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By Way of Korea

South Korea   |   New York

A Korean food blog and travelogue inspired by

an epicurious New Yorker's journey around South Korea


Grilled Abalone & Abalone Rice (Woljeong-ri, Jeju Island)

Updated: Jun 12, 2019

The unmistakable smell of fish-fry grew stronger as we approached the restaurant famous for its jeonbok (abalone). It was same overpowering smell that conquered our whole apartment whenever my grandmother cooked godeungeo (mackerel) for dinner. As hinted by the several parties lingering outside the entrance, there was quite a wait for a table. But I couldn’t have been happier to wait.

Across the restaurant lied the vast water from which the seafood we had been enjoying throughout the trip had been collected from. Three orange bulbs bobbed up and down in the sea – the unmistakable orange taewak of the legendary haenyeo of Jeju Island. Excited to see them in action, I crossed the black volcanic rock, making it as far as it extended. The haenyeo were making dives to scour the seafloor in search of the jewels of the sea that sustain the lives of so many on the island. While observing them dive and waiting for them to resurface again, the wait for our table expired.

The food was worth the wait as much as the wait was worth the food. Banchan, which included a whole, fried godeungeo that we had anticipated earlier, was served first. The salty and fatty fish fell right off the bone. The jeonbok-gui (grilled abalone) announced its arrival with a loud sizzle. Served on half a shell, each piece was a soft and chewy bite of delicate sea flavor and butter. Jeonbok-bap (abalone rice) cooked in a stone pot completed the meal. Rice had been mixed with jeonbok viscera (much like how it had been prepared for the jeonbok kimbap in my previous post) and cooked with sweet squash, sweet potato, dates, and thinly sliced jeonbok. We scooped the flavorful rice into a separate bowl to enjoy it with our fish and banchan, then poured hot water into the stone pot to turn its leftover contents into nurungji rich in sea flavor.

Yeon Mi Jeong

Address: 14 Saepyeonghang-ro Gujwa-eup Jeju-si

Hours of Operation: Daily 10:00AM~10:00PM (closed on the 3rd Wednesday of the month)

연미정 주소: 제주 제주시 구좌읍 세평항로 14 영업시간: 매일 10:00~22:00 (셋째주 수요일 휴무)



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"If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel - as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them - wherever you go."

Anthony Bourdain's unmatched relish for adventure and humble approach to food, cultures, and humanity left an indelible impression on my younger self. Imparting on me the courage to veer into the unknown, he inspired me to embrace my vulnerabilities and seek adventures and growth beyond the comforts of home.


In July of 2017, I boarded a one-way flight to Seoul, South Korea. Within the first week of arrival, I signed a lease for an apartment and by the end of August, I had accepted a job offer that relocated me to Pyeongchang and Gangneung, where the Winter Olympics were soon to be held. From there, I had the rare opportunity to explore much of the greater Gangwon Province's beautiful mountainous and coastal regions and their distinctive foods. Once or twice a month, I'd return to Seoul or travel to an unfamiliar region to poke around alleyways, markets, and mountains in search of more good eats and adventures.


By Way of Korea is a storytelling project inspired by the food, places, and faces I encountered throughout Korea. By sharing my fondest memories, notes, and images of Korea, I simply hope to play a small part in piquing greater curiosity about Korean food and culture in my readers.  My content will heavily spotlight, but not be limited to Korean food and culture. 

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