Chilsimni Food Street + Where I Stayed in Seogwipo, Jeju Island

Chilsimni Food Street is a major thoroughfare, spacious and unhurried, right along the coast of Seogwipo City, which gives its restaurants and cafes the edge of having a view of the beautiful ocean.

It is located within the coastal neighborhood of Songsan-dong, near Seogwipohang Port, lined with at least 40 restaurants and cafes. On the information board near the port, only 36 restaurants are listed but there are definitely more options to be got, including coffee shops and little snack shops as well as convenience stores.

I tried walking from the city center, where another food street named Arang Joeul can be found and where there are more commercial shops, and it takes about 20 minutes to Chilsimni. You could take a bus, but I was in the mood for a good leg exercise and, at night, waiting for the next bus may take just as much time, if not longer. If you’re walking from Chilsimni to the commercial center, it may be a bit arduous as the roads are mostly uphill.

Conveniently, I was staying at Hotel Pine Hill, a 3-star hotel with its own bus stop and is within just spitting distance of the food street.

Chilsimni Food Street is dominated by seafood and BBQ restaurants. One of the little downsides of traveling solo, especially when in Korea, is that it’s a bit awkward to eat at K-BBQ restaurants because they are the most ideal place for groups and for sharing big servings of meat. (I have tried it though, and you can definitely get around the “loneliness” with a big appetite!) However, in Chilsimni, I decided to go for the smaller eateries offering seafood and less familiar dishes.

When I first got off at the Seogwipohang bus stop right next to a CU convenience store, my senses were immediately triggered by a mysterious olfactory delight. It smelled of potent yet nice and smooth meat soup, perhaps with lots of vegetables, which would remind you of your bed or your mother or a rainy afternoon on the couch. The smell was comforting and definitely mouthwatering.

That smell couldn’t have come from CU.

The source of the mysterious mouthwatering smell. A building in front of Seogwipohang Bus Stop.

Then, I noticed the small inconspicuous eatery in a two-story building sitting right in the middle of the forked road. The name of the restaurant is 현이네국밥 (Hyeonine Gukbap) or Hyeoni’s Rice Soup. You could guess the eatery’s specialty is rice soup—different kinds.

As I mentioned, there are a lot of restaurants on Chilsimni and not all of them are listed on the information board or brochure. But that doesn’t mean those not listed aren’t good ones. Hyeoni’s Rice Soup is one of them. It’s more like a stomping ground for locals, which is really nice.

I talk more about Hyeoni’s Rice Soup in this entry.

 

A coffee shop that stands out on Chilsimni Food Street. Haru B Coffee.

Right after lunch, a coffee shop was my next immediate target. With a spacious and unobstructed street, it’s very ideal to spend a nice afternoon in a coffee shop, just looking out onto the sea. And that, I did.

A perfect view to go with coffee.

I settled with Haru.B Coffee, which has a view of a little patch of a green park right across the street, the sea, and little Seopseom (Seop Island) sitting on the horizon. I talk more about Haru.B Coffee in this entry.

 

Where I stayed in Seogwipo. Pine Hill Hotel photo from Agoda.

After that, I checked in for my Agoda booking at Pine Hill Hotel, which I’d like to say, is a nice practical accommodation. It’s a 3-star business hotel with a bit of a childish guise. From the outside, it’s your typical rectangular business hotel without frills. When you step into the lobby, you’re welcomed by a lifesize zebra figure and then a huge stuffed panda in the lobby. A good effort to make an otherwise rigid interior design more welcoming.

Oh, there’s a duck family, too.

I booked 2 nights for 53,000 KRW (approx. 22 USD per night), which for me was a pretty good deal. I didn’t expect much for that price, but even though the room was small, it was clean and cozy. What I liked the most are the wooden flooring and the bathroom. I guess it was the tile design that gave the bathroom a certain character.

My humble abode in Seogwipo.

Pine Hill Hotel is one of the cheapest hotel accommodations in Seogwipo, and it’s a really good choice for its proximity to Chilsimni Food Street, its own bus stop, and a convenience store next door.

 

For dinner, seafood overload. Literally.

For dinner that same day, I walked to the opposite side of Chilsimni (the part that’s away from the ocean view). I reached the end of the street and found a noodle restaurant called 솔동산 고기국수 or Soldongsan Meat Noodles.

I’m really not a fan of seafood, but I made extra effort to enjoy some in Jeju. But this was the last straw for me. Read about it in this entry.

 

Chilsimni Food Street at night.

I spent 3 days and 2 nights in this part of Jeju Island, and I was happy. Compared to the northern Jeju City, Seogwipo is a bit more provincial—although of course, the whole Jeju Island really is provincial relative to Seoul and other cities on the mainland. The arrangements were perfect for me—I was not really sure which location to book a hotel, and I’m happy that it turned out great. I booked a hotel in the best location, with an awesome gourmet experience literally right out the front door. What’s more, just a short walk and I could revel in relaxing views of nature at the coast.

After the day of check-in at Hotel Pine Hill, I explored Songaksan the next day.

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