Being the closest metropolitan city to my town in Korea, Daegu is a place I have visited numerous times over the years. It offers a refreshing variety of cuisines perfect for when you want a break from rural life, but don’t want to travel 3+ hours to a bigger city. Every time I visit Daegu, I make it a point to eat dishes I cannot find in my town.
I’ve compiled a list of my favourite brunch spots in Daegu as well as my favourite snack places – if you’re ever in Daegu, check them out!
1. Mansion 5 (맨션5)
The first is a place called ‘Mansion 5’. I stumbled upon this place on the recommendation of a friend. On the outside, the place is styled like a modern hanok, a traditional Korean house. What makes this place different than other hanok-shaped restaurants/cafes is the outdoor area at the front of the restaurant. Featuring limited seating with parasols and a beautiful garden, it’s wonderfully scenic!
Inside the restaurant, there’s additional seating with the option of opening the windowed sliding doors along the two walls facing the garden in the warmer seasons. As well as a list of salads, smoothie bowls, sandwiches, and other brunches not beginning with ‘S’, they also have some delicious baked goods to eat there or to go.
My all-time favourite dish here is the salmon and avocado salad bowl. It’s hearty goodness! Baby leaf salad, tangerines, olives, tomatoes, eggs, and salmon, topped with an avocado slice. It’s served with two sauces and a slice of toasted bread.
If you’re looking for something life-changing, this comes pretty close. It takes the casual brunch to a whole new level!
Another favourite of mine is the berry smoothie bowl. Not only is this smoothie bowl more photogenic than most people, it also tastes pretty good! It tastes so fresh you can almost believe they made it in front of you, while you were admiring the garden, passed out in the intense summer heat, or under a food-induced spell.
From taking the first obligatory ‘food porn’ picture, to tasting the dish, you’ll leave wondering if it was all a mirage. And isn’t that how we measure all good food – by the uncertainty between dreaming and reality? Check out their Instagram: @mansion5.
2. Aori Ramen (아오리라멘)
After my trip to Japan in January 2018, I found myself craving ramen, or at least the closest replica of Japanese ramen that I could find in Daegu.
There were a few restaurants in downtown Daegu to choose from and after reading the reviews and looking at the pictures, I decided to try a place called ‘Aori Ramen’.
On the outside, the restaurant is quite unassuming. The actual entrance is a plain door leading to a windowless hallway, with a set of stairs at the end. In the hallway are pictures of the menu and Japanese anime characters.
Upstairs, there’s a small waiting area overlooking the allocated rooms for customers. This place is quite popular, so don’t be surprised to find the queue making its way down the stairs. It’s well worth the wait!
Here, you can eat at your own personal booth, just like the solo-dining experiences in Japan.
What I love about here is that, much like Japan, on choosing the standard ramen dish, you can choose to beef up your order by adding additional ingredients or side dishes. I tend to go for double everything: pork, eggs, seaweed, green onions, bean sprouts – go double or go home!
The broth is delicious but the consistency is less thick and with more of a spicy kick to it than the traditional Japanese ramen. I especially love the salted boiled eggs, the seaweed, the beansprouts…OK, basically everything!
But what’s a meal without a drink to go with it? Whenever I visit Aori Ramen, I routinely order a particular lemonade-like soft drink to go along side my ramen.
In a glass bottle, this drink doesn’t look especially unique. Upon a closer look, you will notice a significant problem. There doesn’t seem to be a way to open the bottle. Twisting the top of the bottle does nothing. On the back of the bottle is instructions on how to open it, so no fear! The trick: press upon the raised circular piece of glass sitting snugly over the mouth of the bottle. Looking closely (once the plastic wrapping has been removed), you will notice there’s a thin groove deep in the neck of the bottle. After applying pressure to the mouth, a small glass ball will drop into the groove of the bottle. There’s no fear of suffocation (should the glass ball dislodge and fall into your throat as you drink) given the groove prevents the piece of glass from moving.
Admittedly, the first time I purchased this drink, I was so scared of accidentally shattering the bottle that I took it home before opening it!
3. Schoron (쇼롱)
This little gem is perfect for when you are craving a good, hearty brunch. Poached eggs, hollaindaise sauce, fresh crusty bread…OK, yes, I am describing Eggs Benedict and saying the name of the dish is obviously easier than explaining each component separately but forgive a foodie for their food nostalgia, hmm?
Schoron has a relatively minimalistic design and indeed, had I not been looking for it specifically, I could easily have walked right past it. Painted a slate-blue on the outside, there’s minimal signage advertising it as a restaurant. Inside follows pretty much the same colour scheme, slate-blue interspersed with white and black.
