KOREAN NAME: 왕탁
LOCATION: Gyeongsangbuk-do, Daegu, Nam-gu (경상북도, 대구, 남구)
OVERALL: For most people visiting Daegu (or even living in Daegu), Wang Tak is a bit off the beaten path. That being said, this place is well worth the trip. From the city-cabin architecture to the plethora of makgeolli options, this is the type of joomak I always hope to find when I travel outside of Seoul.
LOOK & ATMOSPHERE: It was already dark when we came out of Youngdae Hospital Station. We walked down poorly-lit alleys, through some kind of strange, middle-of-the-street parking lot, and finally past a wall made of cinder block and barbed-wire fence. This did not look like the kind of neighborhood you go to for makgeolli. And then something caught my eye up ahead: the sign for Wang Tak.
The A-frame roof makes you wonder if the building had a past life as a small chapel. Then you step inside. The interior is a mix-and-match of weathered wood, brick, and splashes of avocado-green paint. The long windows that make up the front of the building and second story loft gave a different impression—like being in a cabin, or on someone’s front porch. The exposed joists and the sloping roof also strike the right balance of making the place cozy and spacious at the same time. The downstairs has 11 tables and can accommodate around 60 people; the loft has just one table for 8.
Yes, it is in a weird, almost off-putting neighborhood, but the charm of the building makes up for it all.
(Incidentally, the name of this joomak is a combination of the owner’s name, Wang Jeong-eun, and tak, a word used synonymously to mean makgeolli. Yes, like takjoo.)
MAKGEOLLI & FOOD: One look at the impressive makgeolli menu and you will see that all of Korea is well-represented. All bottles on the regular list are ₩5,000, and are ranked from driest to sweetest. The premium makgeolli list is smaller and, of course, more expensive, but well worth the hit to the wallet. At the back of the menu, you can find a list of sojus and other traditional Korean liquors.
- Song Myeongseob
- Baekryeon (Lotus)
- Jeju Saeng Yoosangyoon
- Seocheon Ssal
- Geumjeong Sanseong
- Jipyeong (Wheat)
- Anyang Dongdongju
- Jipyeong (Ssal)
- Neurin Maul
- Daedaepo Blue Label
- Bom Bom Oksusu
- Dongsan Albam (Chestnut)
- Gotaek Chapssal Saengju (₩9,000)
- Baekseolgongju (₩9,000)
- Cheonbihyang Saengtakju (₩24,000)
- Cheonbihyang Yakju (₩45,000)
- Hayan Yeonggot (₩9,000)
- Munheui (₩25,000)
- Boksoondoga (₩25,000)
- Jaheehyang Gookhwaju (₩40,000)
- Jaheehyang Takju (₩18,000)
The food menu is admittedly small but food bloggers, in particular Idy7120, whose blog you can find here, have some pics of the jaw-droppingly delicious food served at Wang Tak. (Seriously, I need to go back just to try those deep-fried shrimp. Sweet lord, those look good!) But, just having eaten an hour before, we opted for the—surprise!— pajeon with shrimp and peppers. The shrimp and vegetable combo made it much more flavorful than I expected. My only complaint was that the batter was a bit undercooked in a mushy-jeon sort of way that I’m just not crazy about.
BATHROOM: Separate bathrooms for men and women on the same floor. Small but clean and fully stocked.
HOURS: 6 p.m. – 4 a.m. (Monday – Saturday) / 2 p.m. – 12 a.m. (Sunday)
ADDRESS: 대구광역시 남구 봉덕3동 712-5 / 경상북도, 대구, 남구, 중앙대로22길78-1
DIRECTIONS: From Line 1’s Youngdae Hospital Station (영대병원역), leave via exit 2. Turn 180 degrees and walk down Daemyoungro 60 Gil (대명로 60 길). Turn left at the second intersection onto Daemyoungnam 1 Gil (대명남 1 길). Turn right at the large intersection called Jungang Daero (중앙대로). Turn left on Jungang Daero 22 Gil (중앙대로 22 길). After walking past four largish intersections, you’ll see Wang Tak on the right. It’s about a 10- to 15-minute walk through a neighborhood that doesn’t look like there would ever be a joomak around but trust me—you’ll find it! If you don’t want to take any chances, jump in a cab. It’s about ₩5,000 or ₩6,000 from Jung-gu (중구), the central part of the city.