9 floors of fun: Daegu's Shinsegae a mall for all

by Chihon Kim
Stripes Korea

Thanks to well-planned roads and railways, the city of Daegu is easily accessible from the small towns nearby. Many locals will make the trek to the city with plans to spend money and return with goods in hand. It’s because of this that people have been calling Daegu a “Consumer City” since the 1990s.

A massive mall that presents itself as a shopping mecca in this Consumer City became the 2nd largest department store in Korea when it opened two years ago. The Daegu Shinsegae Department Store, conveniently located in the eastern region of Daegu, shares four of its floors with the express bus terminal and KTX station (next to it). You can reach the mall within 80 to 90 minutes by express train (SRT) from the Jije station in Pyeongtaek.

 

The massive 9-story shopping mall is more than just shopping. The building also has a rooftop aquarium, indoor and outdoor mini theme parks, as well as an art gallery, concert hall and a movie theater. Here’s a closer look at what you can find at the giant store. 

 

Alive Aquarium

 

The only aquarium in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province is located on the 9th floor of Daegu Shinsegae Department Store.

 

Being located in a shopping mall limits the amount of space for the aquarium. It’s not as big as parks you’ll find in other countries, but what’s inside will definitely satisfy.

 

The aquarium features Deagu’s first 2,000-ton water tank and is composed of four zones with different themes. You can enjoy the beautiful view of a fish tank and over 200 types of marine life and animals. You can also get a look at the fish in the tank as you cross a twine bridge. The aquarium also offers various shows at the main fish tank every couple of hours, so don’t forget to check the schedule at the entrance.

 

There is also a little play area for kids to enjoy arts and crafts, as well as areas where they can feed otters, prairie dogs, parrots and carp.

 

What interested me the most was the parrot hut where you can buy bird seed (1,000 won) and watch cute little parrots fly right up to your hands. It was quite a unique and interesting experience.

 

When I stepped out of the parrot hut, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was impressed to find dozens of meerkats standing up. One brave meerkat actually tried to snatch my camera with its small hands. It was like being a little kid again.

 

For me personally, it was a great experience that included finally getting to see the Korean spotted seal.

 

After you finish looking around the mall, I recommend checking out the aquarium, especially if you have children. Or, even if you’re an adult like me.

 

Famille Bridge & Trampoline Park

 

At 180 meters, Famille Bridge is the longest moving walkway in Korea and it connects the mall and an annex building which is available on the 5th floor. It is a bit slow, but you can also take in the scenery outside the window and the old photos of Daegu that are on display along the way.

 

The annex has a bookstore, more clothing stores, and a unique playground called Vaunce Trampoline Park. Because of the large space and various rides, it is the best place for children to run freely. Kids can jump high and dunk a basketball, play dodgeball while bouncing, or just dance away to the loud music.

 

Parents can sit at a table or on a couch and watch their children through the windows outside the park, which costs 15,000 won for an hour or 25,500 won for two hours.

 

How to get there

 

Car

Camp Humphreys → Daegu Shinsegae Department Store ( 2hrs 50min)

Osan Air Base→ Daegu Shinsegae Department Store (3hrs)

 

Train

Jije Station (Pyeongtaek) → Dongdaegu Station

SRT (express train): 1hrs 20min (29,900 won) 

(The mall shares its building with Dongdaegu station, so you can’t miss it!) 

 

Subway

Departing from other areas in Daegu (Line No.1) → Dongdaegu Station → Exit1 →Shinsegae Mall B1F

(There is direct underground access to the Shinsegae Mall B1F from Exit 1) 

 

On-site validated parking also available.

Hours:  11 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Aquarium 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.)

Location: Connected to Dongdaegu Station (Line2) 

Address: 149, Dongbu-ro, Dong-gu, Daegu

 

Food

 

The mall is also the ultimate foodie’s paradise! The 1st, 8th and 9th floors house more than 50 different restaurants, while the Food Market is located on the first basement level.

 

Although you can find food stalls throughout mall, you will find the main concentration of restaurants on the 8th floor (Luang Street Food Court). Here, you can grab a high-quality meal that won’t break the bank. As the name implies, the entire 8th floor is designed to make you feel as if you are walking along a dimly lit street of Hong Kong in the 1960s.

