Since this is South Korea's largest island, Jeju-do is well known for its hwae (raw fish) and I highly recommend the local sea bream or the sea urchin if you're an adventurous eater. But the culinary excitement doesn't stop there. Other local specialties include galchi (hairtail fish) and junbok (abalone), which used to be so prized it was usually reserved for royalty. No more. Now it is made into jook (porridge), eaten raw, or added to a variety of other dishes. Heuk dwaeji (pork from native black pigs) and pheasant are also local specialties. A holdover from the island's Mongolian days is bing ddeok (rice cakes) made with buckwheat and radish instead of rice, which is quite bland. Give it a try, but bear in mind that it may take a couple of tastings before you appreciate its very subtle flavor.
Nearly all of the luxury hotels serve Western cuisine, if you must have a hamburger and don't mind paying W17,000 for one. Otherwise, your best bet is to go for the local offerings, which may not be gourmet (at least not yet), but which are generally delicious.
If you're looking for an ocean view and extremely fresh seafood, head for the restaurants along the shores of Jeju-si, which attract crowds of tourists and locals with their straight-out-of-the-water offerings and live performances. My favorites are the haenyeoui jip, which translates to "house of women divers," seaside restaurants run by the haenyeo themselves. Most of them are found along the coast, near major tourist attractions, and feature abalone jook, octopus, sea cucumbers, and other fresh seafood on their menus. There are locations in Seopjikoji, Jungmun Beach, Seongsan, and Sehwa. You can also see the female divers selling their freshly caught wares at stands in Yongduam or Jungmun Beach.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.