Daegu Vegan Survival Guide: Buffets Edition
IT WAS NOT MY ORIGINAL INTENT to feature Buffets necessarily when it came to Vegan eating in DAEGU because American Buffets tend to be a MEAT FEST…an EXPENSIVE, OVER-INDULGENT meal for the GLUTTONOUS. How do you get your money’s worth, when the only Vegan option on the Buffet line tends to be a giant bowl of iceberg lettuce?!? Oh my, Daegu CHANGED my perspective! Especially when I found myself attending 4 Daegu Buffet Restaurants in only 7 days, I knew the word needed to get out that THESE places can be special to both the omnivorous FOODIE and the contemplating VEGAN.
County Market: GIRLS’ FAVORITE ATMOSPHERE (Best for Girls’ Luncheon or Mother’s Day)
County Market Buffet is a delight from start to finish! Located vicinity of Suseung Lake, free parking is located across from the lovely courtyard entrance. There is open space, natural and artificial lighting that work together, and plenty of FRESH beautiful foods. The large spaces allow for comfortable group gatherings (if you have 20 persons or more, there is a private room available for reservation). My Korean Friends know this place as “New York New York.” Maybe because of the New York Strip they offer extra in addition to the Buffet? I will ask this Friday…I am eating there again after only 2 weeks! The best features of this Buffet are the extensive DIY Salad Bar, the manned hot grill station constantly making fried rice/Stir-Fried Steak & Veggies/Fried Sunny Side Up Eggs, and the hot Pasta station ensuring these offerings are served while hot. As a Vegan, I appreciate the many, many options!
I would categorize this Buffet as a favorite for GIRLS because the experience is like eating in a Greenhouse or Garden Club. The GUYS will eat plenty of yummy foods, but I think would never admit to LOVING this restaurant! @26,000 won, 118, Yonghak-ro , Suseung-gu, Daegu, www.countymarket.co.kr
Boccaccio: GUYS’ FAVORITE ATMOSPHERE (Best for Date Night or Husband’s 40th Birthday)
Boccaccio Brau is a Buffet & Legit Brewery Restaurant located in the Basement Level of the Ariana Hotel. Located just short of the Suseung Lake area, I like to use the Suseongmot Monorail Station to travel here. I didn’t know what to expect when trying to find this place as online English reviews were outdated, but I was hoping for craft beer for my beer snob husband! JACKPOT!
Not only did we find Unlimited DRAFT beer brewed on the premises (Golden Ale, Hefeweizen, Stout), but we found many yummy things for me to eat on the elegant and extensive buffet: Fresh Greens, Japchae, Lots of grilled veggies, Spicy Udon, Fried Tofu on sushi rice, and FRUIT!!!
Even though I was not interested in the Meat options of the Buffet, I could not help note the quality and uniqueness of its offerings: Smoked meats hand carved from the HOOFED leg, Anchovies, Chili Shrimp Cocktail, Escargot (or Snails), and many Sushi variety. It might not be fully Vegan of me to appreciate the culinary expertise here, but the restaurant really does a nice job.
There is also a Kids Play Room, Large dance floor, and a DJ Area occasionally announcing a birthday in the restaurant crowd. This Buffet has a basement party atmosphere appropriate for all ages, very large parties, many families, groups of GUYS, and even a casual date night. Prices listed 33,000 won M-F, 36,000 won Weekends, 15,000 kids & +15,000 won for unlimited wine. It is an expensive Buffet, but did I mention that included unlimited brewed in-house beer? My hubby REALLY liked the Stout. 27, Dongdaegu-ro, Suseong-gu, Daegu, www.ariana.co.kr/facility.html
Kkotmareum: GREAT COMMUNAL DINING (Best for relaxing meal with a group or business celebration)
Ever heard of SHABU SHABU? Well this is SHABU SHABU + Sushi Buffet + Vietnamese Wraps. There is so much to see and do…and eat…you will not want to EAT AND RUN! You will want to RELAAAX and PACE YOURSELF! The closest station is Sinmae on the Green Line, but they do have free parking in the back.
