Baby Octopus

Hee-Ya's Grill: Baby Octopus & Mung Bean Pancakes
(희야네석쇠쭈꾸미 & 빈대떡)
Downtown, Daegu

Pros+ Unique seafood place
+ Addicting and healthy grilled Octopus
+ Customize spiciness and crispiness
+ Great downtown location
+ Explosive popularity
Cons   - So expect to wait for a table
- Alcohol is 4,000krw
- Relatively pricey meal
Best for: Small groups, dates, off-peak hours, spicy/seafood lovers

From the depths of Busan comes Hee-Ya's Grill, making some serious waves in Daegu.  Two months ago it commandeered the prime real estate formerly held by Banyawol Makchang's downtown branch.  While Daegu's beloved pig-rectum will be missed, a worthy restaurant has taken its place.

Main Dish
Hee-Ya's specialty is Jju-ggu-mi (쭈꾸미), which is a small species of octopus (not actually babies), a size or two down from the more famous San-nak-ji.  They are marinated, grilled and dipped in mayonnaise. 

To order, choose your level of marinade flavor:
  1. Mae-oon mat (매운맛) - Spicy.  Very very spicy.
  2. Bo-tong mat (보통맛) - Average Joes.
  3. Soon-han mat (순한맛) - Don't go wild, keep it mild.
We ordered #1.  The spiciness was unbearable for the weakest link of our party, although most of us enjoyed it.  When ordering (see menu below), there's a 2-serving minimum, so if you'd like to order multiple spiciness levels you'll probably need at least 2 servings of each.

[See page on ordering in Korean]

You can eat them immediately upon serving (they are pre-boiled) if you prefer them mushy.  Or grill them longer for crispiness and charred sauce.  

The recommended method, according to a poster, is wrapping the Jju-ggu-mi in a sesame leaf (깻잎) along with mayonnaise (마요네즈), bean sprouts (콩나물), garlic (마늘) and lettuce (양배추).

Also according to a poster (not pictured here), are all the alleged health benefits of these octopus.  The four categories are:
  1. Diet - Octopii are low fat, low calories and high in amino acids
  2. Recovery - They contain taurin, which detoxifies the liver, lowers cholesterol and repairs muscles. [Allegedly]
  3. Brain - They provide "eum" (음), whatever that means.  Apparently I haven't eaten enough.
  4. Anemia - Pump some iron!

Other Dishes
Hee-Ya's has a few other options,  See the translated menu at bottom

Their secondary specialty is Bin-dae-dduk (빈대떡), or fried mung-bean pancakes.  Seems like a random counterpart to spicy octopus, but still tasty and worth a shot.  Sorry vegetarians, they contain pork.

Try some flavored makgeolli, such as chestnut (밤) and corn (옥수수).

The "shrimp salted and grilled" (새우소금구이) are dry and mediocre compared to their other dishes.  I'd rather have a few at Clam BBQ around the corner.  

Waiters will bring your first round of sides, then it's self service.

Despite squeezing in about 30 tables, finding one open can be difficult without a long wait.  The photo below was taken on a lucky Tuesday.  On another occasion we snuck in around 7pm on a Friday.  But within an hour there were crowds of impatient people packed in the doorway.

Hee-Ya's interior is clean and modern.  Despite being crowded, noise levels never seem high.  The place must have great acoustics.  Either that, or everyone's voices are muffled by baby octopus heads.

Or patrons just aren't drinking too heavily.  At 4,000krw per bottle, and with the temptation to sample their variety, alcohol can really rack up the bill. 

Hee-Ya's is downtown, just around the corner from Samduk Fire Station (삼덕소방서), in the store that used to be Banyawol Makchang.

The Address is: 대구광역시 중구 삼덕동1가 62-1
Open Naver map


Octopus (spicy, medium, mild) 2 serving min  
Octopus Seafood Stew
Octopus and stir-fried rice (2-serving min)
Mung-bean Pancake
Shrimp, salted and fried
Ramen Noodle                                      
Order of Rice
Soft Drink


  1. Checked this place out tonight after putting it off for weeks. It wasnt bad, but a bit expensive for the product. We ordered the "spicy" variety, which of course even though I ordered it in what is VERY passable Korean, had the obligitory "confirm" with my Korean partner from the wait staff (as in, does this silly foreigner know this is spicy?") It wasnt all that spicy and i left thinking they didnt give us the "spicy" variety because I was a foreigner. :(

    Other than that and the price, (2인분 is 20,000won...but i can buy the same 12 jukkumi from the store for 2, basically there is 18,000 won markup for simply sauce and a fire to hover it over in the kitchen, which had us both thinking we need to open a jjukkumi restaurant) the only other thing I could mention was my disappointment at the fact that they only had perilla leaves for the ssam (깻입) I love to wrap my stuff up, but they had no option other than the perilla leaf. We both left thinking that the "spicy jjukkumi" place that we found behind banyawol station was much better. Check that place out if you like jjukkumi~

  2. We've also noticed it wasn't very spicy, but I think that's just how they do it, maybe hoping the moderation will bring them wider appeal. Also, the restaurant is from Busan, which I isn't up to par with Daegu spicy. But yea, the waiter ignoring the white person's order (in Korean) to check with the asian-looking person, that really bothers the hell out of me too. Happens pretty much anywhere though.

    Agreed it is a bit pricey when you look at it that way. I'll add that to the Cons.

    Appreciate the feedback, and I'll have to check out the place in Banyawol for sure.