Daejeon is a South Korean city brimming with local dishes made from unique produce. If spicy noodle soup with cockles (kkomak jjamppong/champon) isn’t enough of a challenge, you can try grilled short rib patties (tteok-galbi), steak tartare (yukhoi), or tofu dishes with a diverse range of ingredients.

    The deep-fried streusel bun (soboro) from Sungsimdang, Daejeon’s most famous bakery, is a must-have – best enjoyed when it's freshly fried. It doesn’t have branches in other parts of the country, so it’s a Daejeon specialty that shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the area. Check out our guide to the best local restaurants in Daejeon.


    Oh-ssi Kalguksu

    Oh-ssi Kalguksu is famous for knife-cut wheat flour noodles with surf clams (mulchong jogae kalguksu) and hand-pulled dough soup (sujebi). It’s located in the Hanbok District near Daejeon Station, so it shouldn’t be difficult to spot.

    Oh-ssi’s noodles are unique in that they come with surf clams in a remarkably refreshing broth. It’s a bit spicy, but the surf clams give it a rich and deep flavor. The restaurant provides all-you-can-eat kimchi and diced radish kimchi (kkakduki), both of which perfectly complement the noodles.

    Location: 13 Yetsintanjin-ro, Dong-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +82 (0)42-627-9972


    Jogijong-ui Hyangmigak

    Jogijong-ui Hyangmigak is famous for their spicy noodle soup with cockles (kkomak jjamppong/champon). The noodles which contain whole cockles, provide some form of activity as you pop the flesh out of their shells. If that feels too fiddly, you can order it with the cockles already shucked.

    The dish is packed with a smoked flavor, with the broth having just the right amount of spiciness and the noodles with a balanced tenderness. To jump-start your appetite on a hot summer day or warm yourself up on a winter night, stop by at Jogijong-ui Hyangmigak and give the spicy noodle soup with cockles a shot.

    Location: 14 Ssangcheongdang-ro, Daedeok-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 8.30 pm


    photo by Shene81 (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Damyangae Tteok-galbi

    Damyangae Tteok-galbi offers local pork ribs at reasonable prices. The ribs are roasted in the kitchen and served ready-to-eat. As you bite into the juicy meat, you get a delicious smoked flavor and mild seasoning. Portions are quite generous – 2 servings of pork ribs might come out looking more like a stack of 4 at Damyangae Tteok-galbi. Be sure to call ahead for a reservation as it’s always quite busy.

    Location: 16-8 Mannyeonnam-ro 3 beon-gil, Seo-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 11.30 am to 3 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +82 (0)42-636-9904


    Wangwan Sikdang

    Wangwan Sikdang is a restaurant in Daejeon famous for its bean sprouts and steak tartare with rice (yukhoi bibimbap). Located in the center of the Samseong-dong Printing District, this restaurant is quite unique in that it’s only open for 2 hours every day, except on Sundays.

    Bean sprouts with rice is the only item on the menu, but you can order the optional-but-must-have steak tartare (yukhoi) and add their special sauce to really enjoy this dish. The serving for steak tartare may be less than expected, so order the largest size if you have a large appetite.

    Location: 6 Seonhwa-ro 196 beon-gil, Dong-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

    Open: Monday–Saturday from noon to 2 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +82 (0)42-221-1663


    Gwangcheon Sikdang

    Gwangcheon Sikdang’s signature dishes are stir-fried tofu (duruchigi) and boiled pork slices (suyuk). The stir-fried tofu is made of sliced tofu and squid in a spicy sauce, great for those who don’t like or are allergic to pork. The tofu balances out the spicy sauce, but if the dish is still too spicy, the watery kimchi and broth, which are served as side dishes, can further tame the spiciness. You can mix the stir-fried tofu with noodles instead of rice for a different spin on this dish.

    Location: 29 Daejong-ro 505 beon-gil, Jung-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10.30 am to 9.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +82 (0)42-226-4751



    The unassuming Tobagi has been going strong with just a handful of items on the menu. Their marinated squid (ojingeo jumulleok) and spicy braised chicken (dak-bokkeum-tang) are staple dishes that keep the place going. The sight of rice, fresh lettuce and sweet-and-spicy squid being mixed in a large brass bowl might just kick your appetite into high gear.

    The squid is juicy and plump, while the spicy braised chicken is tender enough to melt in your mouth. If you’ve had your fill of franchise restaurants and are looking for something that feels more homemade, look no further than Tobagi. It's located in the middle of Daejeon’s Euneujeongi Street.

    Location: 41-9 Jungang-ro 156 beon-gil, Jung-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 10.30 am to 10.30 pm

    Phone: +82 (0)42-252-3470


    Sungsimdang Bakery

    The most popular item in Sungsimdang Bakery, steeped in more than 60 years of tradition, is by far the streusel bun (soboro). In fact, it’s so popular that there’s a separate corner dedicated to selling the signature bun and pantaloon chive bread (pantaloon buchu pan) as gifts. The bun is crispy on the outside with a soft inside full of sweet red bean paste. They have other well-known items such as the pollock roe baguette. If time allows, check out Sungsimdang Boutique, a separate location, which specializes in cakes and tea.

    Location: 15 Daejong-ro 480 beon-gil, Jung-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 8 am to 10.30 pm, Friday–Sunday from 8 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +82 (0)42-256-4114


    photo by Trainholic (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

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