By Lee Kyoung Mi and Yoon Jihye
Photos = Korea Expressway Corporation
While the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the world’s biggest winter Olympic sporting festival, are in full swing in Korea right now, the Seollal Lunar New Year’s holiday starts on Thursday, Feb. 15.
As this season is a good opportunity to enjoy both the Seollal holidays and the Olympic Games, it’s likely that more people will be using the highways this year.
The Korea Expressway Corporation has announced a list of 20 famous dishes that are available at highway rest stops in January, hoping to introduce some local delicacies to those who will be visiting Gangwon-do Province, where the Winter Games are taking place, and to those who will be traveling to other cities during the holiday.
– Gangneung, Hoengseong Rest Stops, on the way to Gangneung
Along the Yeongdong Expressway that connects Incheon and Gangneung is the Gangneung Rest Stop where you can enjoy some hwangtae pollack soup with chodang soft tofu. The tofu, made after curdling the soy milk from the soy beans with seawater, and the yellowish hwangtae pollack freeze-dried on wooden racks in Daegwallyeong, make for a good combination and develop fresh and neat flavors.
At the Hoengseong Rest Stop, there’s also a beef steak available that’s made with minced rice cake and deodeokherbal roots.
– Manghyang, Geoncheon, Andong, Danyang Rest Stops, on the way to Busan
The Gyeongbu Expressway between Seoul and the southern port city of Busan, and the Jungang Expressway between Chuncheon in Gangwon-do Province and Busan, also offer some special dishes to holiday travelers.
If you stop at the Manghyang Rest Stop or the Geoncheon Rest Stop, don’t miss the yukgaejang spicy chicken soup. It’s made with all kinds of medicinal herbs and is deep in flavor. Also, the dolsot bibimbap, or mixed rice with vegetables and meat in a hot stone bowl, adds to the flavors with freshly cooked vegetables.
If you drive along the Jungang Expressway, don’t forget to drop by the Andong Rest Stop or the Danyang Rest Stop.
A set meal served with salted whole grilled mackerel at the Andong Rest Stop tastes like absolute perfection. The mackerel is salted by the master Lee Dong-sam who’s specialized in salting fish. At the Danyang Rest Stop, a soft tofu and seafood stew made with freshwater shrimp and seafood is quite popular, and the soup provides deep, fresh flavors.
– Insam Land Rest Stop, on the way to Tongyeong or Hanam
The Insam Land Rest Stop lies along the Tongyeong-Daejeon Expressway, which traverses Jeollabuk-do Province and Chungcheongnam-do Province, with Tongyeong in Gyeongsangnam-do in its middle.
As you can guess from the name of the rest stop, visitors will be able to find menu items made with ginseng. Recommended dishes are ginseng stone pot mixed rice at the rest stop along the way to Tongyeong. It’s highly nutritional. Also, the ginseng galbitang beef rib soup at the rest stop along the way to Hanam is made after boiling ginseng and beef ribs together for many hours.