There’s always at least one Chinatown in a major populated part of an area around the globe and South Korea isn’t an exception. To the southwest border of Seoul, you’ll find a major port city called Incheon where Incheon International Airport is located. There is one huge Chinatown near the edge of the area and it’s known as the official Chinatown of Korea.
In this historic cultural village, you’ll enjoy a sufficient amount of Chinese culture without having to leave Korea. Colorful Chinese themed gates welcome new visitors to the bustling neighborhood. Also, various mouthwatering Chinese street food, such as lamb skewers and multiple flavored moon cakes, can be found here. But this town is known heavily for their Jjajangmyeon (black soybean sauce noodles). As the birthplace of this dish, you’ll find a couple of places serving Jjajangmyeon as the main dish.
Jjajangmyeon is so popular in South Korea that about 8 million dishes is served on a daily basis. They even made a museum called Jjajangmyeon Museum (짜장면박물관) in Chinatown to inform travelers of how it came to be created. The story tells of how Chinese laborers were seeking food from their country so a certain restaurant came up with the idea of making a noodle-based dish with black soy paste. The museum provides art and statue models to show how the popular dish came to be. Fun fact: April 14th is known as Black Day and it’s a day when everyone helps themselves to a bowl of Jjajangmyeon.
If you want to try a classic bowl of Jjajangmyeon, then we recommend you head to Gong Hwa Chun (공화춘). It’s probably the most famous restaurant in Chinatown. Known as the original Jjajangmyeon maker, the place has been standing since the early 1900s and is still attracting many customers.
Here’s how to reach the restaurant serving classic black soybean noodles in the official Chinatown of Korea. If you’re in the middle of Seoul, the fastest route to get there will be by subway. Take Line 1 and be sure that it’s the one that will take you to Incheon (인천). Go to the end of the line, which is Incheon Station, and get off Exit 1. You’ll be greeted by a giant red memorial gate leading you to the world of China within Incheon. Go straight up the hill to the end and the first building you see will be Gong Hwa Chun.
There are streets and alleys filled with stores selling authentic Chinese street food for you to enjoy along with a nice bowl of jjajangmyeon. So don’t be shy and try to venture into the streets of Chinese culture in Incheon.