During the recent Jeonju International Film Festival, everyone who visited Jeonju seemed to have the same souvenir in mind: a box of bakery PNB’s famous choco pies.
The bakery’s bright orange shopping bags were ubiquitous around its branches, and hourlong lines snaked around corners.
PNB (also known as Pungnyeon Jegwa) first opened in 1951 in Jungang-dong, Jeonju, and has been passed down through three generations. Instead of choosing to continuously change and expand its offerings, the bakery has chosen to remain true to its traditional recipes.
PNB’s choco pies are filled with cream and strawberry jam. (PNB)
PNB’s most well-known product is its choco pies. The pies ― which sell for 1,600 won each ― are about the size of an adult palm, and are filled with cream and strawberry jam. The name “pie” is a bit misleading; the two outer halves that make up the pie have a texture that falls somewhere between bread and brownie, studded with walnut pieces. The rim is dipped in chocolate to amplify the flavor. There is also a “white choco pie” variant that uses white chocolate.
According to Kwon Young-ran, the bakery owner’s wife, the choco pies are a favorite particularly among tourists.
“Rather than with locals, we saw the choco pies sell fast among tourists,” she said. “When the Hanok Village here began to gain popularity, more and more people started seeking them out.”
For those who prefer something without chocolate, PNB also has traditional handmade senbei (crackers) and yanggaeng (red bean jelly).
Although PNB is based in Jeonju, it also sends freshly baked goods each day to its branches at Hyundai Department Stores in Seoul. In the capital, PNB can be found at Hyundai’s Mok-dong, Apgujeong, and Coex branches. Be sure to look for the “PNB” logo ― there are many other brands with similar names. For more information, visit www.pnb1951.com.
By Won Ho-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)