving another hectic daily life.

Outside Jeonju Hanok Village, you may find retro cafés that take you back to the 1950s. This week, I’ll introduce two of them: “Saekjang Jungmiso” and “Samyang Dabang”.

 

Saekjang Jungmiso

Saekjang Jungmiso (translated into ‘Saekjang District rice mill’) is an old rice mill turned into a café, combined with an antique furniture exhibition hall.

The owner, Mr. Lee, put three years’ hard effort into this space to preserve the original ambience of the old rice mill. The façade made me learn what it would have been like in the past and how many stories this space would harbor. Given that rice is essential to Koreans’ survival since ancient times, this place must have been very significant for local life in the past.

Since Saekjang Jungmiso is an exhibition hall for antique furniture and other antiques, visitors pay the entrance fee of 4,000 won which comes with free coffee. Additional fees are charged for other traditional Korean beverages. I also received a dish of the warm stove-baked rice cake.

Inside Saekjang Jungmiso is filled with antiques that remind people of the past. Mr. Lee kindly offered to walk me through the stories of the antiques on display.

This is an old tube radio, but it still works! I turned it on and adjusted the AM frequency, only to be surprised by the sound of the radio broadcast. Actually, this radio is way older than me, but this reminded me of my old days when I used to write letters to the radio broadcasts.

This turntable, which played old masterpiece songs, isn’t a mere decoration. I thought my parents would love this place.

 

Saekjang Jungmiso

Address: Wonsaekjang-gil 2-15, Wansan-gu, Jeonju

Contact: 063-272-2460

 

 

Samyang Dabang

Samyang Dabang is the oldest surviving café in Korea. Open in 1952, the dark time in the middle of the Korean War, this place used to be the gathering place for the lost intellectuals, artists, and entertainers. The café is a witness to the turbulent history of modern Korea.

We almost lost Samyang Dabang in 2013, but thanks to the effort of the locals, the café was renewed in its original site. One can traverse between the modern and the past through this wall.

The props in Samyang Dabang are antiques through which you can reminisce the past. The old matchboxes, telephones, calculators, and menus are on display.

In the extended and renewed part of Samang Dabang, the old photographs and other relics of the café were on display. I could read the stories of the locals who frequented this space. I too, would be part of the café’s history in the future.

 

 

Samyang Dabang

Address: Dongmun-gil 94, Wansan-gu, Jeonju

Contact: 063-231-2238

 

 

If you want to venture into the Korea in the 1950s, I recommend visiting the retro cafés of Jeonju: Saekjang Jungmiso and Samyang Dabang.

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  • Hanary Geby Jessica Sianipar

    I love retro thing! I am excited to explore antique things in Saekjang Jungmiso! Also how nice is it to have a free coffe and memorable trip for just 4000 won 😉

  • Hanary Geby Jessica Sianipar

    Maybe visiting Samyang Dabang with my parents will be memorable too since they will find old things and old vibe reminicing their old memories~~

  • Hanary Geby Jessica Sianipar

    Even the machine counter is very retro! I really want ti visit~~

  • Hanary Geby Jessica Sianipar

    Ah! Since I never use the tube radio, I really want to have first experience using it in Saekjang Jungmiso! It will be so hard to find a functioning tube radio in these day!

  • Hanary Geby Jessica Sianipar

    What a good place!!!

  • Love Saekjang Jungmis, so authentic and nice! Can’t wait to visit Jeonju again :-))

  • Shana Trương

    I really like retro things and cafes, so this is good! Adding these places to my list.

  • vikas p

    Quaint place to visit.. great restaurants, tea houses to try out jeonju food. A historic sight nestled in the middle of a cityss

  • vikas p

    very clean and beautiful place. Complimentary tea and instant coffee was much appreciated too! Great if your looking for a quiet peaceful area.ss

  • vikas p

    so comdmunication and info. about the area is a little hard to obtain. Also a bit quiet when I was there. That said, Jeonju is fairly small and so you’ll probably figure out any info. that you need yourself anyway.

