Japan and Korea’s relationship can be described as tenuous at best. Shoddy, maybe, if you’re feeling a little less formal. But one thing that can be agreed on is the popularity of Korean cuisine throughout Japan – okay, and maybe K-pop. Though I’m not one for choreographed boybands, I prefer kimchi any day. And one night my parents and I stumbled across a little gem called Tegu.
Though I don’t know much about the history of the place, I do know they serve authentic fare. One of the reasons I know this? I tried to get a side of kimchi for myself and one for my friend when the owner took our order. Here’s how it went down.
“Two kimchi’s please.”
“Okay, one kimchi.”
“You only need one.”
“You only need one.”
Here’s the rule about eating with me – you don’t tell me what I can and can’t order. But arguing with a nana of any nationality doesn’t look good, so I acquiesced to her and begrudgingly ordered the one. The little Korean nana was right in the end, as the serve was enough for two, but I knew she saved us some pain when I ate a mouthful and the fires of hell began to burn my tongue. Spicy.
Tegu, or Daegu in Korean, isn’t easy to spot but it was worth almost tripping down the stairs for. The food is delicious, reasonably priced and the people who run the place are friendly and efficient. I like bibimbap (especially the hot stone variety) but in the interest of trying something new I ordered spicy tofu stew. It was warm, tasty and had the right amount of chili for a “kick”. Little entrees are given before every meal including konjac, pickled bean sprouts and shredded kimchi daikon. The classics are available like chijimi (scallion pancake) and japchae (noodle salad) among others and the BBQ option starts from 4000 yen.
Tegu is located in the basement level of a building across the road from Yasaka Shrine, right on the corner. The neon sign above the door with 韓国料理 should help a little. After a day of sightseeing, trudge down, take off your shoes and treat yourself to some jjigae. But listen to the nana when she warns you about the kimchi.