Sunday, April 29, 2012

Daegu Restaurant Review – 소담정 (Soh-Dahm Jung)

Continued from here.

After a few minutes of walking around the lake, we headed to the restaurant called 소담정 (Pronounced as "Soh-Dahm Jung"), well known for Korean medicinal cuisine. Yak Sun (약선) or Food therapy is based on oriental medical theories to promote well being and prevention of diseases.

You are here...

Most food was catered to suit one’s physical condition and many of the restaurant’s orders came from hospital patients craving for healthy meals.

Side dishes for the rice wrapped in lotus leaf

When we first arrived there, we were served with a few plates of appetizers. To be honest, I expected a decent tummy filling meal because I did not have my breakfast yet. The appetizers all came in small portion for a table of four people.

The food (Check the ratings below) - Colorful huh?

The best - Fried fish with soy sauce! 

After the appetizers, individual dishes were brought out to be served. The meatballs were good – not too sweet and they were so chewy (Rating 3.5/5), fried fish (It reminded me of home because the fish was perfectly cooked unlike in most places I had tried – 4.5/5), roasted duck (so-so, there are better places for it – 3/5)... 

There was also the mushroom, dried orange with slices of garlic/bamboo shoot dish (OMG, my mouth! I hate raw garlic/bamboo shoot! I don’t eat them! 1.5/5) and common Korean side dishes (반찬) such as Kimchis, seaweed, etc. 

The last individual dishes served for lunch were the beef slices with tteok or rice cake (Rating – 3/5), Korean jelly (2.5/5) and the rice wrapped in lotus leaf (Soft, smells good – 3.5/5)

The persimmom-shaped tteok! 

Anyway, I am very strict with the rating so a low rating does not means the food is so bad. The most unique dish was the tteok that looked like dried persimmons (Rating of 3/5 for its uniqueness). Finally, we finished our lunch with a toast of Korean Ginseng tea (a 3.5/5!)

Good till the very last..

The end.

After lunch, we had the tea ceremony. We were taught how to bow in a Korean traditional way before the tea was served to everyone. It was quite interesting to know the complicating steps in preparing a cup of tea. It was not easy either for the tea presenter because everyone looked forward more to drinking tea than learning about the culture and manners.

I was more interested in learning about the types of teas, the most expensive tea, history of tea and the medicinal purposes of tea. The Korean tea history began in Year 828 when the Korean King asked his subjects to plant the tea around Sangye Temple and Haem Temple (Hopefully they are correct). Tea from Korea originated in China.

Snacks for tea time - a requirement.

During the Shila Dynasty, two princes ordered 10,000 people to plant tea and to drink it. To cut the tale short, the rest as they say is history. Tea has 5 tastes. The bitter taste means it’s good for digestion and it has important role in making the “taste” of tea. Spicy flavor in tea is good for the lungs, sour taste means lots of Vitamin C and it is also good for the heart, salty is good for the spleen and the sweet taste of tea is for relaxation.

When preparing tea, the most important criterias are the warmth of the tea cups and water. Tea pots and cups must be warmed in advance before the tea leaves were added and when pouring the water, there must be a sound.

Daegu Social Media Team (I am not in the picture).

Restaurant Business card (In Korean).

Getting there? (Click on it for higher resolution)

The lady who prepared our Korean meal. 

According to the tea presenter, ginger tea is good during cold weather and green tea is best selected as an ideal drink in hot weather. The restaurant provides tea drinking session and it is best to book beforehand to check the availability of tea session.

Why Daegu - Su Seong Lake, what?

When people travel, it is usually more important to visit all the places of interest than to try and taste all the local food. In my case, I would rather taste the local food more than visiting places of interest. Daegu is still unknown to most people outside Korea. Although Daegu is the third largest city in Korea, many people still prefer to visit Seoul or/and Busan.

Around 국채보상공원 (National Debt Repayment Park) near the Lotte Cinema

In Daegu, the best place to eat is still everywhere. Daegu is a conservative city and during the recent Korean election, the conservative party (or the Saenuri Party of Korea) won the election here, so do not expect many liberal people living here. Nevertheless, Daegu with the slow pace of modernity is the best place to try Korean food. 

One of the wealthy areas in Daegu (like the Gangnam region in Seoul) is the Su Seong region. The main attraction of this place is the high end restaurants around the area surrounding a man-made lake. The restaurants are of upwards 30 USD for a simple decent meal and most ordinary people from Daegu do not go there to dine. 

Around the area, there are lots of good restaurants, coffee shops, nice houses and even a small amusement park. Nevertheless, the centre of attraction for most people is still the lake.

Unbreakable devotion. Hoot~!

Where's my saw? Itchy hands... ^^

A brief history - Su Seong Lake was constructed during the Joseon Dynasty for agricultural purpose but during the Japanese occupation, it was furthered repaired after years of neglect. Now there are trails and health facilities available for the people and during May to October (at between 8 and 9 pm everyday), there would be a light fountain show for around 30 minutes.

Around Su Seong Lake (수성못).

Su Seong Lake at night. (Source: Daegu City Website

Getting there: Take bus number 403 to Suseong (수성못) from the downtown (I took this bus from National Debt Repayment Park - Check above). Look for the bus route at the bus stop for more confirmation.

Take Bus 403 there

The lake is also just beside the Deurangil (들안길), a 2.3km-long street famous for its high end restaurants. Among them is the Denbachi restaurant, this is the place to enjoy the scenic view of the lake while eating food cooked by renown chefs. However, it is very expensive to eat there.

In my next post, I would be writing about my review of a nice little restaurant visited by me. This restaurant is located a walking distance from the Su Seong Lake. Do check out for more coming soon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

After exam blues.

Exams can do wonders. It makes you busy, it makes you sleepless and full of stress. Life until now was so hectic. It served as a perfect distraction for me to focus on my academic priorities in this busy semester. 

These days, I think something is going wrong with me. Is it normal to be a little upset and pissed off when receiving late replies or no reply? Dang. I felt only some girls do feel these way. Just kidding lah. I shouldn't be like that. Ain't life beautiful?

This is a small change in me that I dislike since coming to Korea. Must not act this way. Must change!  Is it  also because of my lack of sleep? Anyway, I think I have becoming better in certain ways since coming to Korea.  

I felt I am more socially adept than I was back in my high school years. I believe having more freedom in my life plays a huge role in this. With the right attitude, humor and a charming smile (Hihi), they do work wonders on people. :)

What would it like if I am just an average student, no ambitions, no affiliations and no perseverance. Would I be a different person? 

Personally, I think I am also an average guy because there are always people better than the rest of us. Everyone can be successful if they can dream, work a little harder and never give up.

At the Library, where are yoooouuu?


Now is spring in Korea but the weather in Daegu is more like of summer. Flowers are blooming, new friends to meet, birds building nest and great weather all day round. Despite all this, it still rains periodically, cherry blossoms are now wilting and distance from home/piping hot Malaysian food reining supreme in my mind. Sigh.


It'll wake you up - tongue burning is the side effect.

My next post will be about a good restaurant in Daegu. Do check it out if you are around here and hope to see you in Daegu, the city where only Korean knows about its existence. Now you know Daegu!    


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

2012: Scent of Spring

is beautiful,
Live life the way the living ought to be

Spring, Daegu, Korea

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"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning" ~Winston Churchill~