Puffer Fish

Misung Puffer Fish Bulgogi
(미성복어 불고기)
Su-seong Gu, Daegu
The GoodTasty puffer fish
   + That statistically shouldn't kill you
Sauce mastery
Large building with unlimited seating
+ Historic reputation
The Bad   Understandably pricey
Inconvenient location
Best for: Groups, drinking, trying a new fish

"Poison...poison...tasty fish!"  Remember that classic Simpsons episode where Homer faces certain death after eating a mis-prepared puffer fish?  Well, at Misung you too can experience the thrill of this perilous platter.

Fortunately, the chefs here are more qualified than cartoon characters-- all have their puffer fish licences (복어조리자격증).  Also, they import certain species of puffer fish (청복어 and 밀복어) that produce less of the deadly tetrodotoxin, which the chefs carefully remove nonetheless. According to the reliable dude behind the counter, not a single soul has perished from puffer fish in the restaurant's long history.

Reassuring perhaps, but there must be something interesting to say about a place that's been serving potential poison for the past 36 years. Especially since it is one of Suseong Gu's officially designated (수성구청지정) "high quality restaurants" (명품음식점). Let's investigate.

Well, according to math, that giant "30 Year Anniversary" sign on the storefront is 6 years old.... Gahh, boring math. 

What else? Let's ask the Ajumma waitresses.  They seem very friendly and so far have been forthcoming with company secrets.  For instance,  we've learned a tidbit about the "100% homegrown bean sprouts" slogan plastered so proudly on the walls and menus.  She said they're grown by three men in the basement.

Here's another fun fact courtesy of the waitress: the secret ingredients to their delicious dip are soy sauce, vinegar and wasabi.

But what of the main course, this so-called fish that puffs?  Its remarkable taste and texture has led me to believe it's not actually fish, but some rare species of sea chicken.   Slathered in its satisfyingly spicy sauce, it hardly seems seaborne at all.

Here's how to order.

1)  From the top menu section choose a style of their specialty dish, Pufferfish Bulgogi (복어불고기).  Prices are per serving:

  • 콩나물 복어불고기 - \12,000 - with bean sprouts
  • 새송이 복어불고기 - \14,000 -  mushrooms
  • (New) 부추 복어불고기 - \14,000 - leeks
  • 모듬 복어불고기 (새송이, 느타리, 콩나물) -\16,000 - combo (mushrooms, more mushrooms, bean sprouts)
  • 청복 모듬 복어불고기 - \19,000 - special type of "blue" puffer fish, plus combo
  • 전복 모듬 복어불고기 - \22,000 - abalone, plus combo

2) The section below lists add-ons (추가):

  • 콩나물 - \3,000 - more bean sprouts
  • 당면 - \3,000 - vermichelli noodles
  • 부추 - \3,000 - leeks
  • 버섯 (새송이, 느타리) - \5,000 - mushrooms (2 types)
  • 전복 - \9,000 - abalone
  • 공기밥 / 볶음밥 - \1,000/2,000 - bowl of rice separate / fried rice mixed in

If still hungry nearing completion of your bulgogi, order some fried rice (볶음밥) to prolong the delicious sauce.

3) The next section includes appetizers such as deep fried foods (튀김), know as "tempura" to Japs.

  • 껍질무침 - \12,000/15,000 - skin and veggies
  • 복어튀김 - \20,000/30,000 - deep fried puffer fish, small/large
  • 청복어 튀김 - \30,000 - deep fried "blue" puffer fish
  • 불고기양념애 찍어 먹는 오징어 튀김 - \6,000 - deep fried squid dipped in sauce

The deep-fried puffer fish (복어튀김) makes an excellent starter.  Sample the pure flavor unaltered by sauce.

In total we had two servings of the bean-sprout puffer fish bulgogi (콩나물 복어불고기), with leeks for add-ons (부추 추가), with fried rice mixed in later (볶음밥), and a small order of deep-fried puffer fish (복어튀김) for an appetizer.

Is it "10% off" if you pay with cash or "10% on" if you pay with card?
This was plenty enough for three people.  The price here, just under \20,000 per person with alcohol, may be slightly higher than other Korean foods.  But considering the delicacy served it's understandable.  Otherwise there is zero to complain about and I can highly recommend each thing we tried.   Don't pass on the puff.

To protect the privacy of patrons and the legality of this publication, those present were allocated facial anti-recognition devices.


Misung is located in the southern  Suseong-Gu, just north of Suseong Lake (수성못).  It's far from any subway lines, so the easiest way is to give the following address to a cabbie or a GPS.  Or just follow the caravan of Japanese delivery trucks with hazmat logos.

The Address is:  
대구광역시 수성구 상동 12-7
See map

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