[Migyulin Guide] #12. Deokseung Sikdang
Korean vocabulary of the day
Gyul (n): Korean word for tangerine, a delicacy of Jeju.
For many, the local food of Jeju would be fish and other seafood. From various types of sashimi, seafood soup or even grilled fish, there are countless ways people associate them as Jeju food. Jeju, as an island, is a wonderful place to try different fish and seafood dishes. Deokseung Sikdang near Moseulpo Port in Seogwipo offers these dishes. From grilled, boiled, to stewed fish, this place has everything you'd want. One of the greatest things about this place is that it's located by the port which makes the quality control of seafood much easier. Great food obviously comes from great ingredients. And their fish, though may not all, are caught by the owner. The name of the restaurant, Deokseung Sikdang comes from the name of the ship the owners use for their daily catch.
What Deokseung Sikdang is mostly known for is their Galchi Jorim, or sweet and salty braised hairtail. The silver-scaled hairtail is one of the most famous Jeju delicacies and considered a must-try when visiting Jeju. What makes this silver-scaled fish so special is that they are caught individually by fishing rods not nets. By doing so, their scales are not damaged and completely intact. The black scabbardfish found all around the Atlantic Ocean and southwestern sea of Korea is the same specie of this fish but was just named differently due to the fishing method. The black scabbardfish is caught by nets.
Galchi Jorim at Deokseung Sikdang prepared with generous amount of spicy sauce, Jeju radish, and other vegetables brings out the sweet, salty and spicy flavors. The perfectly shaped and perfectly cooked fish is impressive. You can easily tell they are using fresh fish, not frozen. Another ingredient to take notice is the Jeju radish which has a sweeter taste than any other radishes from other regions. It all testifies that all the ingredients used at Deokseung Sikdang are top-notch.
One tip: ask your server what's a good fish for Jorim of the day. There are other options available like filefish, an ingredient for popular snack as sweet and salty jerky in Korea. This filefish will have a denser texture compared to hairtail.
Grilled hairtail is also a great option to pair with your rice. Top a piece of grilled fish on your big spoonful of rice and you will like you are the king of the world. A spoonful of freshly cooked rice and salty piece of grilled fish… Oh, I'm getting hungry.
Deokseung Sikdang began offering mackerel sashimi. The flesh of mackerels can spoil easily so curing method has been widely practiced all over the world. Until large-scale farming had begun in Tongyoung, mackerel sashimi was only available in Jeju. Now there are places you can try this on the mainland, but the fundamental difference in quality of the sashimi you'd get in Jeju is unimaginable. Many don't know this but is a must-try delicacy in Jeju. It is high in fat, rich with flavors with firm texture. Some has said that it is a version of "affordable Bangeo (yellowtail) sashimi."
Restaurants offering mackerel sashimi often serve it with some seaweed, spicy sauce, raw spring onions and raw onions. Deokseung Sikdang also serves the sashimi with these condiments so we recommend you try different variations with these. I cannot say I am the biggest fan of sashimi but I must say this flavorful and firm mackerel sashimi brings me back here once in a while. Deokseung Sikdang is widely popular among locals and visitors near the Moseulpo port and its waterfront location makes it all the more appealing. You can order from 2 or more persons and Galchi Jorim is around 10,000 won and Grilled Galchi is around 20,000 won.