Being on the South Seas with miles of coastline, the Jeollanam-do region is well known for its fresh and varied seafood. Although outsiders make fun of their provincial ways, everyone agrees that this region's food is the best. The residents are known to be generous people by the sheer number of banchan laid out for the simplest of meals.
In the Jirisan area, try the local blue crab at Gokseong Saesugung Garden, 937 Hahan-li, Jukgok-myeon, Gokseong-gun (tel. 061/363-4633), on the way to Seomjin-gahng from Namwon.
Worth a special trip is the chargrilled beef at Gwangyang Hanguk Shikdang, 206-1 Eupnaeri, Gwangyang-eup, Gwangyang-si (tel. 061/762-9292), which serves a recipe handed down through three generations.
In Haenam, try Haenam Jeonju Shikdang, 140-5 Gurim-li, Samsan-myeon, Haenam-gun (tel. 061/532-7696), which serves regional specialties, including sanchae hanjeongshik (mountain vegetable traditional meal), for W50,000 for four people. If you're hankering for haemultahng (spicy seafood hot pot), look no further than Haenam Yonggung Haemultang, 18-4 Pyeongdong-li, Haenam-eup, Haenam-gun (tel. 061/535-5161), which specializes in the dish.
For down-home-style food, try the oxtail soup made by the halmuhni at Naju Nampyeong Sikdang, 13 Geumgye-dong, Naju (tel. 061/334-4682). This milky white soup is served with only two side dishes, traditional kimchi and ggakdugi (daikon kimchi). Naju Yeongsa Hong-ga, 270-4 Yeongsan-dong, Naju (tel. 061/332-0309), is well known for their various hong-uh (skate) dishes. Another good restaurant is Yeongsan Hong-uh, 272-2 beonji, Yeongsan-dong, Naju (tel. 061/334-0305), which offers hong-uh kimchi, hong-uh noodles, and all things skate.
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.