I use MySQL 5.1 and loaded from a UTF-8 decoded txt-file about 2.7 mil lines into a table which itself is declared as
LOAD DATA INFILE
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8">
SET NAMES utf8
SET NAMES utf8mb4command to MySQL after connecting, before running any MySQL queries.
Content-Type: text/html;charset=iso-8859-1, browsers disagree about which should win).
utf8mb4where MySQL is concerned).
If phpMyAdmin displays your entered data as correct Unicode text, then my bet is that you are not doing
SET NAMES utf8 after connecting.