I ventured out “on the economy” in search of some mandu for dinner. Not knowing much Korean – or Hangul for that matter – I set out along one of the main streets in Daegu, assuming that I would find a variety of restaurants along it.
I assumed correctly, but I was searching for a restaurant specializing in a particular dish, so I ended up walking nearly 8 km there and back. Along the way I noticed that Korean shops tended to be grouped together. One block was nothing but music shops – I counted seventeen in a row, and then two others a little farther along.
After the music shop block came the pet stores, which I identified by their familiar scent (wet dog; it had been raining). Half a dozen storefronts displayed animals – mostly puppies, like this one, though I saw a few birds and some rabbits.
Finally I happened upon exactly what I had been searching for: a mandu restaurant. For those unfamiliar with this dish, mandu are Korean dumplings that are somewhat larger than tortelloni, and are filled with meat and some vegetables. Mandu come in many varieties: boiled (mulmandu, or 물만두), steamed (jjinmandu, or 찐만두), and fried (gunmandu, or 군만두) are the most common.
I ordered a plate of jjinmandu and another of gunmandu by the rather expedient method of pointing at their pictures, conveniently displayed on the wall along with their prices (3500 and 1000 won respectively, totaling just over $4). The two dishes came with a side of brilliant yellow sliced radishes and a soy-based dipping sauce for the mandu.
My broken Korean was just enough to ask for water (“Mul, juseyo”), thank the proprietor, and pronounce my meal delicious (“Ikeo masisseoyo!”).