This guide to the best local dishes in Daegu will help you discover the Koreans’ clever use of fresh seafood and vegetables, with recipes dating back to the Joseon Dynasty. This coastal city is mostly known for its rich culture and heritage, but there are plenty of incredible foods to try throughout your visit. 

    Daegu’s local dishes are heavily based on meat and seafood that are served in various ways, from raw to flame-grilled. While many of the dishes are similar to what you might find in many cities across South Korea, the city is particularly known for adding hot and spicy flavors to almost everything. There are plenty of interesting dishes to try in Daegu, so read on for our top picks.

    1

    Seasoned raw fish (muchimhue)

    A real delicacy that is served with raw vegetables

    Seasoned raw fish is a well-known delicacy in Daegu. Raw cod is seasoned in a spicy red chili paste and served with a variety of raw vegetables. Occasionally, fresh fish is difficult to come by or expensive in Daegu so you will often find alternatives with cooked seafood on the menu.

    The raw fish salad is usually served with a splash of sesame oil and vinegar to add a sweet and nutty flavor to the otherwise spicy seasoning. Enjoy the satisfying combination of tender fish and crunchy raw vegetables.

    2

    Braised short rib (jjim-galbi)

    Spicy braised meat served with sauces and rice

    Braised short ribs are a popular dish in Daegu. While you may not think of it as being typically Korean, the braised ribs in Daegu are quite uniquely spicy. The main seasoning includes red chili powder and crushed garlic. However, some restaurants tend to use their own unique sauces while cooking, such as sweetened soy sauce to balance out the spice.

    It’s often served at bars, and generally pairs well with rice if you’re looking for a more filling option. Locals often use steamed rice to soak up the leftover seasoning and sauces.

    3

    Flat dumplings (napchak mandu)

    Crowd-pleaser dish for vegans and vegetarians

    Napchak mandu (flat dumplings) has been a well-loved local dish in Daegu for over 50 years. The dumplings are made with thin wrappers and sparingly filled with glass noodles, carrots, onion, chives, and cabbage. They tend to be shaped in a crescent and boiled in hot water before pan-fried until slightly golden.

    It’s a great snack for vegetarians in a city that serves a lot of meat and seafood. The dumplings are relatively mild in flavor, which is why locals tend to pair them with a very spicy sauce. You can sprinkle sliced chili, soy sauce and vinegar if you want to add more flavor and spice.

    4

    Raw meat (moongtigi)

    Flavorful and tender raw beef

    Raw meat has a longstanding history in Daegu. This dish has been a traditional meal in the city since the 1950s. While raw meat is common throughout South Korea, the difference in Daegu is that the beef is sliced in chunks and then immersed in a fresh and spicy seasoning.

    Seasonings can vary, but you’ll generally taste garlic, sesame oil and pepper. If done well, the tender meat practically melts in your mouth with bursts of flavor from different sauces. The bite-sized pieces of raw beef are usually served with sauces and side dishes known as banchan.

    5

    Broiled intestines

    Great for adventurous foodies

    Broiled intestines have been one of the most popular dishes in Daegu since the 1970s. Gopchang (tripe) and makchang (entrails) are generally broiled over high heat and served with a sprinkling of scallion and garlic. Enjoy it like a local by dipping it in soybean sauce. 

    The nutritional value of broiled intestines is well documented, so locals have enjoyed it as a healthy food in Daegu for generations. AnJiRang GopChang Alley is considered the best part of the city to find restaurants serving broiled intestines.

    6

    Pressed noodles (nuren-guksu)

    A traditional and much-loved noodle dish

    Pressed noodles were first developed in Daegu many years ago. It's said that the city has the largest consumption of noodles in South Korea, so it's no surprise that this is a must-try dish. These famous noodles tend to be chewy and savory, and are generally served in a thick broth or soup.

    The noodles are made from a mixture of soybean and wheat flour. After the dough is cut into very thin slices, it goes into a pot of a savory anchovy stock with various vegetables.

    7

    Broiled pufferfish (bokeo bulgogi)

    A unique native seafood dish in Daegu

    Broiled pufferfish is a very unique Daegu dish. Pufferfish or blowfish can usually be found steamed or in a stew around South Korea. In Daegu, you’ll find that it’s generally sliced and broiled. The fish is deboned and stir-fried with vegetables like bean sprouts and green onion before a spicy sauce is added to the mix.

    Broiled pufferfish is commonly eaten as a side dish with an adult beverage. You can make it a complete meal with a bowl of steamed rice, which helps soak up the seasoning.

    8

    Fish cake (odeng)

    A popular street food option in Daegu

    Odeng (fish cake) is a Korean street snack that’s commonly found across South Korea. It's a relatively cheap snack available at many local markets. However, you’ll find that the city of Daegu has put its own spin on the famous fish cake. 

    The spongy odeng, which is made from potato starch and ground whitefish, is skewered on a wooden stick. You enjoy it by boiling the fish cake in a steamy broth. Just like most dishes in Daegu, it’s served with a tangy, soy dipping sauce. 

    9

    Fried chicken gizzards (dak dong-jib)

    A traditional take on fried chicken

    Fried chicken is a very popular dish throughout South Korea. However, in Daegu, the traditional option is dak dong-jib (fried chicken gizzards). While it doesn’t sound particularly appetizing for most people, this was a cheap source of protein for workers.

    The gizzards are cooked just like any other Korean-style fried chicken. They are twice-fried in a thin and crispy batter before being tossed in a sweet or spicy sauce. True to Daegu’s style, the locals prefer it spicy. You can also pair it with rice for a more filling option.

    10

    Korean sweet pancakes (hotteok)

    A popular dessert commonly sold by street vendors

    Hotteok (Korean sweet pancake) is made from simple yeast dough with a sweet filling made of sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts. The pancake is pan-fried with the filling spread thinly in the middle.

    It can be eaten as a snack, dessert, or even breakfast if you have a sweet tooth. You can usually find many street vendors selling these delicious filled pancakes in Daegu. They are particularly popular during the winter months when it becomes the city’s favorite comfort food.

    Elisha Donkin | Contributing Writer

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