Savour the flavours of South Korea’s slow food capital Jeonju, slurping kongnamul gukbap and soup noodles in local haunts and learning to craft kimchi and hangwa (sugar cookies).. Immerse yourself in monastic life during a temple stay in Gyeongju, following a vegan dinner with chanting meditation and, if you’d like, a martial arts class.. Spend a day diving deep into South Korean seafood in Busan, embracing the chaotic energy and of the port seafood market before munching clams in an oceanfront restaurant.. Visit a craft brewery in Jeonju for a taste of South Korea’s booming and inventive craft beer scene, which has exploded in popularity in recent years.
Immerse yourself in the choose-your-own adventure atmosphere of South Korean food, from bibimbap to immense street food markets that you could get lost in (if it weren’t for the local guiding you to the best stalls!). South Korea’s food scene is often delightfully informal and meals in South Korea are all about finding your flavours. Chow down on meals served with dozens of toppings, light and crispy Korean fried chicken washed down with a small-batch craft beer, silky glass noodles stirred with colourful salad and the various delightful iterations of kimchi. Discover the flavourful diversity and heritage of this rich culinary scene.
Breakfast Included: 4 Lunches Included: 5 Dinner Included: 5
Welcome to Seoul, South Korea's vibrant capital of high-tech gadgetry, glittering skyscrapers and scrumptious eats. Your Real Food Adventure officially kicks off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight at your accommodation, where you will meet your leader and fellow travellers. With the formalities out of the way, it’s time to dive into South Korea’s food scene!
First we will enjoy a welcome dinner of Korean Fried Chicken and beer for a 'Chimaek' experience. We then head to the Gwangang Market for an immersive introduction to the sights, smells and, of course, tastes of South Korean street food. Go deep into the gargantuan market featured in the Netflix series ‘Street Food’, following your leader to the best vendors for dinner and cultural experience like no other.
This morning take the metro to Yongsan Station (about 10 minutes). Set off for Jeonju, a city that’s all about doing things slowly and doing them well – both in food and in life. The journey should take around 2.5 hours, arriving just in time for lunch at a renowned local bibimbap restaurant. The bibimbap here is so good, it’s been declared an intangible cultural asset. Seriously. Scoff down some of the classic rice dish topped with, well, lots of great stuff, then head to the hotel to settle in. In the afternoon, spend some time exploring the historical Hanok Village, wandering cobblestone streets between hundreds of traditional homes and further embracing the relaxed pace of the city. Later, learn the art of making kimchi – a Korean slow food poster dish – during a cooking class. You’ll also learn how to make a delicious kimchi pancake. If you're keen for one more 'real food' experience, for dinner your leader will take you for locally brewed, cloudy rice beer called 'makgeolli'. Accompanied by a parade of inventive side dishes, this singular drink is enjoyed in ritual fashion, served in special brass bowls from the coveted makgeoli kettle. It is an experience unlike any other and a true South Korean highlight!
This morning you'll have the opportunity to start your day with a breakfast of kongnamul gukbap – a hot soup of soybean and sprouts. After breakfast you can explore the village or visit the historical shrines and palaces. Chat to your leader about which works for you. From here, travel by bus to Sunchang Gochujang, a village famous for the production of gochujang (a traditional red chilli paste), for a tasting and demo on how it gets made. Grab lunch at a restaurant that specialises in fermented bean soup. Later, take a stroll around the base of Mt Gangcheon, and choose whether to take work up your appetite by walking a little further to a nearby waterfall. For dinner tonight, sit down to slurp and chew some noodle soup and dumplings at another locally famous eatery, then wash it down with a couple of beers at a craft brewery. South Korea’s craft beer scene is exploding all across the country after a rise to popularity in Seoul, and tonight your belly will reap the benefits.
Rise and shine for an early journey to Gyeongju, a city rich with temples, tombs and palace ruins (many of which are World Heritage sites). Start your day right on arrival, with a stroll through the local market and progressive tasting. Start with the building blocks of Korean cuisine, then taste how the ingredients come together to make beloved local dishes. Grab lunch at one of our favourite stalls, then drive to the Golgulsa Temple for an overnight stay. The monks at this temple practice a specific type of martial arts known as sunmudo. Be treated to a display of the fighting art, then enjoy time to wander around the tranquil temple surrounds. Dinner will be vegan, in line with monastic custom. In the evening, relax with a chanting and meditation service, then choose to be guided through a sunmodo training session or simply settle in for an early night's sleep.
Your life as a monk continues today with a 4 am wake-up for a memorable morning meditation (you can opt out of it if early mornings are not your thing, but we highly recommend you partake in this unique experience). Following breakfast, learn about the spiritual values and beliefs of Korean Buddhism over tea with a resident monk. We then drive to a local farm for an insight into agricultural life. After a walk around the farm, you'll be treated to some home-made snacks. In the afternoon, enjoy a private transfer to Busan to visit the beautiful Haedong Temple, built into the rocks by the sea.
You will have some time to explore the sites of Busan before dinner.
Still got an appetite? When night falls, you can decide whether to join in an optional dinner of Korean lamb skewers with eggplant, dumplings and other side dishes. After dinner you may want to take in the local nightlife in the Seomyeon Entertainment District!
Today is all about the flavours of the sea. Begin this morning take a public bus to the Taejondae Lighthouse, from which there are great views over the ocean and of the surrounding cliffs. Visit Jalgalchi Market, an enormous seafood market situated by Busan port, and Tong Market for general produce and knick-knacks. Lunch today is at a restaurant overlooking the ocean for a clam bake with a view. Spend the evening at your leisure.
After breakfast at the hotel and a free morning to explore Busan, travel by Korea Train Express back to Seoul, arriving late afternoon. There may be free time to wander around Gyeongbok Palace, marvel at the views from Namsan Tower or check out Seoul’s most eclectic neighbourhoods of Sinsadong and Gangnam. For our final meal we will head to the youthful district of Hongik University for the most traditional Korean BBQ experience and to celebrate our time together! Try not to decorate this delicious beef with your tears as you savour your last bites of South Korean goodness!
Your South Korea Food Adventure comes to an end this morning after breakfast. If you wish to extend your stay and explore more of Seoul, contact your booking agent for further information.