Chuncheon's most famous cuisine is by far 닭갈비, Chicken Galbi. It is the home of chicken galbi, although it may look a little different from what you're used to eating in Seoul. While we were in the area, we tried two different chicken galbi restaurants to get a taste for what exactly Chuncheon chicken galbi is all about.
Most restaurants advertise that they serve 숯불 닭갈비. 숯불 (Pronounced Soot-bul) roughly means "charcoal grilled". The charcoal certainly gives a different flavor to the chicken than what I'm used to. Usually in Seoul, chicken galbi is cooked on a hot iron plate over a gas range on the table rather than on a grill like this.
Another difference between Seoul and Chuncheon chicken galbi is that in Chuncheon it is served quite similarly to normal pork or beef galbi, meaning that it's grilled whole and cut later after it is finished cooking and that it is eaten as 쌈, wrapped in lettuce.
As I said, we tried two different restaurants and had two variations. One restaurant partially grilled the chicken before bringing it to the table. The result was faster, but we found it not as good as the second restaurant that served it raw and let us cook the whole thing on our own table.
Chuncheon's other well known dish is 막국수 (pronounced mak-guk-su), a spicy cold noodle dish. It's similar to bibim naengmyon, if you've tried that. It's made from buckwheat noodles with a variety of vegetables and gochujang (hot pepper sauce).
Adding some mustard for flavor...
While chicken galbi and makguksu are the two most famous dishes, that doesn't mean there isn't more to be had in Chuncheon. While we walked up to Cheongpyongsa, we found lots of interseting local food to try.
The boyfriend was quite excited to find this stand selling 칡 (pronounced: Chik) which is actually kudzu in English. Here they were selling a juice made from the root of the kudzu. You can see a pile of the giant roots stacked behind the stand. They are really massive.
튀김 (pronounced Twee-kim), various deep fried foods, are a popular snack along the trail. Here you can see 빙어튀김 and 새우튀김, some of the most popular foods along the trail.
We tried the 전병 (pronounced Cheon-byeon) which is a pancake filled with kimchi and vegetables. You can see the pancake filling below.
Which of course was acompanied by a cup of dongdongju, a kind of rice wine!
I hope when you make your way to Chuncheon you make the most of your time and try all the wonderful food of the area. Every area of Korea has their own specialty food and you should always try to find out what it is while you travel!