Daegu Metropolitan City has a diverse range of mouthwatering food and serves up tasty treats on special food streets across the city. The hot and spicy jjim-galbi (steamed ribs), savory gopchang (tripe), and chewy dakttongjip dishes (chicken gizzard) are signature dishes of the city. Also popular are the kalguksu noodles served in an anchovy-based broth and the flat nabjak-mandu dumplings. Read on to learn more about the food of Daegu!
Gyeongsang-do borders the East Sea and South Sea, making for easy access to an abundance of seafood. Gyeongsang-do is also home to expansive fields that yield a large amount of agriculture produce and in the mountainous regions, wild vegetables can be easily harvested. Because of its diverse natural landscape, a large variety of food can be found in the region. The food from the city of Daegu, situated in the heart of Gyeongsang-do, may not be extravagant but it is packed with hot and spicy flavors.
The Jjim-galbi Street in Dongin-dong began to form in the 1970s when a local bar started serving jjim-galbi (steamed ribs) as a side dish for laborers working at nearby construction sites. The dish became very popular and similar restaurants began to open nearby. Over time, the marinade and flavors became more varied. Now, thirty years have passed since the first jjim-galbi dish was served in the area and today, there are 12 jjim-galbi restaurants on this street. The dish is served with fresh vegetables and side dishes. When served, eat the meat first. Then, rice will be mixed in with the remaining sauce. The hot and spicy flavor of the rice can be balanced with baek-kimchi (white kimchi), which is served as a side. The main ingredient of jjim-galbi is beef ribs from either hanu (Korea’s highest grade beef), which may be on the more expensive side, or imported beef, from Australia for example, which is cheaper. The price of hanu ribs is 25,000 won per person, and that of Australian ribs around 14,000 won. You can choose the level of spiciness when ordering.
The Seomun Market of Daegu is close to the Daegu Alleys Tour (modernization of Korea) course and visitors can store their luggage in a coin locker, so the market is frequented by tourists. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Seomun Market are the kalguksu noodles and flat nabjak-mandu dumplings. The prices are affordable and the serving size large, so they are great for cheap, delicious meal. The kalguksu noodles at Seomun Market are made with an anchovy and vegetable broth. The noodles are served with a large sprinkling of sesame seeds for added flavor. The savory, hot and chewy noodles go well with the kkakdugi (radish) kimchi and crunchy peppers. There is other food to try at Seomun Market, including barley bibimbap with 16 vegetables and sundae, Korean sausage. Another must-try is hotteok (a Korean pancake with a sweet filling). A bowl of kalguksu noodle costs between 3,500 won and 4,000 won, and hotteok costs just 1,000 won. Do note that only cash is accepted here.
Made with a thin and chewy dough casing, nabjak-mandu (flat dumplings) are a popular snack food of Daegu. Unlike other dumplings that have more filling, this dumpling is mostly about the doughy shell. As one of the ten delicacies of Daegu, nabjak-mandu is so popular that people living outside of Daegu often order it for delivery. The dumplings are widely available in snack food restaurants or food stalls, and there are many napjak-mandu restaurants in Seomun Market, Gyodong Market, Nammun Market, and on Jungang-ro Street. Each restaurant offers a unique take on napjak-mandu, but each version is sure to be delicious. Miseongdang, a famous nabjak-manu restaurant in Seomun Market, makes home-made dumplings and slightly fries them to lock in the flavor. The nabjak-mandu in the Dongseong-ro area are fried, creating a crispy texture, and served with tteokbokki. The dumplings are usually dipped in a soy sauce, onion and red pepper flake mixture.
Situated in Anjirang Market in Daegu, the Anjirang Gopchang Street draws lots of college students with a limited budget as well as businessmen who come to enjoy gopchang, or tripe dishes, at affordable prices. Along Anjirang Gopchang Street gopchang restaurants line both sides of the kilometer long road. As the restaurants begin to fill in the early evening, the smell of cooked gopchang pervades. Grilled on a briquette fire, the gopchang is noted for its chewy texture and rich flavor. Each restaurant has a unique seasoning and dipping sauce to help their gopchang stand out. At Anjirang, pork trip is used rather than beef. They are boiled slightly in hot water before being grilled and ready to be eaten after they caramelize. Recently, more restaurants have opened that offer gopchang cooked in a variety of ways using briquettes, gas burners, and ovens. The price is around 10,000 won per 500 grams of gopchang.
☞ Anjirang Gopchang homepage: http://www.안지랑곱창.com (Korean)
Situated between Dongdaegu Station and Daegu Technical High School, Pyeonghwa Market is home to about 30 restaurants specializing in dakttongjip (chicken gizzard) dishes. The market is only a five minute walk from Dongdaegu Station. The first restaurant was opened in the 1970s when a labor market was formed in the early mornings in front of the Pyeonghwa Market. Laborers who failed to find work at the market came to the dakttongjip restaurant to comfort themselves over a drink with fried dakttongjip. The affordably priced dakttongjip was so good that word quickly spread, drawing more diners and resulting in more restaurants opening up. Prices vary between 7,000 won and 11,000 won, and a dish is hearty enough to satisfy three to four people. If it is difficult to choose just one option from the menu, try the modeum combo. You will be served with a variety of dakttongjip dishes along with fried potatoes. If you want to try dakttongjip but are not sure you will like it, don't worry! The restaurants here serve a variety of dishes like fried chicken, jjimdak (top left picture) and more!
☞ Pyeonghwa Market Dakddongzip Street homepage: http://www.ddongzip.com (Korean)
The Dwaeji-bossam (steamed pork) Alley in Nammun Market dates back to the late 1990s. The main item here is bossam and suyuk (both steamed pork dishes). Though this type of dish did not originate in Daegu, this local variety is characterized by the pork bone broth soup served with the meat.
☞ You can find more information on local restaurants and major food of Daegu at www.daegufood.go.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)