Incheon Chinatown: A Guide To The Area
People flock to Incheon’s China Town looking for authentic Chinese food and the quintessential red lanterns hanging from windows.
Once leased territory to Qing China in 1884, the area is now known as the birthplace of the Korean-Chinese delicacy ‘jjajangmyeon‘. That should tell you something about what you’ll find out there though. While there is authentic Korean-Chinese food, I’d say it’s pretty difficult to find authentic Chinese food. While that’s something to be aware of, it’s still a fun area to visit to eat it up and walk around while learning about the port city that is still home to the descendants of those first Chinese settlers in the area.
(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking. These funds go to maintain the site. Thank you for your support.)
Colorful gates welcome visitors to the small but bustling neighborhood and they can’t be missed. The streets and alleys are filled door to door with eats and treats.
If you want to head to Chinatown, also check out the Fairytale Village, Incheon Art Platform and more that are ALL in the same neighborhood and easily seen on foot. Check out my complete itinerary to have a great day out in Incheon. For Chinatown in particular though, keep reading to see what to do, what to see and what to eat.
What To See:
The only Chinese style temple/shrine left in Korea. It was built in 1893 and has a colorful mural on the yellow exterior walls. Inside the temple, remember to be respectful and not to take photos of the inner shrine area. There are signs posted saying as much, except that they’re only in Korean. Take in the quiet surroundings and look at the dragons and architecture that is quite different from the Korean temples you’ll see in the rest of the country.
9-16 Buksung-dong 2-ga Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 북성동2가 9-16
Samgukji Mural Street (삼국지 벽화거리)
This 150 meter long street features murals that depict the story of the Three Kingdoms. Portraying the heroes of the time, it’s a look at the Chinese fables you often hear about. There are murals and street art all over, but this is one of the most popular strips to see in the area. Head here for some great photo-ops.
인천광역시 중구 선린동
Jayu Park (Freedom Park) (자유공원 (인천))
Set above the Chinatown streets on Mt. Eungbonsan, this small park is easy to find as a decorated staircase from the Chinatown streets head straight up. The park provides a nice respite from the very busy streets of the area, but it also has a statue of General Mac Arthur who led the Incheon Amphibious Landing Operation during the Korean War. If you want a break in some nature, or to work off some of the food you ate, so you can head back down and eat some more, then head up and enjoy the views… or the exercise equipment.
25, Jayugongwonnam-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 자유공원남로 25 (송학동1가)
Jjajangmyeon Museum (짜장면박물관)
To learn about the dish made famous from this area and served about 7 million times daily in Korea, this is the place to go. Located in the old Gonghwachun, the restaurant where the dish originated, it’s an apt location to tell the tale of how the Chinese laborers in the area were seeking food from home so a restaurant came up with the noodle dish with the dark soy paste sauce. There isn’t terribly much information in English, but the dioramas and installations provide a bounty of info on how to make the dish and I found the historical packaging particularly interesting. It’s a cheap stop that takes less than a half hour to peruse and provides some good back info on the area.
56-14, China town-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 차이나타운로 56-14 (선린동)
Where To Stay:
If you’ll be heading to Incheon and want to stay the night, check out the Nest Hotel, a fabulous design hotel just 15-20 minutes from the Incheon International Airport. If you’d like to stay a bit closer to Chinatown, check out the Benikea The Bliss Hotel which is right outside of Wolmi Park and just a 15 minute bus ride from the area.
Where To Eat:
Gong Hwa Chun (공화춘)
Probably the most famous restaurant in the area, this four-story restaurant stands out along the street with its grand exterior. The original jjajangmyeon maker, the restaurant has been in the area since the early 1900s and is still serving up bowls of the delicacy they’re known for. This is the “new” Gonghwachun location, though the older building is still in the area and is now housing the jjajangmyeon museum. Try to eat here if you really want that authentic meal while in Korea’s only Chinatown.
43 Chinatown-ro Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 차이나타운로 43 공화춘
Daechang Banjeom (대창반점)
While the area is famous for jjajangmyeon, this restaurant sets itself apart by serving up white jjambbong. This small restaurant near Gonghwachun has been serving the dish since the 1980s and the chef is the grandson of the original chef who handed down the special recipe. Big noodles are mixed with seafood, pork and vegetables in a milky chicken broth that leaves a spicy aftertaste on the tongue.
55-1 Chinatown-ro Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 차이나타운로 55-1
Sim Ni Hyang (십리향)
Famous for oven-baked dumplings that are filled with minced meat, red beans, cheese, vegetables and sweet potatoes, this restaurant has a line out the door almost every day. The name of the restaurant translates to mean 10-ri (4 kilometers) and is meant to connote the idea that the sweet smell of the dumplings will spread 10-ri. The dumplings taste a bit lighter and sweeter than their Korean cousins that are cooked in oil or steamed. Baked in 200 degree Chinese pottery, means the skin of the dumplings comes out crispy. This is the ONLY restaurant in the area that serves these, so the line is worth the not terribly long wait.
50-2 Chinatown-ro Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 차이나타운로 50-2
Shin Seung Ban Jeom (신승반점)
Recently featured on a Korean foodie show, this restaurant has gotten a bit of hype for their uni jjajang dish. There are multiple kinds of jjajangmyeon dishes which you can learn about at the Jjajangmyeon Museum and this is one of them. Uni jjajangmyeon is made by cutting the ingredients in to much smaller pieces so the water in the dish comes from the veggies rather than being added during the cooking process. It has a milder taste and this restaurant was great as it allowed us to just get a number and then continue walking around the area while checking back to see how the wait was progressing.
31-3 Chinatown-ro 44-gil Jung-gu, Incheon
인천 중구 차이나타운로44번길 31-3
Yeon Gyeong (연경)
One of the top three most famous restaurants in the area, there is sure to be a wait to get in here. The four story building is pretty grand and can’t be missed while walking along the streets of the area. While most people are diving into bowls of jjajangmyeon of course, another dish that is a big hit from Yeon Gyeon is their fried chicken served with a sweet and sour soy sauce. There is also a delectable Beijing duck course if you want to go all out.
41 Chinatown-ro Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 차이나타운로 41 연경
If waiting in lines is not your thing… because those restaurants above will definitely have lines, check out the street food because it is legit delicious! We, of course, ate the requisite jjajangmyeon but the lamb skewers, Chinese bread filled with red bean paste, cream cheese and mango creme, mooncakes, pineapple cakes and more are so so delicious. I highly recommend just bouncing from street food stall to street food stall to enjoy a more substantial amount of eats while waiting far less. The jjajangmyeon restaurant we waited for left us with an hour long wait, though we were able to just get a number and keep walking around while other restaurants make you actually stay in the line the entire time. Which would you prefer?
The neighborhood is easily navigable and super easy to find as it’s straight out of the only exit from Incheon subway station, the last station on the dark blue line. Don’t be afraid to get off the main streets and walk down the alleys. There are little game shops and eateries everywhere as well as parks and colorful buildings.
Take your time and remember that you can also see other great sites like the Fairytale Village, Incheon Art Platform and Wolmido Park all in one fun filled day out in Incheon.
Know Where To Go!