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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK

Jeonju - Cuisine capital

Jeonju is renowned throughout South Korea for food.

It is the cuisine capital of the country.

The quality comes not only from the skill of the cook, but also from the rich flood plain on which the city sits.

Homegrown foods are referred to as the eight or 10 tastes as they contain a host of natural minerals.

The city's most famous delicacy is bibimap - a Jeonju rice and vegetable pot.

Area facts

  • Population: 611,000
  • District: Jeollabuk-do
  • Location: West coast
  • Local team: Chonbuk Hyundai Motors
  • Sights: Hansol Paper museum

  • Jeonju Daesaseupnori is a classical music competition that has been held in the city for 200 years

    It includes 30 different ingredients, including bean sprouts, green pea jelly, glutinous rice and red pepper paste.

    Other favourites are kongnamulgukbap, a recognised hangover cure of rice and bean sprout soup which can also be eaten with pickled shrimps, and a traditional Korean meal known as hanjeongsik.

    The clean water that is so advantageous for the city's cooks, is also of benefit to local paper makers.

    Jeonju is famous for producing paper, most notably hanji or mulberry paper, and it also has a museum devoted to the subject.

    Hanji, from the Josean era, was so valued that it was exported in large quantities to China.

    With paper comes the pen, and the city is also home to the only professional calligraphy museum in Korea.

    The Gangam Calligraphy Hall was first established from the estate of Sung Yong Song, who died in 1999.

    Festival fun

  • Pungnam Cultural Festival
  • The festival from late April to early May features cooking, serving and writing competitions

    But paper is not just used as a means for communication.

    The Jeonju Fan has long been a special product of the region.

    In bygone eras fans were used by all Koreans in all weathers - blocking both the sun, or the cold winds.

    With such a rich tradition of culture, the birthplace of the Yi Dynasty also has plenty to keep the visitor occupied.

    Gyeonggijeon is a shrine built in honour of King Yi Taejo - the founder of the dynasty.

    And the Pungnammun gate, built in 1398, is the symbol of the city.

    From other eras, the city features one of Korea's most beautiful churches - The Jeondong Cathedral.

    And nearby Ilksan City is the site of the country's first stone pagoda.

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