Another train ride north of Gwangju is Jeonju, home of the bibimbap. Bibimbap is a dish with rice, vegetables, optionally meat, and often with a fried egg on top, mixed up with some chilli sauce and eaten with an array of side dishes. I’ve had bibimbap twice a day on occasion. It’s all very healthy if you ignore the mayonnaise on the plate of salad.
The other main attraction in Jeonju is the Hanok village, an area of traditional-style Korean houses. It’s significantly reconstructed rather than original, but it’s still good to see this heritage preserved rather than swept away in the rush for modernisation. It’s a real tourist attraction, and there are lots of places selling crafts, but it avoids being tacky.
How was the last day in October in the UK? I guess it wasn’t as bright, sunny and warm as in Jeonju – the autumn colours looked perfect in the sunshine. There are plenty of gingko trees with yellow leaves; we were told that they’re symbolic of academic purity because insects don’t like them so the trees are not compromised by lots of bugs.
Another feature of Korea at this time of year is the eulalia grass. I’ve been trying to get a picture on Jeju that does justice to it but never felt happy with the result. The photo below was taken on a river bank in Jeonju. I’d still like to get a better picture next autumn.
Our last meal in Jeonju was only partially successful. We went into a beef restaurant, although we didn’t recognise it as such, for an early breakfast, and I asked for a meal with no beef. I don’t know whether the guy didn’t understand me or didn’t believe me (both are perfectly possible) because the meal arrived with chunks of beef on the bone in a soup. I took them out, and it tasted quite OK.