Korean vocabulary of the day
Gyul (n): Korean word for tangerine, a delicacy of Jeju.
Encyclopedia of Jeju’s Must-Try Restaurant Based on Our Real Reviews
One of the most sought after sashimi for Jeju visitor is mackerel. Maybe the people have been going out on new culinary adventures or mackerel sashimi has become more popularized through media. But either way, it seem the number of trying out mackerel has increased lately.
On our previous episode on Migyulin Guide #12 to introduce Deokseung Sikdang, we have mentioned that mackerel sashimi is one of the must-tried on Jeju. As it spoils easily, it is a difficult delicacy to come across unless you are by the sea. For the mainlanders, enjoying mackerels grilled or steamed would be a common experience as finding fresh mackerels for sashimi would be difficult to come by.
What we are introducing on this episode of Migyulin Guide is Miyeongine Sikdang by the Moseulpo Port which specializes in mackerel sashimi. It translates to Miyeong's Restaurant, a simple and modest name that suits the small local restaurant in a fishing village.
"As an oily fish, mackerels are a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acid," said my mother all my life. This really didn't make me want to eat the fish from young age. Compared to other fish, grilled mackerels were too oily, or fishy at times. But this new culinary experience made me reconsider my precious notion of this fish. With seasoned onions, seasoned garlic stems, perilla leaves and other fresh vegetables, mackerel sashimi was nothing like the fish I had known. Although I enjoy the flavors of white fish with low fat, I finally understood the flavor of fish oil that enhances the experience. The appropriate seasoned vegetables, side dishes like seaweed and rice will help novice enjoy the meal much better.
Miyeongine Sikdang is known for their mackerel sashimi but the Seafood Soup that comes after fish is the highlight of this place. Unlike other soup offered at seafood restaurants which are normally spicy with copious amount of pepper flakes and sauce, Miyeongine Sikdang offers clear seafood broth.
You will be truly surprised by the sheer presentation of this soup. This might remind you of a scene from YouTube channels like HowToBasic or TV Filthy Frank. It almost looks like some soup of a chopped up mermaid from a haunted volcanic island. Let's just say that it's not camera-friendly. Its murky gray soup has pieces of, what seems to be, mackerel scales floating around and chunks of mackerel gives you the impression that this soup will be fishy with uncomfortable textures. But just with one spoonful of soup, you will find yourself in the midst of busting into laughter. Oh, how impoverished are the figments of human imaginations!
The thick soup cannot be at the furthest from fishy, regardless of the ingredients. Normally at other restaurants, they would use various additional ingredients to resolve these issues. And I cannot imagine how my trial-and-errors the chefs had to undergo to this result. Seeing cabbages and fish chunked, I can infer that the influence of Galchiguk, or Hairtail Soup, a staple traditional food of Jeju has made it to this version of mackerel soup. Maybe the fishermen and villagers by the Moseulpo Port had created this original recipe long ago.
For long, fall was for grilled Jeongeo, or hickory shad and the wintertime was for Bangeo sashimi, or yellowtail. But add mackerel sashimi to your list from fall to early winter. Of course mackerel sashimi is available all year around.