Daegu in itself doesn’t really have much to offer. The reason I decided to stop by here was only because I had some time to kill before meeting up with my friend in Jeonju. On top of it, I managed to get a couchsurfer to host me for a few days. Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but for each country I visit, I try to stay with a local couchsurfer for a few days to get a grasp of every day life in their country. Since this was one of the last chances for me and she actually accepted, I didn’t mind going to Daegu just for that reason.
The only touristic thing I’ve managed to visit in Daegu was the famous Haeinsa temple, ,one of the Korea’s Three Jewel Temples and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Haeinsa houses the Tripitaka Korea, a copy of Buddhist scripture carved onto 81,258 printing blocks. I wish I could tell you more about the temple itself but once you’ve seen one, they pretty much look the same though. It was quite fascinating to see where they house the printing blocks.
No cameras were allowed so therefore, no pictures of them. The little trip up there was pretty nice itself. Additionally there many different hiking routes too surrounding the temple, I didn’t do any myself though but if I had more time or the need to hike, I would’ve done it for sure.
The best experience in Daegu was actually the couchsurfing experience. I sought out Yoon, who didn’t have any or much couchsurfing experience before and decided to give her a shot. She and her father picked me up at the metrostation and welcomed me into their home. Eventhoug they didn’t speak much English, we still managed to communicate a bit through photos and handgestures. What shocked me was that they actually kicked the little brother out of his room for me to sleep in. Horrible guest you must think, but in fact Koreans tend to sleep on the floor a lot and so did the brother, in the living room.
I’ve been to the Korean restaurants before and knew they prepared tons of side dishes with your meal, but little did I know that they did the same thing at home! I would be too lazy to prepare that many dishes, but they still did it. What I didn’t know was that they did prepare a lot of the dishes beforehand and just get them out of the freezer and what not when they actually needed it, but still you can’t be lazy when you’re cooking the Korean way. I actually mentioned to the mom that I was very fond of bibimbap (rice mixed with sorted vegetabls and other goodies). Next thing I know, the mom said she’ll make bibimbap for breakfast for us/me and started preparing the necessary ingredients. Mind you that, that night, she got home around 10pm, started up the grill for some Korean BBQ and started at around midnight. I think she was up till around 2am and got up around 7-ish. A-MA-ZING!
OH OH OH! Another thing, during the Korean BBQ, she even wrapped like 2 bites for me, not sure what they say, but I kind of felt honored to have the lady of the house wrap meat for me AND feeding it to me.
Yoon is a last year art student in university and still had to go to school, which means she didn’t have much time to show me around. On the last though she actually took me to her school where I attended a class of hers! First Korean educational experience! I was actually pretty nervous and dumbfounded since… I don’t speak any Korean, what if they point me out and ask me stuff or ask me who the hell I was. Since I do sorta stand out since I’m dark and the majority of the Koreans are white as day. Anywho, class went smoothly and off we went for school lunch. She introduced me some of her other classmates and they were pretty shy at first to speak English, but once we got more acquinted, they were more than eager to talk to me.
I’m really glad I got to meet up with Yoon and her family. Apparently it’s not that common that a Korean family would invite random strangers to their home, but I’m glad they did for sure!
As I met up with a friend from Seoul in Jeonju, I had no idea what there was to see (as usual). But according to my guide, Jeonju is famous for it’s bibimbap, which I LOVE. So it didn’t really matter if there was anything worth seeing, the food is a good enough reason for me to go!
Before I start with the food, Jeonju was also a place to see and visit a folk village. This village in itself was bigger than the one I visited in Andong, but for me it was less interesting since I just came back from Andong. But it still had a lot of charming little shops and tea houses. There are a couple of museums which tells you more about how they make makkeolli, a Korean based rice wine which is really popular with locals.
The good thing about my friend is that she actually knows some Korean, which makes it a LOT easier to order food and to top it off, she (of course) loves to eat and have heard of some good stuff around Jeonju for us to try out.
First up: bibimbap, the local specialty. I’ve tried bibimbap before in other “normal” restaurants and it was good, but the presentation was quite simple just like any other meal. But here in Jeonju they do spend some time on presenting the food. I picked a bibimbap on hot plate. As you can see on the picture, it looked quite stunning and let me tell you, it tasted super-delicious. Yes, I just added super to it. The side dishes were nothing but overwhelming either, as much as 11+ side dishes! GOD, I MISS THE FOOD NOW!
Next: Makkeoli. Makkeoli itself has a sort of milky consistence which is made out of rice. Many hikers actually bring this drink along their hikes, especially the elderly… When going to a makkeoli specific restaurant, all you do is order your amount of makkeoli and that’s it. The side dishes just come along with it and compared to the side dishes with a normal meal, the portions of these dishes are slightly bigger and more. On the picture you can see we got about 14+ side dishes of food along with our big kettle of makkeoli. Me and my friend weren’t big drinkers so sadly enough we didn’t even manage to finish it. However, we did finish the food though! Big up for that!
Last but not least: Fat pork! The idea is to wrap up the pork slices into the kimchi and add some other ingredients and wrap it up and chow it down. The meat itself was soooooo soft and nicely seasoned that you could just keep eating it. It may not look like a lot, but with the added kimchi and other side dishes, this managed to put both of us in a food coma.