Monday, March 30, 2015

[living/Press article] Have a rest time at historical & unique place, 'Samduck Tea House'


Daegu has numerous themed streets, which group similar things together in one area for the convenience of residents of the city. Of all the themed—like herb medicine street, culture street, etc.—why would you ever want to go to one called “industrial tool street”? Let me give you two reasons, neither involving power tools: the street is home to a parking lot full of beautiful murals as well as a lovely tea house.

First off, where the heck is this random street? Bukseong Industrial Tools Street is relatively close to downtown, just between Jungangno and Daegu Station on the subway. Go out exit 4 of Jungangno Station and walk straight for about five minutes. Bukseong Industrial Tools Street will be your second left. From Daegu Station, go out of the exit 1 or 2 so that you are standing in front of the Lotte Department Store and train station section of Daegu Station. There will be a large building across the street from Lotte to your left. That is the Daegu Civic Center. Cross the street once so that you are standing in front of, and on the same side of the road as, the Civic Center. Then cross the street to your left and continue walking down that road for 2 minutes. Industrial Tool Street will be on your first right. Additionally, you can take the 706, 730, Rapid Line 2, 410-1, 704, 303-1, 349, 503, 623, Donggu 1-1, Bukgu 2, and 202, headed in the direction of Banwoldang, to the bus stop called “Gyeongsang-Gamyeong Park.” Get off the bus and go to your right. Industrial Tools Street will be the first street on your left.

Just two minutes down the street on your right there will be a small parking lot. It would be completely unassuming except for the fact that all the walls of the outdoor parking lot are covered in beautiful, large murals. If you are an art appreciator, it is definitely worth taking a little trip to check these out (stop by on the way to nearby Daegu Art Factory). All the murals depict different images and are very stylistically different, so it is clear that there were many artists involved. The artists’ faces are painted on one of the interior walls of the lot. Make sure to actually walk into the parking lot because there are murals on walls you can’t see when you’re standing outside. The largest mural at the entrance to the parking lot features a large, white elk standing on the moon. The background is black with beautiful rainbow colors running behind the elk. Another has a chicken pecking at a pile of old cell phones. The word “Wonderful” is colorfully painted on the back wall of the lot. There isn’t, at least in English, an explanation as to why the murals are in this lot, but they are lovely to look at still; a little bit of beauty in an otherwise undeveloped part of town.

Bukseong Street is quite old, and, unlike most of these old streets, it hasn’t been changed much in the years since Japanese occupation. Walking along the street, you may get the feeling that you’ve gone back in time. There aren’t any big buildings or chain stores. It is definitely not as bustling as the major streets nearby. But just a few minutes further down the street and on your left, you will get to a coffee shop and tea house that has preserved history in a really interesting way. Samduck is built inside of a Japanese-style building that is a remnant of Japanese occupation. There aren’t many of these buildings left, probably due to Korean sentiment toward the occupation, so Samduck boasts a really unique ambiance.

The exterior of the shop is white with light wood details. Because of the history of the building, Samduck sells postcards with pictures of the exterior.  Once inside, watch your step because you have to step up to order from the counter at the center of the first floor of the building. The counter and staff area are like their own private room almost. There are a few seats in the front and back of the shop, but the majority of the seating is upstairs. To access the second floor, you have to walk outside to the small back courtyard and go up the stairs. At one time, there was a staircase inside, but it was removed for functionality of the patrons. Outside the door of the second floor, you’ll find an information board, written in Korean, detailing the history of the building. The upper floor has a few tables with comfortable, vintage-looking chairs as well as a small floor-seating area. It is a very relaxing space to have a drink and chat with friends.

As far as the menu goes, Samduck offers the same beverage list as most other coffee shops with, perhaps, a few additions. There are tons of coffee and tea drinks, but the menu is written only in Korean. If you can’t read Korean, order something that they usually have at other coffee shops. It is more than likely that Samduck also has it. Smoothies are quite large and are served in mason jars with handles. You can get typical flavors as well as more exotic ones, like citron, one of the four original citrus fruits. If you’re not a coffee drinker, try the delicious rooibos tea latte. If you’d like a little snack to go with your drink, Samduck has some tasty cookies near the register as well as some larger dessert items, like waffles and cheesecake.

Samduck serves patrons delicious beverages and snacks with a personal touch. The staff are very friendly and attentive. You won’t feel like you are just another customer at any old chain coffee shop. It is a place to rest, relax, and appreciate the historical building you are sitting in.   

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