March 1, 2013
Korean Sashimi: Doing It Raw
Today is my last Friday of 2013 in Korea, so it’s only appropriate that today’s Foodporn Friday post is a fresh catch straight from Korea! Korean sashimi, also called 회 (hway), is something that I’d avoided for over three years, assuming it to be a chewy, tentacled affair using fish that look like penises and smell little better than a Rafflesia plant.
Oh how wrong I was. Korean sashimi is a classy affair that my friend Dana and I were able to indulge on on the first night of our trip to the southern coast. You know, the trip where I was wowed by Suncheon Bay’s natural beauty and where I may have been temporarily possessed by a health-nut demon and voluntarily went hiking in Geumodo.
Dana and I chowed down on Korean sashimi in a restaurant near Yeosu’s ferry terminal. Not a cheap affair, the bill for two hungry people runs to about 70,000 won. Our meal included not only a big plate of various kinds of Korean sashimi, but also mussels (we got a free refill, but that’s not to be expected), and then maeuntang (매운탕) after we finished the sashimi.
The lady who ran the restaurant loved that I could speak Korean but Dana, who is ethnically Asian but very much American, was relying on me to translate as she spoke to him. She ate dinner with her husband and adult daughter on the table across from us, and instructed them to keep an eye on us to make sure that we had everything we needed. Cue lots of freebies that the other customers in the restaurant didn’t get, like the aforementioned mussels, and some extra sashimi.
As Yeosu is a coastal city, the Korean sashimi that you find there is super fresh. Fish were taken out of a tank and sliced up just feet away from us. The various kinds of fish were all delicately flavoured, and when paired with soy sauce, wasabi, a kind of paste made from chilies, and the fresh, crispy vegetables served up at the table, an absolute delight. If you’re looking for a Korean sashimi restaurant in Yeosu, look around the harbour and see if you can find 남면횟집 (Nammyeon Hwayt-jip). The phone number is 061-665-7022. It’d be best to go with a Korean speaker, as the family that runs it don’t speak a lick of English. The exact address is 전라남도 여수시 교동 496 (Jeollanam-do, Yeosu-si, Gyodong 496).
I wish that it hadn’t taken me three years to take the plunge and try Korean sashimi for the first time, although I’m glad that I did it in style in Yeosu. Maybe it’s a good thing that I discovered my love for Korean sashimi with only one month remaining in South Korea, given that it would no doubt develop into quite an expensive habit. My stomach and taste buds may be regretting my late epiphany of my love of Korean sashimi, but my wallet is certainly breathing a sigh of relief.
So there you have it, folks! Now, I want to hear from you! Have you ever tried Korean sashimi before? Or, have you tried raw fish from any other countries? Does it look like something you’d give a go? Let us know in the comments below, or shout out on Facebook or Twitter.