Eat Like You're in a Trashy Taiwanese Market, Drink Like You're in Seoul
Oh shit, it’s bul geum!! Fire Friday is the weekly holiday where everyone’s off work and tryna turn up for the weekend, and at Hamburo, we’re all about it. To facilitate your debauchery, we’re featuring a drinking spot each week to fit into one of the rounds of your night. Or, you could just grab some green bottles at a convenience store and get slammed in an alley. That’s on you fam.
There’s something about eating while drinking that Korean culture really gets spot on. When you’re snacking at the same time as doing shots, or drinking beer, or whatever, you accomplish a lot of things. Your growing drunchies are basically constantly being satisfied. Putting food in your stomach increases the amount of alcohol you can drink. Chasing liquor with sweet, salty, spicy food makes it go down easier. Basically, the system works.
We’ve talked before about how the literal obligation to consume anju [안주] while drinking can get prohibitively expensive, but if you remove the burden of cost, the whole thing becomes…pretty dope. Obviously, the market for a place that serves liquor and cheap, drunk-friendly food until late in the night is massive, and, thank god, there are plenty of sul jibs that cater to it.
One of my favorites is Daeman Yashijang [대만야시장], which is Korean for Taiwan Night Market. This now-chain of pseudo-Chinese liquor houses started blowing up a couple of years ago, and now they have half a dozen locations, all around the Hongdae/Hapjeong/Yeonnam area. Each one is easily recognizable due to its bright orange exterior and, also, interior, draped with faux paper lanterns. When you first enter, you’re handed a laminated menu and a dry erase market, for you to indicate what and how much you want.
Soju is 3k, unless you get Choeun Day, which is 2 – either way, pretty damn cheap for a restaurant/sul jib. Korean beers are about the same, while Chinese beers are a little pricier, though still not bad. The menu for food is divided into sections, either by type of food (mandu [만두], sul anju [술안주]), or price (3,500 won menu). Most sections feature choices of large or small sizes of items, but whatever you get, literally nothing is more than 10,000, and that’s the large stuff. As mentioned, there’s a 3,500 section, which is pretty impressive, and contains 18 items. The food ranges from Korean favorites like tteokbokki [떡볶이], kalbi dupbap [갈비덥밥], and ramyun [라면], to Chinese-Korean joints, like the classic jjajangmyeon [짜장면], jjampong [짬퐁], and tangsuyuk [탕수육], to questionably authentic Taiwanese dishes like dumplings [만두], fried mushrooms [버섯튀김], and sautéed tofu [두부볶음].
The food is, honestly, not amazing. The dishes are generally hit-or-miss – fried mushrooms are great, fried chicken is mostly bone. Some dumplings are banging, some are bland. The jjajangmyeon and tangsuyuk claim to both be authentic Taiwanese style, but that’s bullshit, and they’re not great even considering that. But the thing is that, realistically, if you’re coming here for the food, that mistake is on you. This is a great place to drink a lot, while having a bunch of really cheap, generally decent dishes to snack on. Part of the fun is actually determining what’s good and what isn’t – because everything is so cheap, nothing is really an investment, so when you get something shitty you can just order something else.
Put it to you like this – if you’re a group of 4, you could order 4 small dishes, and two bottles of soju EACH, and walk out at 10k a head. My friends and I have called this the pregame spot that you never make it out of, because the ability to keep drinking, and keep eating small, greasy, increasingly tasty (because that’s how alcohol works) dishes really kinda sucks you in.
Pretty much everything is self-serve, including the glasses, kimchi, and fried peanuts. All of the locations are open from 11am to 4am, though I truly don’t know who goes before 10pm. A major part of Daeman Yashijang’s whole vibe is that everyone in the joint is on the same page. It’s a place to get fucked up – the staff knows it, the customers know it, you should know it.
I’ve never been to Taiwan, but if the night markets are actually like this chain, that would really fucking suck. But, as a place to drink a lot, eat a lot, and not spend a lot, Daeman Yashijang is A+. If you ever make it out, enjoy your night in Hongdae after.
Let us know what you think about this spot or what we said about it. For another article like this, check out last week’s Fire Friday feature about this banging hip hop ajit.
Photo credits: @taiwan_market, @ha3m1, @irene_0319_