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)