 

I recommend Dim Dim Sum (Hong Kong restaurant-9F), Salvatore Cuomo (Italian restaurant-8F) and Tokkijung (Japanese fusion restaurant-8F) if you want to try something different. There are also a handful of cafés available for coffee and sweet treats.

 

The food court (8F) and Zooraji Theme Park (9F) can be a bit pricey compared to some of the building’s other options. BONUS TIP: Take your kids to the outdoor Zooraji Theme Park (9F). Here, you can look down the city and get some fresh air, plus it’s a great place to have a photo taken. The indoor amusement facilities are also child-friendly.

 

Unlike the Luang Street Food Court, the basement (Food Plaza) offers a wide variety of inexpensive foods such as Amorino, Tartorte, Bred Show= and Avantgarde.

 

You can also get a taste of the local breads that got their start in Daegu. Here are three must-eats when you visit Deagu:

 

Oksusu-ppang (I highly recommend it among the three of them!) Once you taste the whole corn bun, you can’t stop eating it. The bread (1,600 won) is-called “Drug Bun” because it is so addicting.

 

 

Modern Alley Sweet Red-Bean Bun: It is a sweet red bean bread (2,500 won) almost commonly filled with red bean paste. You can also bite into other types of bread stuffed with white beans, green beans, sesame and chestnut.

 

 

Banwoldang Goroke: The croquette bun (2,000 won) is a deep-fried bun made by mixing chopped meat, seafood, thin noodles or vegetables with mashed potato. It is shaped like a flat patty, rolled in wheat flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs, then deep-fried until brown on the outside. (It can be a little greasy, so I recommend you have it with soda.)

 

 

Tantan Noodles Kitchen: Tantan noodles is one of the famous dishes you can try on the ground floor (B1). Tantan Noodles Kitchen is a small eatery where you can have a quick meal while sitting on a stool, as chefs prepare dishes in a kitchen in the middle.

 

 

I tried basic Tantan noodles (8,000 won) which is their signature dish, as well as dumplings. The noodle was served with rice and chopped garlic with fried kimchi. All you have to do is follow the instructions that explain how to enjoy it. Per the instructions, I ate noodles first, then add chopped garlic, fried kimchi and rice at once. The seasonings perfectly spiced it up.

 

You can choose a mildly hot version if you do not enjoy spicy food. (The fried dumplings are salty enough and in soy sauce). If you want to slurp down some tasty, Korean-style Tantan noodles, make sure to check this place out!

 

kim.chihon@stripes.com

 

One Daegu specialty not found in mall

 

Despite the mega-mall’s attempt to house many of Daegu’s specialties, they somehow missed a must-eat: Flat dumplings! Here’s a great place for you to try one of Daegu’s signature dishes.

 

Flat dumplings (napjak-mandu) are strictly a Daegu dish. They are slices of dough folded over tiny portions of Chinese noodles, Korean leeks and scallions, then sauteed in oil and topped with green onion. (Tip: Add soy sauce and pepper powder on it, as they catch the greasiness of the dumpling skin).

 

I highly recommend you order dumplings and spicy, cold chewy noodles (jjolmyeon), which is noodles and veggies mixed with spicy pepper paste. The pretty plain taste of dumplings blends perfectly with the spicy flavor of chewy noodles, giving the dish a nice twist. It costs 8,500 won for the popular dumplings and chewy noodles combo.

 

Although the little restaurant serves other dishes such as udon noodles and ramen, I’d stick to the dumplings. You can eat udon and ramen anywhere in Korea and I’ve never seen people eating them here, as most people go there for the dumplings.

 

The place isn’t anything fancy, with its old and faded billboard, and the seven tables are always packed with local food lovers. You can sample flat dumplings at any traditional market or food alley in Daegu. But, if you want the real deal, try the original in Misungdang.

 

 

Departing from Dongdaegu Station (Daegu Sinsegae Mall)

 

BUS

Dongdaegu Station (Bus No.65) → Namsan Elementary School (It is across from the school) 

About 25 min

 

SUBWAY

Dongdaegu Station (Line No.1) → Myungduk Station (Line No.3) → Sinnam Station (Line No.3) → 

Exit 4 → Walk down to the crosswalk, it is just after the first traffic light 

About 35 min

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