Have you tried eels? I mean it looks like a snake living in water, but tastes good. In Korea, eels are considered as energy food and known for the benefits it gives men. The most common way to eat eels is grilled. It normally costs 50,000-70,000 KRW for 1kg which is for 2-3 persons.
In other places, a server cooks it for you and in other ones, you cook it on the grill on the table.
Cooked eels! Don’t worry about small fish bones. It does not have them because the servers already cleaned it. Easy to eat 🙂
The skin part is crispy and the meat is soft. It might smell like dirt since eels live in the dirt, but it shouldn’t smell if you eat well-cleaned and well-cooked ones. In other words, smell decides whether the restaurant you are eating at is good or not.
You can either eat only eels by dipping it in the sauce or make an eel wrap (쌈). I like the latter better because you can taste different tastes at once. Also, even though eels have a little bit of smell, veggies in the wrap hide it.
When you make a wrap, you can use cabbage or sesame leaf. On the top of either of them, put one piece of eels and ginger dip in the sauce. Wrap it and eat it! Yuuuuum
장어 (Jang-eo): eel
장어구이 (Jang-eo gui): Grilled eels
쌈 (Ssahm): Korean style wrap
Information of this place:
통큰장어 (Tong-ken Jang-eo)
경기도 안산시 단원구 광덕3로 145-17 (145-17, Gwangdeok 3-ro, Danwon-gu, Ansan-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea)
One of the great things about Korean food culture is that all these side dishes are for free! You can ask for more. Kimchi (a red, spicy pickled cabbage) can never be missed.
Jeon (전), Korean pancake, also comes for free. The outside is crispy and the center is soft. You dip it in soy sauce and eat it.
It is pretty big, is it for one person? No. You need to tear it with chopsticks 🙂 Hold one chopstick on the right hand and the other on the left. Then TEAR them into bite-size pieces.
Here it is! The main dish 오리황토구이(Ori Hwangto Gui) has come! It looks smaller in the picture but it is for 3 people.
It is roasted in a red clay oven for several hours. Because the fat drips away, the taste is light. The meat is tender and the skin is super soft.
It costs 55,000 KRW.
It is similar with Samgyetang, a ginseng chicken soup, that both have rice inside and that you eat the meat first and then the rice. This rice is not just white rice but healthy rice with various kinds of grains, seeds, beans, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins. You feel the healthiness as soon as you put it in your mouth.
The finale is duck porridge (죽) with grounded beans. It tastes awesome and makes your meal complete.
오리황토구이 (Ori Hwangto Gui): Roasted duck in a red clay oven
전 (Jeon): Korean pancake
죽 (Jook): Korean porridge
김치 (Kimchi): fermented, pickled cabbage or radish
Information of this place:
송호황토마을 (Songho Hwangto Maeul)
경기도 안산시 상록수 이동 638-1번지 (638-1, I-dong, Sangrok-gu, Ansan-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea)
If you visit a town near the sea, Hweh is one thing that you need to try. Some cities have a huge fish complex, a gathering of hundreds of small fish markets. The biggest in Korea is Jagalchi fish market (자갈치시장) in Busan. It is too far from where I live so went to the one nearby, Sorae port (소래포구) in Incheon.
When you enter the market, you will see many people bargaining on your way. “Hey, come here and see. I will give you fish with good price.” You might feel uncomfortable. What I do there is I do not make any eye contact and just walk fast to the inside.
I recommend you not to buy fish in the stores close to the entrance. You will find better ones with better price if you go further inside.
I found one that has lots of fresh fish and asked the guy which one is in season. He recommended a croaker (민어) which I had not tried. It was 30,000 KRW for 1 kilo and the fish I got was 2 kilos. It was originally 60,000 KRW but I made a bargain with him. The final price I got was 40,000 KRW 🙂
After the payment, he gave me a card with number on it and told me to go to a certain restaurant upstairs. The first floor has markets and the second has restaurants where you actually eat it.
I found a nice seat and was waiting for the fish that I bought. Holy Cow. The server brought us all the free seafoods before we eat the fish. We had a feast! Scallops, shrimps, sea squirts, sea cucumbers, conches, and etc. They were all fresh.
We even had a plate of sliced raw octopus. Yum! I love this. They are moving and you just put one of them into your mouth and chew it. For most of seafood, I dip them in red chili paste (초장).
Tada~ The fish we bought came! It was too much but I and my friend ended up finishing all of them except few pieces. Now I know 2 kilos is for 4 people.
You can dip Hweh either in soy sauce or red chili paste. My favorite dipping sauce is not either of them but ssamjang (쌈장) which you put for your lettuce wrap.
After finishing Hweh, I ordered a spicy fish soup (매운탕). This soup is almost a mandatory after eating Hweh. People usually eat it with rice but I like to eat the soup only. Once you finish the soup, you can say that you had a legit Korean Hweh course.
회 (Hweh): Korean style raw fish or sashimi
매운탕 (Mae-woon-tang): Spicy fish soup
Information of this place:
강남수산 (Gangnam Soosan) in 소래포구 종합어시장 (Sorae port fish market)
인천광역시 남동구 소래역로 12 (No. 143, 12, Soraeyeok-ro, Namdong-gu, Incheon, Korea)
Here is my first video and it’s about Samgyetang.
– According to the lunar calendar, there are three special days called Chobok, Joongbok, and Malbok that Koreans eat Samgyetang. (Of course, you can eat it anytime though.) The days are the hottest of the summer and people believe that eating Samgyetang helps you survive from summer heat.
– Some Koreans believe that ginseng and dates in the soup absorb bad things from the chicken so you shouldn’t eat them. However, it proved false so you can eat them.
– You eat the chicken first and then the rice inside of the chicken. When you eat rice, put some salt on it because it is not seasoned. It is best to eat the rice, soup, and kimchi all together.
How to order:
Say, “삼계탕 주세요 (Sam-gye-tang Joo-Sae-Yo)” meaning “Please give me Samgyetang.”
or you can show them this: 삼계탕 주세요.
– 토속촌 (Tosokchon)
서울특별시 종로구 자하문로5길 5 토속촌 (5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul)
10:00 am – 10:00 pm
– 부산 삼게탕 (Busan Samgyetang)
부산광역시 중구 동광동1가 4-1 (4-1, Donggwang-dong 1-ga, Jung-gu, Busan)
07:00 am – 09:00 pm
Yes, I am a food blogger in Korea.
Why did I start blogging about food? Well, when I was young, I saw a TV show which introduces all the amazing dishes from other countries. That looked super cool and I wanted to be a reporter who goes all around the world, tastes their local foods, and tells other people how the food tastes like.
My dream changed a lot as I was growing up, but I ended up wanting to do the same thing I had first dreamed of. Talking about my own country’s dishes.
Korean food culture is huge and has lots of interesting dishes such as fermented bean soup (청국장) or smelly fermented skate (삭힌홍어).
I will introduce you to Korean food one by one ranging from the basic dishes to ones that you have never heard of or imagined. Please follow me on Youtube and subscribe to my website if you want to get updates. Oh, I will address you Yumkos, the short version of Yumkorea.
Any questions are welcome by email or comments!