It was only after several months in Korea - long enough to pass through (and forever leave behind) after my initial Dongas, Kimbap, and Twigim phase - that I finally learned how varied, delicious, and downright miraculous Korean food can be. Side dishes galore - hundreds of fresh vegetables, known and unknown, each matching certain dishes and served at certain times of the year. Rice, either white or colorful; noodles thick and thin, hot and cold; chicken, pork, beef, dog, goat. And more kinds of sea life than I had realized existed.
And yet, despite my appreciation for Korean cuisine, it often strikes me as more weird than exotic. What to do when you crave something a little more colorful, a little more fragrant, or a little more spicy? Especially if you want to do it yourself?
The answer: pay a visit to the 북부정류장. (Sounds like "Bukbu Jeong-nyu-jang")
On the map, it's called 북부시외버스터미날 (i.e., North District Intercity Bus Terminal).
On the building, it's called the 북부시외버스공용정류장 (i.e. Bukbu Intercity Public Bus Stop).
In English, it calls itself "Pukbu Bus Stop Outskirts of a City Bus."
Either way, it's where you want to be if you want to cook your own Chinese, Indian, Thai, or Vietnamese. If you can see the building above, do an about-face and walk the same way the buses go when leaving the station. You'll see several shops touting international calling cards and world foods.
They each have their own specialties, depending on where the owner is from, but mostly they all blend together. Pop into any and have a look around.
Spices (available in seed and powder form): Curry, coriander, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, mustard, fenugreek, mint
Sauces: Fish sauces, soy sauces, hot sauces, Thai curry pastes, pho bouillion cubes, canned curries, chutney mixes
Beans: Chickpeas, kidney beans, dried peas, lentils, dahl
Grains: Long-grained white rice, various kinds of noodles and rice paper, idli mix
Canned fruits: longan, rambutan, jackfruit, mangosteen
Produce: Cilantro (i.e. coriander leaves), thai basil, long beans, lemons, durians
...and so forth. They also carry a wide variety of nuts, seeds, canned tropical fruit, snacks, pastries, halal meats, soy and textured vegetable protein, and several other mystery products. Have a look for yourself. The only things conspicuously absent are Tahini and cous-cous.
If you'd like to sit down for some Indian - more authentic than downtown, less expensive than Ganga in Suseong - drop by
Around the other side, where the buses enter the terminal, there's also a nondescript, unlabeled, but mostly authentic Chinese restaurant worth a visit.
...can prove a little bit tricky. The Bukbu (North District) Intercity Bus terminal is about four kilometers north from the Duryu subway station, so if you if you want to make it there via public trasnport, your best bet is to take a bus. From Duryu, come out of the left side of exit one, walk north for a minute, catch the 356 or 순환3-1, and get off after five or six stops, immediately after crossing the river.
The following buses also stop right at (or across from, depending on where you start) Bukbu: 202-1, 309, 323-1, 356, 427, 724, 726, 순환 (Outer Circle) 3-1.
If you're not close to any of those, then you can also take a bus to the Bisan E-mart and walk about five minutes. Buses running to the Bisan E-mart include 427, 527, 704, 708, 719, 724, 726, 730, 750, 북구 (North District) 1, and 칠곡 (Chilgok) 2.
For a map, click here. The Bisan Emart is a kilometer or two north of Bukbu.
Or, to investigate the Daegu Bus System yourself, click here.