It was a brilliantly hot afternoon in Daegu and we’d just finished an enlightening morning finding out about one of Korea’s most loved singers at Kim Kwang-seok Memorial Street. But now, with hopes of discovering a perfect spot for dinner, we’d arrived at Suseong Lake. This is easily the most beautiful area in central Daegu and according to some Suseong is the finest city lake in South Korea.
Suseong Lake is a manmade reservoir created for agricultural use as part of Daegu’s ongoing green initiative efforts. But in recent years it’s become more and more of a tourist attraction, with the introduction of duck-themed paddle boats, an amusement park, bike trails and a boardwalk network for pedestrians.
As we made our way around Suseong Lake that afternoon I had to agree that it was indeed very pretty and not half as busy as we’d been expecting, especially considering the fine weather and the fact that we’d come on a Saturday afternoon.
A small but picturesque park runs along the side of Suseong Lake and, as luck would have it, we’d arrived just in time for a traditional drumming performance. So we settled down on some benches in the large square and watched all the performers putting on their white robes and flowery headdresses.
And then it was underway with a highly impressive rhythmic drumming show delivered by a group of women in blue and white dresses. I later discovered this is known as Pungmul, a tradition rooted in ancient farming culture. It has also been performed as a form of pro-democracy protest!
At the end of the drumming show we started actively seeking out dinner spots. It was to be a special feast that night on Suseong Lake and I wanted everything to be just right. I hadn’t seen my brother in two and a half years, I’d only just met his fiancee Kaley and neither Cory nor Kaley had met Wonderboy. So it felt like a proper celebration was in order! Happily I found exactly what I was looking for with Hoban Restaurant, a lakeside eatery with outdoor decking.
“No smoking, no kids” exclaimed Wonderboy, reading from the entrance sign. “This is my kind place!” The views across Suseong Lake were great, just what we were looking for, while the menu seemed solid, albeit a little pricy.
A truly ridiculous amount of food found its way onto the table that evening, chiefly because we’d underestimated the size of each dish, which could have easily been shared between two people. In any case we all dug into the communal spread, a hearty feast of cheesy pizza, pork cutlets, fried chicken and a mountain range of mixed salad washed down with several rounds of draft beer. We ended up taking a whole bag of fried chicken back to our apartment with a view to having a dirty breakfast the following morning. But of course it all ended up in the trash.