Friday, July 22, 2016

It’s Festival Season! What to Eat at Your Next Daegu Festival

The start of summer signals the beginning of festival season in Daegu.  While most people attend festivals for the music, the atmosphere, the activities, or the culture, the best reason to attend is arguably the food.  From grilled meat on a stick, to stuffed squid, to cotton candy, a visit to one of Daegu’s many festivals is a mouth-watering culinary adventure.

For the Adventurous

Unsurprisingly, the best fair food in Korea is home-style Korean food.  If you’re looking for a quick bite on the go, stop by a vendor for a bowl of freshly cooked buttery squid (ojingeo), a plate of piping hot seared dumplings (mandu), or grab a stick of seasoned fish cakes (odeng) from a vat of boiling broth.  For those with more adventurous palates, try a bowl of beondegi, or silkworm larvae.  On the same cart, you’re most likely to also find the vendor selling cones of tiny marsh snails (daseulgi) eaten with a toothpick or simply bitten and sucked out of the shell. 

For an authentic Korean dining experience, pull up a plastic stool under a tented area, or pojangmacha, and order from a small menu of made-to-order Korean dishes.  Here you can find spicy soups, crispy seafood pancakes (pajeon), thick slabs of rotisserie roasted pork, and large slices of stuffed boiled squid (ojingeo sundae).  Add a bottle of soju or a bowl of dongdongju, a milky rice liquor, to complement your meal. 

For the Traditionalist

If your idea of festival cuisine involves foods that have been deep fried, roasted, or grilled on a stick then you’ll love the wide assortment of options that can be found in Daegu’s festival food scene. You can find a million different variations of sausage on a stick: plain, doused with special sauces, battered and fried, and even battered and coated with sugar! 

Korean versions of traditional fair food items such as corn on the cob, roasted chestnuts, crispy fried chicken bites, gyros, french fries, teriyaki chicken, and cotton candy can be found at most every festival.  For those still new to Korean cuisine or for those craving a taste of home, there’s plenty of familiar food items to choose from.

For the Sweet Tooth

When you’ve had your fill of fried foods on a stick, satisfy your sweet tooth cravings with some Korean favorites like rice cakes (tteok).  These mochi-like rice cakes are lightly sweetened and served in an array of colors, flavors, and fillings.  Fill a bag with pay-by-the-kilo chewy wafer cookies, fried ribbon cookies, honey cookies, puffed rice cakes, and chewy gummy candies to munch on as you enjoy the festival’s activities.  Pair your treats with a slushed ice drink, some alcoholic, or maybe just a hot cup of coffee.  Of course, no trip to any festival is complete without ice cream!  End your culinary adventure on a sweet note with Turkish ice cream, liquid nitrogen frozen ice cream, gelato, or a tall swirl of soft serve ice cream served in a j-shaped cone. 

Whether you enjoy trying new Korean dishes or are more at home with popcorn and cotton candy, there is something to satisfy every palate. 

Are you a traditionalist, adventurous, a sweet tooth, or a little bit of each?  What are your favorite festival foods in Daegu?  Leave a comment and let us know!

**To visit Veronika’s personal blog,click here.**

CHIMAC Festival (Chicken and Beer festival) and Slide the City!

Too hot in Daegu? Have you heard of the chicken and beer festival or Chimac Festival?  
Well it is going to start on the 27th until the 31st with awesome food everywhere with beer all around. If you like chicken and like beer it is a festival you can't miss, it will go on for 4 days so bring your friends, family or date and have fun.
Photo: Slide The City Korea
Slide the city which started in the USA is 330 m long and in the middle of the city, it has been spread throughout the world since then in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Canada, UK and 30 more countries.
Photo: Slide The City Korea
This world record breaking slide the city water slide is coming to Daegu to cool us down and so we can enjoy an awesome Daegu summer. With the Chimac festival support the tickets for the slide is super cheap and with one ticket you can ride it 3 times.

During the Chimac festival, there will be free markets, chicken run game, DIY chicken making, EDM parties and more attractions to keep you entertained.

Check the map below for an idea where it is or type in 두류공원 (Duryu Park) in Google maps for more info.

To purchase tickets, visit Slide the City KOREA

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

All Alone On Biseulsan

A few weeks ago I took advantage of a fortunate gap in my work schedule to head down to Biseulsan in the far south of Daegu. I was just looking for something to do and maybe a chance to get some Daegu City Stamp Trail stamps. But I lucked into what turned out to be a rare, surprisingly pleasant day. It just unrolled that way, and I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried. I’ll try to relay some of the highlights.

It started in the morning at Dongdaegu Station as I boarded the Daegu City Tour Bus for its Biseulsan Course. It runs only on Tuesdays and Fridays, but as I said, a window opened in my work schedule, and I seized upon the chance to take the bus tour. The bus went to Dodong-seowon first, then skipped the Daegu National Science Museum on a whim, disappointing several passengers. But the upside was that we’d be spending more time at Biseulsan, the last stop, so okay.
So first things first, the bus stopped near some trail heads at the base of Biseulsan, and nearby was a little restaurant. It was around lunchtime, so I went into one for a bite to eat. Their specialty was cheonggukjang (청국장) with a variety of veggie side dishes (반찬) and rice. Cheonggukjang is a stinkier but tastier cousin of doenjang (된장) – weapons-grade doenjang, basically. But I love it, and I love side dishes too, so I applauded my luck at finding this place.

