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.

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Incheon Chinatown, Incheon, Korea

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.Incheon Chinatown, Incheon, Korea

What To See:

Wiseondang (의선당)Incheon Chinatown, Incheon, Korea

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)Incheon Chinatown, Incheon, Korea

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.

Seollin-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon

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)Incheon Chinatown, Incheon, Korea

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:Nest Hotel, Incheon, Korea

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)Incheon Chinatown, Incheon, Korea

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)Incheon Chinatown, Incheon, Korea

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)

Incheon Chinatown, Incheon, Korea

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.

Incheon Chinatown, Incheon, Korea

Know Where To Go!



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10 Responses

  1. Chinatown was the only area in Incheon we really liked! I love the small area and how different it feels than the rest of Korea. Unfortunately we picked a bad restaurant and had one of the worst meals in my life, but everything else looked great! Haha, just bad luck sometimes! Seeing your photos and suggestions it makes me want to go back and eat better food! haha

  2. Sarah Kim says:

    Omg I would die at the jjajjangmyung museum. I love that dish. I grew up eating it in Queens, NY but it’s not really a common Korean-Chinese dish other than Korea/NYC/LA. I really don’t find it anywhere. That’s awesome you know how to make it!

  3. siniciliya says:

    Korea has always been on my travel Bucket list so I am trying to collect as much information as possible. Chinatowns are always an authentic experience and I have saved this information in my “Korea travel” folder.
    I really appreciate that you shared good places to eat.

  4. thetravelpockets says:

    I love cooking and am alway fascinated by food culture, so the Jjajangmyeon Museum sounds like my kinda place to explore. I would probably try to bring a translator with me since there isn’t much information in English 🙂

  5. Chinese fables really intrigue me so of course my eye was drawn to Samgukji Mural Street! And jjajangmyun is my newfound favorite Korean dish! How did I not gorge on this more when I was in country?? Love this post and thanks for highlighting another Chinatown community! It’s fascinating!

  6. Cat says:

    China towns in North America tend to be dirty and sketchy. But in Incheon, it looks so clean and organized. So many delicious eats to try there! Looks like a great place for foodies!

  7. Nisha says:

    I have made plans for South Korea 2 times in the pas and not been able to go. The Chinatown looks quite beautiful. I am sure I am going to include it in my itinerary

  8. A whole museum dedicated to jjajangmyun…wow, Koreans really do love that dish. I’ve developed a small addiction to that dish from living here, but in Canada, I really hated it. Something about the colour and consistency was strange for me I guess. And pretty sure I wouldn’t wait in line an hour to eat it in Incheon, but the oven baked dumplings from Sim Ni Hyang sound really, really delicious. No wonder there’s always a line-up there…

  1. May 6, 2017

    […] just 20 minutes from the airport and then headed inland to mainland Incheon to see everything from China Town to the Incheon Art Platform and […]

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