The specialty of the region is bamboo, of course. So, perhaps not surprisingly, you'll find dishes made with bamboo shoots, bamboo tea, and daetong bap (rice steamed in the hollow of bamboo stalks). Some places add other grains, chestnuts, pine nuts -- you name it -- to the rice, and these additions mix well with the subtle flavor infused by steaming the rice in bamboo. Chefs also cook chicken in a bamboo pot (the chicken is mixed with rice, jujubes, and chestnuts). Another regional specialty is ddeok galbi, an especially tasty beef rib dish from the area.

There are many places that serve these regional specialties, but a couple of places of note include Songjukjeong (located in front of the Bamboo Museum; tel. 061/381-3291), which I found to be slightly better than the Bakmulgwan Apjip (whose name means "house in front of the museum"; tel. 061/381-1990), though the latter also serves good regional specialties. But my absolute favorite in town is Hyang-gyo Juknogwon, Hyang-gyo-li, Damyang-eup (tel. 061/381-9596), which serves bamboo-steamed rice with a wonderful array of banchan for the usual W10,000.

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