Restaurants in Daejeon share the city's fantastic food culture, which has been developed around foods that everyone can eat casually rather than unique local cuisines. So, unlike other cities, Daejeon does not have many restaurants that specialise in just one dish. Gourmet restaurants are clustered around the old downtown area near Eunhaeng-dong, the City Hall Station in Dunsan-dong, and the Yuseong Hot Spring area.

    Among the standout dishes to try in Daejeon include ox bone soup (seolleongtang), ginseng chicken soup (samgye-tang), hot pot rice (dolsotbap), spicy freshwater fish stew (minmul maeuntang), and Sutgol Village Korean cold noodles (sutgol naengmyeon).

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    Seonhwa-dong Food Street

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    Seonhwa-dong near Daejeon Metropolitan Subway Station has a 40-year-old food street. Many restaurants here offer cheap and delicious foods such as Korean bouillabaisse (duruchigi), noodle soup (kal-guksu), ox head hangover soup (someori haejang-guk) and boiled beef or pork slices (suyuk).

    Korean bouillabaisse is one of Daejeon's specialities, and stir-fried tofu (dubu duruchigi) and stir-fried squid (ojingeo duruchigi) are also popular. The main ingredient – tofu, squid or pork – is stir-fried with seasonings and vegetables such as red pepper powder, onion, and crown daisy to create spicy yet light flavours. It's good to take as a side dish or with wine. Don't miss it while in Daejeon.

    Location: Seonhwa-dong, Jung-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

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    Daeheung-dong Noodle Soup Alley

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    Daejeon is the city of noodle soup (kalguksu). The city has more than 1,700 kalguksu restaurants and even hosts a kalguksu festival every year. It's related to the fact that Daejeon Station used to be a distributing centre for flour when the country was receiving aid from the US.

    Many noodle soup restaurants are gathered around Daeheung-dong, Jung-gu, and shank bone noodle soup (sagol kalguksu) and spicy noodle soup (eolkeuni kalguksu) are the most popular varieties available. They also put crown daisies or leeks in the soup to create a richer flavour or add perilla seeds according to taste. If you eat it with boiled pork slices (suyuk) or gimbap, it'll make a good budget meal.

    Location: Daesa-dong, Jung-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

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    3

    Dunsan-dong Restaurant Street

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    Dunsan-dong, Seo-gu, is popular among couples on a date because it has many restaurants on the streets near the Galleria Department Store. Unlike other food streets in Daejeon, Dunsan-dong Restaurant Street has more western and fusion cuisine restaurants than local food eateries. Many franchise cafés and restaurants are also found on this street. If you're looking for an atmospheric restaurant in Daejeon, this is where you should go.

    Location: Munjeong-ro, Seo-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

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    4

    Bongmyeong-dong Restaurant Street

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    Bongmyeong-dong Restaurant Street sits is always crowded because of Yuseong Hot Springs, the station for which is surrounded by many restaurants that have been operated for generations by the same family. They're not specialising in one type of food, so you can enjoy a variety of dishes. However, many of them are hangover soup (haejangguk) or rice soup (gukbap) restaurants, open 24 hours because they're closed to the hot springs.

    Hangover soups variants such as cabbage (ugeoji haejangguk), dried pollack (hwangtae haejangguk) and Korean sausage and rice (sundae gukbap) are good to eat after bathing in hot springs or having a drink.

    Location: Bongmyeong-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

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    5

    Gujeuk Acorn Jelly Village

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    Gujeuk Acorn Jelly Village is located near Bukdaejeon IC in Gwanpyeong-dong, Yuseong-gu. The village has moved from Gujeuk-dong due to the redevelopment of the area and is continuing its traditions in its present location. The signature dish here is rice with acorn jelly in cold broth (dotorimuk bap) also called muksabal. Pour the anchovy and kelp broth into finely sliced jelly and mix it with kimchi, seaweed, Cheongyang red pepper, and perilla seeds. The sweet, fragrant and spicy broth will make you want more.

    Every restaurant is said to have its own recipe for acorn jelly (muk). It's usually eaten with acorn and mung bean pancake (dotori bindae-tteok), and a glass of dongdongju (rice wine) will be a perfect addition to this feast of flavours.

    Location: Songgang-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

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    photo by Deborah Hong (CC BY 2.0) modified

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