I always get excited when I try new dishes from different regions of Korea, especially dishes that I’ve never heard of before. So, when I traveled to Daegu and heard about their local specialty called Ddaro Gukbap 따로국밥, my curiosity was stoked and immediately began my search for the most reputable restaurant serving this unique soup.
Since 1946, Gukil Ddaro Gukbap has been serving this spicy beefy soup that’s similar to yukgaejang (spicy beef soup) minus the long strips of shredded meat, gosari (fernbrake), and sprouts. In place of those ingredients, this comforting version includes chunks of leeks, radish, and seonji (coagulate blood), topped with fresh chives and minced garlic. Overall, it’s a refreshing soup that really fills you up and feels healthy to eat — supposedly full of protein, calcium, iron, and other nutrients. Surprisingly, even the seonji was good, tasting somewhat gelatinous yet firmer than previous ones that I’ve had. I can understand why this seemingly simple soup would appeal to many people, especially the older crowd who yearn for foods from their childhood. If Seoul ever carried this option, I could find myself eating this as a regular meal, especially in the colder months.
According to different articles, yangban (the upper-class; aristocrats) ate the soup and rice separately (따로 means separate), not mixed together. This was to maintain the integrity of the rich beef broth, which was usually cooked a minimum of ten hours using beef bones and different cuts of meat. Interestingly, the lower class (ie. commoners) ate the soup together (which makes sense in my book) because they didn’t have the refined palate of their aristocratic counterparts.
Food: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Gukil Ddaro Gukbap 국일따로국밥
Jeon-dong 7-1, Jung-gu, Daegu (대구 중구 전동 7-1)
Hours: Open 24 hours every day except major holidays
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/xNOGQkFL