Incheon is recognized as the greatest port city in South Korea with gourmet seafood. Within the city, there is a large Chinatown located in the central district. This is where you’ll find the most authentic Chinese food in South Korea. It’s a great place to stop by before going to the Incheon Airport, which is about 30 minutes away. Take your time walking around, because the Chinatown in Incheon represents the descendants of those first Chinese settlers in the area.
When you are within the proximity, a colorful gates awaits, to let you know that you are about to enter Chinatown. The streets and alleys are filled with murals and temples, so you can walk up the appetite for some delicious Chinese cuisine. You’ll come across hiking trails, statues, antique shops, museums, and more. They also have jajangmyeon museum, if you are interested in the story behind the cuisine.
However, be noted that this is nothing like a Chinatown you’ll see in China. Far from it. Don’t come here expecting something grand, because it’s subpar when you compare it to real Chinatown. The Chinatown in Incheon began as a Chinese settlement, but has since undergone some cosmetic changes. It may not look like a Chinatown you’ll see elsewhere, but it’s still a home to original immigrants and retains some of its traditional values.
Now for the food. There are so many restaurants, you probably wouldn’t know where to eat at. There is Daechang Banjeom, which is known for its jajangmyeon cuisine. Jajangmyeon is a popular blackbean noodle as shown below. This small restaurant has been serving this dish since the 1980s and the chef is the grandson, who has been handed down the special recipe from the original chef. They also serve jjambbong, which is a big noodles mixed with seafood, pork and vegetables in a milky chicken broth that leaves a spicy aftertaste on the tongue.
Then there is Sim Ni Hyang. This place is known for their dumplings. Their dumplings are oven baked and filled with minced meat, red beans, cheese, vegetables and sweet potatoes. This is the only restaurant in the area that serves these, but it’s worth the wait.
There are also other restaurants I’d like to recommend, such as, Qing Guan, Yeon Gyeon and more. However, they honestly all taste good, so it doesn’t really matter where you eat at. Also, if you plan on walking around a lot, try a moon pie. They’re soft little pies with a sweet bean filling.
The price for the food are really cheap and will only cost you around $5 to $10 dollars per person. As you experience eating the most authentic Chinese food in South Korea, you’ll notice that the food taste completely different from the usual Chinese cuisine that you consume. Probably because the food has been altered a bit to suit Korean people’s and tourists taste. But, this town is probably the closest you’ll get to authentic Chinese food in all of South Korea.
Overall, the experience was memorable. The food wasn’t too bad and the environment was like visiting a abandoned Chinatown from the 80’s. Except, the place was filled with tourists and smelled of delicious seafood.