Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dried Whiting

This post took place on June 4, 2010.

The final day of our east coast tour (and all the tours), we woke up in Sokcho to see the sun rise. We all barely missed it. But we got to walk around by the water and see some fishing boats come in.

It was octopus season.

I got to see some women divers on their way out.

I didn't know there were women divers outside of Jejudo.

This region is known for dried whiting, and today I had dried whiting for breakfast and lunch. The American style breakfast at the hotel looked unappealing, so I opted for the Korean breakfast instead.

The highlight was the Congnalmul (bean sprout) soup with a wonderful dried whiting and mushroom broth. I was one of the best things I've tasted in Korea.

For lunch we had dried whiting at a restaurant in the countryside east of Seoul. They were making kim chi outside the front door.

The roasted dried whiting was fantastic.

It is like a Korean version of bacalao and came out on a hot cast iron plate. Mom says the ingredients included red pepper paste, lots of sugar, and lots of seasame oil.

A good third of our group, which was under 25, didn't care for it. One of them was even a cook. A bit sad, but that meant more for the rest of us. The whole meal felt like it was put together with so much care, and the waitress really wanted us to like the meal. The banchan was good. Everything tasted fresh and although this was not ambitious food, it had a refinement to it. There was a subtle dried whiting soup made with rice water. And I had channangmul, a Korean herb, for the first time; it was served steamed by itself as banchan and had a great fresh edge.

We finished our meal with the customary coffee from an instant coffee machine.

This was one of the best meals of the trip.

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