For the ultimate bibimbap festival experience, set your sights on the southeast Korean city of Jeonju, where this traditional mixed rice dish is celebrated with an annual festival each October. Known as a gastronomic capital of Korea, the city of Jeonju is regarded as one of the best places to eat bibimbap.
Literally meaning ‘mixed rice’, the traditional Jeonju version of bibimbap is a hearty serve of steamed rice topped with bean shoots, raw beef, a rainbow of pickled vegetables, fiery gochujang chilli sauce and a raw egg, which is stirred through the ingredients to create a flavour-packed mouthful.
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Bibimbap is such a significant part of the city’s cultural fabric that each year it is celebrated with a four-day fiesta. This year, the Jeonju Bibimbap Festival runs from Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 October, with events taking place in the Jeonju Hanok Village and Korean Cultural Heritage Hall of Fame.
Along with cultural performances, concerts, magic shows, and tours through the Hanok Village, this family-friendly affair will include plenty of opportunities to dine on authentic bibimbap.
Shop for farm-fresh vegetables at the local produce market, take in the traditional food exhibition, indulge in Korean snacks at the night market, and watch as a giant 400-serve bibimbap is prepared. It’s free to attend the festival, although fees do apply for some events.
While you’re in town, be sure to try one of the city’s best examples of bibimbap at legendary Gajeok Hwaegwan restaurant, where the signature Jeonju bibimbap is a colourful combination of raw beef and egg, crunchy gingko nuts, pine nuts, and a bunch of vegetables, served with a dizzying array of banchan (side dishes).
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