Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gettin my food on

I've been in this country for quite some time and finally started venturing around trying to experience some new food.  Its all quite daunting for foreigners coming into this city as the large majority of Korean restaurants don't have English on their menu, and even if you see pictures you still really don't know what you're getting.  Either way, thanks to some great friends, and a lot of reading on the internet, I give you my top 10 food dishes in Daegu.

10.  Breakfast at Holy Grill/Traveler's Bar and Grill
Now, this isn't Korean, I know.  However, there have been many weekends spent at either of these two bars (outside of drinking hours) to enjoy bacon, toast, and eggs like I could never do them.  Sometimes, I crave these breakfasts the night before, and I anticipate and wait eagerly on the cab ride downtown to eat some scrumptious breakfast.  And, its to no surprise that the best breakfasts in the city (so far) are Canadian owned! Traveler's also offers all day breakfasts on the weekends as well, and Guinness on tap- best that I've tasted!  (They also do have poutine on the menu which makes me happy although I know I'll never have a true poutine until I go home)

9.  Tashkent - Uzbekistan
This may be one of the best kept secrets in Daegu, although it is still new.  If its one thing about foreign food in Korea is that its expensive and usually created fusion Korean style, therefore, Italian doesn't really taste Italian, sushi has sweet pickles/pickled radish in it and so on.  Of course, I'm not saying that all foreign restaurants are like this, but this place is a step up from all the rest.  Before Korea, I've never tried Uzbeki food, neither have I had Russian food, however, maybe because of its prevalence of lamb and the taste, it reminds me a lot of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food.  The pastries are to die for, as the mixture of phyllo pastry and lamb makes it scrumptious, and just about anything on the menu is delicious, and if you don't know what to order, the owner, Alex, is super friendly.

8. Galbijim (날비찜)
One of Daegu's own.  Made from short beef ribs, its stewed and very spicy, and its even become a tourist interest spot.  Galbijim alley is famous and has been around for some odd 50 years.  If you were to order galbijim in any other city it wouldn't taste quite as good.


7.  Dorso Bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥)
I am a huge fan of bibimbap (rice, gochujang (hot pepper paste), fried egg, and random vegetables (excluding the kimchi) that you mix altogether, but what sets dorso (or dolset) bibimbap apart from that is that it comes in a hot pot.  The rice at the bottom gets crispier, the hot pepper paste becomes a little more spicier, and it just adds more flavour to the meal in itself.  I tend to get this every time we order in at lunch!  Best part about this dish is you can buy it at your local kimbap place even if you are by yourself.

6.  Meat on a leaf
This has become synonymous with my friends and I with going to any kind of barbecue restaurant.  Whether you want galbi (갈비), samgyeopsal (삼셥설), sogalbi (소갈비)- any kind of meat that you sit around a table and barbecue yourself.  Finish it off by wrapping a romaine or sesame leaf around it with a piece of garlic, onion and rice and it is one of the best and cheapest meals you can get in Korea.  I live on a street that thrives on restaurants.  I don't understand how you can have some 20 odd restaurants crammed together in one area that are always packed, but they serve everything pork/beef/fish related. 

samgyeopsal translates to three layered flesh

5.  Kimbap (김밥)
By far, the cheapest food you can buy in Korea that will fill you up and is healthy (for the most part) for you.  Koreans believe that this is essential in dieting.  It is the Korean alternative to a maki roll without the fish.  The regular kimbap roll consists of rice, pickled radish, egg, ham and other vegetables rolled with a layer of seaweed.  If you want to add some variety to your life you could always try the other various versions of kimbap, such as kimchi, tuna, sogogi, and cheese.  I don't like calling those orange stores which I frequent quite often Kimbap nara's because none of them around me are called such.  If you haven't quite deciphered what the menu is like, I would recommend Mary Eats.

4.  Dakgalbi (닭갈비)
I even get mine with heart shaped dduk!
A friend of mine took me to my first dukgalbi (or dalkgalbi) restaurant, and I've been in love with it ever since.  Sitting at a restaurant with a huge grill in the middle of the table, a waiter asks you for your choice in spice level, and brings out the Chuncheon specialty dish consisting of diced chicken, gochujhang, cabbage, dduk (rice cake), and mixes it all up in the sauce and what you get is pure Heaven! 

3.  Jjimdak (찜닭)
I first had the pleasure of eating this delicious dish when I went to Andong for the Mask Festival.  We stopped off at Hahoe traditional village and finished that part of the day with jjimdak (or jjimdalk).  Jjimdak is the specialty of Andong village, but this delectable dish is full of chicken, peppers, noodles (aka japchae: see below), and potatoes in a brown spicy but sweet tasting stew. My only problem is that I am horrible picking up those noodles with chopsticks and end up with stains on my shirt and pants from all the splatter!

2.  Japchae (잡채)
In theme with the last item japchae, otherwise known as cellophane noodles (or dangmyeon) are stir fried with sesame oil and then mixed with your choice of vegetables and/or beef.  Hot or cold, these noodles are delicious.  I love any restaurant that serves this as a side dish and I'm always asking for more.  I just cannot get enough of these noodles!

1.  Napjak Mandu (납작만두)
Another Daegu specialty, however, you cannot find these delectable treats anywhere else in Korea.  Mandu is dumpling, and napjak means flat, but you fry these bad boy's up and its a scrumptious snack!  Just make sure to dip it ddukboggi or spicy soy sauce.

1 comment:

  1. If you come across any interesting bathrooms along the way I'd be interested in the name/location of the restaurant or pub.

    I've made a blog about all the cool bathrooms we get to see here. They still make me laugh.