When you talk to travellers about what they enjoy in other countries it is almost a guarantee that most people will shout ‘FOOD’. Lee and I have lost many hours talking about food and even more hours stuffing our faces. So when I came to Korea I was a bit disappointed with the range of street food available.
Now I feel a disclaimer must be entered here. There is street food and it definitely feels that even in our two years in Korea there is twice as much street food as there use to be. It’s a growing industry. The most popular items you find are fish cake on a stick and tabokki (which is rice cakes in a spicy tomato sauce. Imagine Heinz spaghetti hoop sauce with a ton of chillies thrown in) but these are very much quick stops. A grab and go.
I always felt Korea was missing the outdoor drinking, street food experience. And then we found the bulgogi tents.
Basically hidden down an alley on the outskirts of the town centre is a row of market sellers. The sellers are the only people I’ve met in Korea that are trying to entice you in. Each tent is set up fairly similarly. You turn up, push your way through the crowds, pick a plastic table, take a seat on your plastic chairs and order from the simplest menu around.
The only things served here are udong (noodle soup) and bulgogi beef . You can order a small plate of bulgogi for 5000 won which is about enough for one hungry person or the 20,000 won plate which will feed a whole table. There is of course the obligatory beer and soju that can (and will) be ordered. The quantity of soju drunk here makes me easily believe it is the most drunk alcohol in the world.
I do have to tell you a secret, for me (and I am alone in this it seems) the food isn’t the reason I go. The udong is delicious but the bulgogi isn’t my favourite food. Lee on the other hand would kill a man for this stuff. This doesn’t matter though, the reason to go here is the atmosphere. Everyone is laughing, people are singing and everyone is friendly.
I love this place and I wish I could take all my friends there that aren’t in Korea. If this place existed near my university I don’t think I’d have ever left.
The last time we were there the place did erupt into a cowboy salon style fight. If you have lived or been to Korea you will know how strange this is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a slight disagreement in Korea let alone a fight. I realise this doesn’t sound like a selling point but it helps to show you what a interesting , special place this is in Korea. And it isn’t rough at all, this was just a funny oddity. On the same visit we were also offered free cake from a table of men celebrating their friends birthday.
How to get there (MAP)
To get to this place you can walk but we’ve never done that. We head to Jungangro subway station and jump in a taxi. Ask the taxi to take you to ‘북성로 불고기 or Buuk Sung Lo Bulgogi’ tents. It is quite famous with Korean people and they should know where to go. You will be dropped off opposite Daegu Bank. Cross the road and the alley with the tents on it is located to the right of the bank. There is another street with tents on but we are creatures of habit and always tend to go back to the lovely lady we were served by before.
.This place only takes cash , there is a Daegu bank up the road if you forget but it closes at 12pm.
.This place was invented for drinking games. Get those soju lids ready.
Have you been to the Bulgogi tents? What do you think? Where would you recommend going while travelling for a great night market experience?