SHABU SHABU is similar to the American Fondu-pot cooking experience at the table. The Chinese-Japanese difference is you have one option of raw thinly sliced meat to cook yourself in boiled water using tongs (not skewers). And the vegetable accompaniments are entirely unlimited from the Buffet! This Buffet also offers premium sushi, side salads, and fixings for Vietnamese Rice Paper Wraps (that’s what those bowls of hot water are for- to soften your “paper” for wrapping). The dipping sauces are at the table. I particularly enjoyed the Premium Hot Tea options at the beverage bar: Cassias Seed, Pomegranate, Dandelion, and Balloon Flower. The Japanese Plum juice is my preferred cold beverage!
Can you tell that I really enjoy Lychee and Rambutan? I am very grateful that they are available to Daegu this season! Buffet Prices depend on the weight of the meat, if you are dining M-F, or on the Weekend. It is the same buffet offerings, so lunch time dining might be more economical if you are on a budget. Celebrate during the daytime!! Between 15,000 won and 20,000 won, for what would normally cost TWICE that in the United States. 3162, Dalgubeol-daero, Suseong-gu, Daegu, www.kkmr.co.kr
Pulipchae: GREAT FRESH KOREAN FOODS (Best for Every Day Meals or Visiting Family)
This Buffet Restaurant was an accidental find as it is located across the street from where I live! I only found it because I was exploring my new neighborhood. It is located on the 11th Floor of Debec Plaza at the Daebonggyo Monorail Station on the yellow line. I would have never been brave enough to try this restaurant except for the tiny little writing in English on the electronic poster: All That Premium Korean Food. I had to see what they offered!!
Most signs at the food stations are labeled in both English and Hangeul. This helped me learn about Korean Foods in general when I first arrived to Daegu last July! I learned about Lotus Root, Bracken, Barley Rice, and Cold Buckwheat Noodles. It gave me my love for Fresh Vegetables, and made it easy to transition to a Vegan diet this past January.
They change their menus with the Seasons, and so far SUMMER is my favorites Buffet Season because the Greens go from Bitter Greens to Sweet Greens!!! SPRING ran a special of tableside delivery of Tempura Fish included in the Buffet price so that was neat for my hubby. Although…WINTER helped me invent what I call KOREAN LASAGNA: Layer Black Sesame Tofu, Dumpling Sauce w/chopped scallions, Tempura Pumpkin, and Fried Kimchi in that order. Trust me, it’s duh-lish-ous!
I do notice that Lunchtime is wayyyyy more crowded than Dinnertime (probably because of the Debec Plaza shoppers stopping for much needed nourishment at a great value), so we actually enjoy eating here as a family in the evening because we feel like we have the entire place to ourselves. Oh! There’s a legit self-service Espresso machine where you can make Affogato (ice cream in espresso) if you so desire. When I visit (once or twice per month), my favorites are Japchae, Korean Lasagna (I invented this), sweet and sour fried tofu, and EVERYTHING on the salad & noodle bar.
The desserts are more of the traditional Korean side including Dduk(rice cake) and Frozen Ripe Persimmons (not pictured, sorry- my friend was eating them all - they were so tasty!!).
Prices less than 20,000 won is super reasonable for the value of the organic offerings and quality cuisine. 11F Debec Plaza, 333, Myeongdeok-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu , www.pulipchae.com
I will actually MISS these buffets when we finally return to the United States. Back there, the stereotypical American Buffet is overrun with Chicken Fingers, Pizza, Smothered in Gravy meats, Mashed Potatoes, Buttered Vegetables, French Fries, Macaroni & Cheese...oh, and a big bowl of Iceberg Lettuce. All the featured buffets listed in this article are loaded with ACTUALLY excellent meat options at each location AND abundantly wonderful Vegan options. We can dine in Harmony!!Thank you, Daegu!