Not quite sold on it yet? Check out their glorious culinary delights on Instagram: @schoron.
4. Hi Thai (하이타이)
Taking 3rd place in my top Daegu brunches is a place called ‘Hi Thai’. As the name suggests, this place serves Thai cuisine. What the name doesn’t tell you is that it serves brunches so flavoursome, they’re enough to send you into a food coma. I’m talking curry which dances on your tongue, noodles you’ll wish stretched on forever, and don’t judge those spring rolls on their size – their compact shells pack a bunch of flavour!
The restaurant is pretty small, with only four tables inside. The staff have you covered, though – there’s seating outside while you wait!
My regular dish is the Thai green curry which is served in a decorated bowl along with rice. The rice is such a refreshing change from the Asian glutinous rice. Is it just me or does mixing the rice and sauce together make the whole dish somehow more delicious than keeping them separate? To finish it off, the whole thing is topped with fresh coriander leaves (optional).
But why stop there – make sure you try out the noodle and soup dishes. Or better yet, try them all! Check out their Facebook page: @hithai.
5. Farm Table (팜테이블)
Taking a step away from the brunch classics, here is one for the sugar-inclined. If fluffy pancakes with countless toppings is more your calling at brunch time, this is the place for you!
What makes this place especially good are the dutch pancakes served with a variety of toppings. Try as I might, I couldn’t finish my pancake, though I valiantly gave it my all!
Farm Table is situated in a beautiful open-plan room filled with natural lighting. The white walls and clutter-free decor make you feel cleansed even before the food arrives.
Take a look at their delicious brunches on Instagram: @farmtable.
6. Pan (판)
After only just recently being introduced to this place, Pan is quickly becoming one of my preferred places to grab a quick, satisfying brunch.
Although they have a multitude of dishes on their menu, I have chosen the same every single time. As well as an impressive collection of salads, rice dishes, and sandwiches, Pan also offers two types of scrumptious bao. The chicken bao covered in sweet curry sauce is to die for!
Keep an eye on their Instagram for posts to satisfy all of your foodie needs: @pan.
7. Black Taco & Grill (블랙타코앤 그릴)
I’ll be real – I haven’t really eaten Mexican food before, at least authentic Mexican food. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved the food I’ve eaten in England but I can’t attest to its authenticity. I saw this place when I researched different cuisines to try in Daegu. Browsing the pictures, I immediately knew what I was missing: chimichangas, quesadillas, and nachos.
The restaurant gives off a cool, laid-back, modern vibe with the charcoal grey exterior bordered by yellow windows. Inside, the open floor plan with dimmed lights continues the theme. I find it an enjoyable place to go with groups of people and spend a good few hours drinking and eating to your content.
I must say, my favourite meal here is the beef quesadillas. The chunks of beef are generous, the filling is delicious, and the portion size strays on the side of too much for one person – perfect. Along with the quesadillas is a fresh salad, a second salad with mango pieces, and some jalapeno slices.
With a group, the nachos platter is a must. Tortilla chips, chilli, vegetables, jalapenos, olives, cheese, and guacamole. The only criticism I could give is that I wish there was more chilli, but when has anyone ever said “no, thank you – that’s quite enough chilli for me?”. No one. Ever.
8. Desserts/snacks: Tarr Tarr (타르타르) and Gong Cha (공차)
Calling all the sweet tooth people! Here is something for you, and for anyone with room for dessert. Whenever I feel like a treat, I always end up going to ‘Tarr Tarr’. This place sells delicious aesthetically-pleasing tarts: fruit tarts, egg tarts, cheese tarts, chocolate tarts – you get the idea. I love it. The tarts are so beautifully decorated, it’s difficult not to buy them all at once.
My go-to is always a lemon tart. The tartness of the lemon filling with the thin crust pastry is a winning combination. Check out their company’s Instagram: @tarrtarr.
During summer, or whenever I skip brunch, I like to visit ‘Gong Cha’. ‘Gong Cha’ serves a variety of drinks but their most popular is bubble tea. What I like most about ordering bubble tea is the customer’s ability to customise drinks. Not only can you choose the flavour and toppings, you can also request how much sugar you would like by percentages, measuring from 0% to 100%.
It’s so convenient to be able to order a flavoursome drink while being able to reduce the sugar intake, and make bubble tea a slightly less cheeky treat! Check out their Instagram and website: @gongchaofficial @gongchakr.
Well, I hope after reading that you’re hungry (I certainly am!) and keen to venture out to some of these places if you ever get the chance to.