  • vikas p

    Had Such a great stay here, great location, peaceful courtyardd, super friendly hosts. Would really recommend ! 🙂

  • vikas p

    i love to visit this place..

  • vikas p

    Literally in the heart of the hanok village with all the attractions less than 500m away by foot, yet surprisingly quiet once you’re in yodur room. The rooms still retain a traditional vibe even though they are renovated. Bedding was clean and comfortable, but may not be changed if you’re only staying for two nights like we did — this wasn’t an issue for us at all. The hosts were attentive, and welcomed us with beer and snacks on our first night which was lovely! They could speak some English so we had no trouble communicating. Highly recommended!

  • vikas p

    Strategic location which is in the center of the Jeonju Hanok village. The owner of the Hanok House is nice and friendly, they willing to give assisstance when you needed. This Hanok House is very well maintain and clean. It’s value for money. I will definitely stay again Jeonju Hanok House .

  • vikas p

    Warm hospsitality in an exceedingly good location.

  • vikas p

    yet, I wanted an adventure. Evserything from the first greeting after my reservation

  • vikas p

    Place is traditional and clean and located near walksing area

  • mallem k

    would recommend a 1-day trip to Jeonju Hanok Village. Stay a night to visit the night market and enjoy the local food

  • mallem k

    Heart of Korean traditions, stubborn conservatism and the fidelity and royalty of Korean Sunbi(classical scholar in Chosun Dynasty). Because of their belief, we could preserve some historical buildings and traditions. You can see many of the remains there, not like other places in Korea

  • mallem k

    Arrived before lunch and saw many people wearing hanbok.

  • mallem k

    here are shops after shops with hanbok displays so if you want to wear one, you have very many options to choose from.

  • mallem k

    Had bibimbap for lunch and it was awesome.

  • mallem k

    I will never get tired of visiting Jeonju Hanok Village over and over again.

  • mallem k

    Very peaceful and has so many foods, souvenir and new things to see.

  • mallem k

    We took a one day trip to Jeonju and visited the Hanbok Village. Compared with the hanbok area in Seoul,

  • mallem k

    Great views of the architecture.

  • mallem k

    Near the outskirts are mini trails that elevate you above the Hanok village which gives you good views of the surrounding landscape. Great if you have a drone handy. Great food and desserts like skewered cheese balls & the numerous

  • mallem k

    There are many streets to wander around and enjoy the architecture of traditional Korean buildings.

  • Bharat

    Ah! Since I never use the tube radio, I really want to have first experience using it in Saekjang Jungmiso! It will be so hard to find a functioning tube radio in these day!

  • Bharat

    Quaint place to visit.. great restaurants, tea houses to try out jeonju food. A historic sight nestled in the middle of a cityss

  • Bharat

    I really like retro things and cafes, so this is good! Adding these places to my list.

  • Bharat

    love to visit this place.

  • Bharat

    I recommend to visit jeonju

  • Bharat

    I will never get tired of visiting Jeonju Hanok Village over and over again.

  • Bharat

    Very peaceful and has so many foods, souvenir and new things to see. Best slow city in Korea.

  • Bharat

    We took a one day trip to Jeonju and visited the Hanbok Village.

  • Bharat

    Compared with the hanbok area in Seoul,

  • mallem k

    Most beautiful places in korea

  • mallem k

    I recommend to visit jeonju

  • mallem k

    In summer and winter

  • mallem k

    Go with your family and friends

  • mallem k

    Nice place in korea

  • mallem k

    Best place in korea

  • mallem k

    Must visit

  • mallem k

    Thanks for the event

  • mallem k

    Nice to see it

  • mallem k

    Thanks for the event

  • Palagani

    I wanna say that i love jeonju and i cannot forget it

  • Palagani

    not always you can have the chance to talk about jeonju, but thanks to this blog we can do it

  • Palagani

    Great to see that there’s more effort being put to promote Jeonju.

  • Palagani

    This is a nice effort to keep promoting the city…

  • Palagani

    please tell me we can keep sharing comments here after the even endss

  • Kumarsandy-582