Famous Makgeolli House

Dong-gok Drunken Rice
(동곡 막걸리)
near Su-seong Bridge, Daegu

The Good
+ Cheap, delicious Makgeolli 
+ Quality Anju
+ Quaint, local feeling
+ Near downtown, near art alley
The Bad  
- Not fancy
Best for: Rainy days, day-drinking, groups, vegetarians,
 pescatarians, proletarians

A great honor for Korean restaurants is to be known as a "mat-jip" (맛집).  This unofficial title translates directly to "flavor house," but has a much deeper meaning.  Such a title is reserved only for a select few restaurants, those that are popular, that have survived many years, that usually specialize in a specific dish, and generally do it better than elsewhere.

Here at Dong-Gok Drunken Rice, their specialty is Makgeolli, and common dishes that complement it.  These include Jeon (battered and fried vegetable "pancakes"), tofu & kimchi, and various seafoods.  [See below for translated menu and pics of recommended dishes.]

For \5,000, order a kettle of makgeolli, which equals two bottles or around eight bowl-fulls.  Especially when drunk from cold metals bowl such as these, makgeolli is extremely refreshing, possibly addicting to some.

As for the restaurant's name: "Dong-Gok," is a region in the southeastern corner of the country where this style of makgeolli originated; and "Drunken Rice" is another name for makgeolli, the winner of a contest held by the Korean Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to determine makgeolli's international name.  But with "Korean rice wine" being a clearer and more modest term, "drunken rice" never really stuck anywhere, except to the front of this building.

According to the Korean tradition of Anju (안주), alcohol should not be consumed by itself; it must be accompanied with food-- specific types of food depending on the type of alcohol.  So in the case of smooth and milky makgeolli, seafood and veggie dishes with milder flavors are most common. 

배추전 (bae-chu jeon) - Jeon are battered and fried "pancakes."  Bae-chu is Chinese cabbage, the same vegetable used for Kimchi.  Quality restaurants such as this one include egg in the Jeon batter.

[Easily learn how to make your own Jeon]
빈대떡 (Bin-dae-tteok) - Bindaetteok are another style of fried "pancakes."  They are made of ground mung beans (녹두), peppers and onions.  This place also mixes in some pork.

삶은오징어 (sal-meun O-jing-ah) - 'Salmeun' means boiled.  In the case of squid, or Ojingah, it's boiled for only 10-20 seconds to maintain tenderness.  Dipped in pepper-paste with vinegar (초장), makes a tasty Anju.

Dong-gok Drunken Rice - Menu
1. Three meal combo - pork, fish (skate), kimchi
2. Raw fish (flounder)
3. Fried marinated squid
4. Pork spicy soup
5. Large octopus
6. Fish-cake soup
7. Pigskin
8. Fried fish (croaker)
9. Fried fish (tiny, with bones)
10. Fried fish (mackerel)
11. Dried fish (croaker) "pancake"
12. Garlic chives "pancake"
13. *Cabbage "pancake"
14. Spring onion "pancake"
15. *Mung bean "pancake"
16. Tofu & kimchi
17. *Boiled squid
18. Chicken feet
19. Egg & cheese roll
* Dishes pictured above.
--Check out my page on how to order in Korean--

Side dishes include kimchi, anchovies (멸치), silkworm larvae (번데기), carrots (당근) and dried perilla seeds (들깨).  The friendly Ajumma told us to grab a carrot, dip it in your makgeolli, then dip it in the dried seeds.

Atmosphere: Dongguk Drunken Rice is a quaint little place with a warm and friendly feeling.  There are about 10 tables inside and 6 more in the backyard.  It's a well-known 맛집 with a long history.  So there are a steady stream of patrons, especially on weekends and rainy days.

The lady proudly showed off her wall of fame, which included newspaper articles and memorabilia of her and her restaurant.  She also showed off some notable signatures on her wall, including a North Korean (pictured above fan), some Japs, and other foreigners.  We had to leave our mark as well (pictured above TV).

Location: Dong-gok Drunken Rice is located in Bangcheon Market (방천 시장), a small market east/southeast of downtown, just before Suseong Bridge (수성교).  By subway, take the green line (line #1) to Kyungpook University Hospital Station (경대병완역).  Go out exit #3 and walk straight a few minutes.  You'll see the yellow storefront on your right.

The Address is: 대구광역시 중구 대봉1동 12-7
See map

It's also right around the corner from Kim Gwang-Suk Alley (김광석 골목), a long walkway of paintings and sculptures dedicated to the late guitarist.  The Alley is definitely worth taking a several-minute stroll.  Also located nearby is the DIY bibimbap place we've checked out a while back.

[The nearby 'Kim Kwang-Seok Alley' can be seen via Safpics...master of the Korean pic blogs.]

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