Korea is really a seafood-lover’s paradise. You get fresh seafood, hauled in from the sea daily, and you pay only a fraction of the price you pay in Japan. You get equally good-grade sashimi and sushi here as in Japan, but the big difference is Koreans eat very hot chilli peppers. This, for me, is a game-changer because of these two dishes:
1. Godeungeo gui (고등어구이) – Grilled mackerel
Korean table barbecue is known throughout the world, and barbecue has a long tradition here for centuries. Koreans have clearly understood the immense good taste of very fresh ingredients, cut then grilled in the right way within the right amount of time to seal in the juices while creating a crusty exterior. It is an art, and the Koreans have mastered it.
Mackerels are an extremely fat fish, its skin tastes amazing when grilled. Pair that with very hot chilli sauce and downed with a glass of soju, that is one of the greatest pleasures in life!
Make it a dinner or a supper and go in a rowdy group!
For your grilled mackerel experience, head down to:
Grilled Fish Street in Dongdaemun Market
Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea 종로구
2. Haemultang 해물탕 海鮮汤 – Seafood stew
If you have never had Haemultang, then you have never lived. It’s the best of the sea put together in a pot, fired up with beanpaste and chilli. It’s like the Portuguese cataplana, except way spicier and crazier.
There is an old Haemultang restaurant tucked away in a side street of the Myeongdong shopping area. WIth no less than thirty years of experience, this Haemultang restaurant makes sure the stew is served with the juiciest marine creatures: baby octopuses, blue crabs, abalones and scallops. I promise, once you’ve had this Haemultang, you’ll dream about it every now and then. Although I must say that I’ve had one Haemultang in London before that served it with a huge chunk of fish roe, while the seafood was not as fresh, the roe gave it an additional sweetness and texture.
Myeongdong Eomeonijip 명동해물탕
100-809 11-6, Myeongdong 8-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
04536중구 명동8길 11-6