|China Town, Bukseong-dong - Enlivens the Taste Buds!|
Korea¡¯s China Town is so quintessentially Chinese that walking down the street you almost expect to see someone performing Kung fu. Visitors here also immediately crave Jasmine tea or Chinese Noodles.
The street itself is reminiscent of the streets that littered Seoul 30-40 years ago. Small corner shops, old-fashioned barbers shops, and old women selling merchandise on the street are everywhere. These scenes are similar to Korean lifestyle several decades ago.
If you turn left at the Chinese drug store, and walk about 30 steps, you will find a church built in 1917. On the opposite side of the church, there is a house on the alley. It was kung fu training hall.
The port of Jemulpo was opened in 1883 and the consulate of Cheong was established in Korea, one year later. About 2000 Chinese immigrants invested money in the regions of Seollin-dong and Bukseong-dong in Korea. China town was formed after the establishment of the consulate of Cheong in 1884. In the 1940s Chinese restaurants and stores selling goods such as herbal medicine, porcelain, and silk became very popular with Koreans. More than 10,000 people crowed China town, making it the biggest commerce region in Incheon.
However, due to the Korean War as well as various regulations placed upon Chinese people residing in Korea in 1960, many Chinese begun to leave Korea from this time onwards. Unfortunately today China town has suffered from the mass exodus and barely keeps itself going, although the number of restaurants has increased as people have begun to re-settle in this region.
Cheap meals are enjoyed daily by the dock laborers. Popular Chinese noodles are called 'jajangmyeon.' The first restaurant where people began to cook Chinese noodles was called 'Gongwhachun'. As soon as ¡®Gongwhachun¡¯ became famous, many Chinese restaurants became successful, especially after the end of World War One. Thus Incheon became the base of the Cheong (ancient Chinese) restaurant.
It is possible to get a further glimpse of China through the traditional Chinese housing in the area. After passing ¡®Jakeumseong¡¯ you can see Chinese houses standing close together. The houses were built in a combination of Chinese and Korean style architecture. Turn left at 'Daecheongbanjeom', this route leads not only to traditional houses, but also to a Chinese school and the association of Chinese residents in Korea. The Chinese school was built in the place where the ancient consulate of Cheong stood. There is also a small store called ¡®Bokraechun,¡¯ which is the oldest store in China town. The walls of the store are covered in folk painting. Inside the display case many bottles are exhibited. You can also buy fresh homemade candies and bread.
Walk along the Bukseong doctor¡¯s surgery and you will find the Pungmi restaurant. From Pungmi restaurant walk towards Incheon station, down the branch road, you will find a two-story building located on the right. This is the building of Kongwhachun, the first place where Jjajangmyeon was cooked in Korea, and from where it originally spread to the whole country.
Only traces remain in the buildings of old restaurants, such as Kongwhachun, to indicate their popularity some 60 years ago. Movies such as ¡®Bukkyungbanjeom¡¯ and ¡®The Bizarre Woman¡¯ were filmed in China town. It¡¯s in a good location, with a view of the Incheon coastline, and was once the resting place for mariners. Mariners arrived at land early in the morning after finishing work and rested over supper in a restaurant located in the China town.
Developing a model street in China town
From 2001 to 2003, villages such as Incheon, Jung-gu, Bukseong-dong, Seonrin-dong, Hang-dong, and Haean-dong will become tourist centers. A 'China town model street¡¯ will be formed to attract touristsand Chinese traders. 5 billion 4 million Won will be invested into the street to improve its sidewalks, sewer system, and general appearance.
Location Hang-dong Chung-gu Incheon
How to get there 5 minute's walk from Incheon station. Several buses (2, 15, 23, 45, 51, 101) stop at Incheon station or Dong Incheon station. Pass over the pedestrian crossing, and walk for about a minute towards a slope that is the entrance to China town. The entrance to China town has many signboards written in Chinese characters.
Tel Incheon general tourist information center: 032-440-3312 or 440-3313