And they had a nice little doggie outside.
Directly behind the restaurant, terraced rice fields went down Biseulsan’s slopes like muddy stairs. I stood and watched a farmer walk along the narrow edges of each paddy. Flooding rice paddies to make the rice grow makes no sense to me and seems fascinatingly difficult, and I wanted to pick his brain. But he seemed to have his hands full, so I turned toward Biseulsan.
The other passengers on the tour bus, decked out in neon hiking garb, piled into an electric-powered shuttle bus which took them directly to the top of the mountain. Full of cheonggukjang and rice, I declined the opportunity to join them, keeping the 8,000-won fee and going off in a contrary direction. I wanted to go to the park administration office and get my stamp.
And I got the stamp after a 20-minute walk up and down some hills. I had the road to myself, as it is closed to most traffic and it was Tuesday anyway. I took my time, stopping to admire the azaleas, Biseulsan’s most famous attraction, and the bees hard at work collecting nectar.
And then the day’s charms really blossomed. Now, I’m a nice guy and I enjoy living in cities. But I was raised in the countryside, in the hills of West Virginia. I thrill to find myself alone in the thick of rustling trees and birdsong; it’s my native habitat. And Biseulsan happily obliged!

I saw a couple of workers at the administration office, but after that I didn’t see a soul for over an hour, which in Korea is quite a rarity even in a large mountain park (or especially in a large mountain park!). It was just me, countless magpies and cuckoo birds and woodpeckers, and the most wonderfully landscaped footpaths I’ve seen in this area.
Actually, I came to this very part of Biseulsan years ago, when I first arrived in Daegu and worked at a small elementary in nearby Bansong-ri. The school was small (35 students in all – yes, total), so the school took frequent trips to Biseulsan just because. The valley would be alive with kids chattering and running around, and it was very nice then too. I never imagine I would have the run of the place all to myself! What a difference!
A stream flows down along the footpath, and along its course are tables for picnics and a maybe a nap. But the afternoon was a bit hot for mid-spring, and I was wearing plastic sandals anyway, so naturally I kicked off the sandals and walked right in. There was a plastic water bottle caught in a small whirlpool. It was the only piece of trash I had seen there, and I felt inclined to go get it. And I wanted to torment the minnows darting about.
Time was running out and I had to walk back to the parking lot, so reluctantly I had to go back. But something caught my eye, and I had to detour slightly to check it out. It was just a temple, not terribly different from any other you’re likely to see in Korea. But I was in a whimsical mood, so I figured why not have a look.

I tend to tip-toe a bit when I go to a temple; it’s my way of being deferential in such an austere place, I guess. But as I went across the grass among the buildings I came to notice there were no people. Anywhere. Inside or out. The doors of the temple and its shrines were thoughtfully left open, but I didn’t hear a single peep from anyone. Except the birds, of course. Another rarity! A colorful, serene temple all to myself. Lucky guy, I thought. I snooped around for about 20 minutes before prying myself away to catch the bus.
There’s no way to guarantee you would have the same good fortune as I had on my trip to Biseulsan. It was an odd stroke of luck, I think, and I’m certainly aware of the fact. It was such a great day, full of pleasant and natural beauty.

But certainly make an effort to visit Biseulsan when and if you can. It’s not as frequented as Apsan or as popular as Palgongsan, but anyone willing to make the trip all the way down there will find that that is the key to its charm.

The easiest way to Biseulsan is to take the City Tour Bus, as I did. It only goes to Biseulsan on Tuesdays and Fridays, but for 5,000 won the ticket is worth the speed and convenience! Otherwise, there are a few city buses to take (the 600, and a couple of rapid buses), but they take literally hours in some cases. Of course, driving there is always possible.

And if you’re up to it, hike your way back from Biseulsan to Apsan. It’s only about 22km and 8 or 10 hours of hiking! I did it once, and it was great, but never again!

Textile Museum in Daegu is showcasing Textifood!

Ever thought when you look at a fruit or a piece of food and think, that will look good on me? Maybe I'm just weird but there is a exhibit on 'Textifood', basically food made into clothes. There are so many awesome things they are showing and I hope you go and check it out.

From refined fruit leaves made into pillows all the way over to dresses made out of stuff I can't even spell. I think this will make you look at food a little differently and maybe something of the future? The exhibit was originally made for a more eco-friendly world to stray away from materials that are harming our world and start using things that we might not even use and just throw away.
To celebrate Korea and France's 130th Diplomatic Friendship, they brought this display from France to Italy Milano at the world expo and now here in Daegu. Check this awesome exhibit which doesn't come by so often, it could be the new fashion of tomorrow who knows, and I suggest you be the first to check it out.

 If you want to look more into it, go to the link below for more information. 

DTC Textile Museum:

Open hours: 9 am until 6 pm  (Every Monday is closed.)

This display is until July 31st 

Check the map below for an idea where it is and type in 대구 동구 팔공로 227 for more information on google maps

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Nampyeong-Moon Clan's Original Residence Area

Looking for some culture and history? Not too far away there is a place called the Nampyeong-Moon Clan's Original Residence Area. (남평 문씨 세거지)
This place is where the Moon clan made so that many generations to come could live here. As of now there are 9 houses and 2 pavilions and a wall that protects the area.
In this little town there is a building called the Subongjeongsa which is the main building located in the center of the entire area. It was used as a gathering place for the clan which has some beautiful gardens and was also used as a place of learning.

Another building the Insumungo which houses 10,000+ books and the clan treasures, started out as a small building and then renovated into a bigger building with an additional building to read books.
This place is such a beautiful place to just soak up culture and get lost in. If you want some amazing pictures in Korea or maybe want to go on a date this is your place :) I hope to see you there.

Check the map below for an idea where it is located and for detailed information type in (대구 달성군 화원읍 인흥3길 16) into google maps for more info.