i visited korea with my family when i was 12 and one night we went to a restaurant where my parents could catch up with some old friends. my dad ordered san nak ji (산낙지), which is a live octopus. oldboy, anyone? at that age, i was so grossed out and i couldn't believe the adults were eating that. i poked a tentacle with my chopstick and shuddered when it flailed around. and yet last night, over a decade later, i joyfully ate it. picking it up was the hardest part, as the suckers kept sticking to the plate, chopstick, the roof of my mouth... i even accidentally dropped it into the dipping sauce (sesame oil+salt) and watched, mesmerized, as it sauced itself.
R.I.P. its friend, sea urchin. i never liked uni sushi until it was served to me at murasaki, but i still don't seek it out at restaurants. this... was something else. so clean, tasting nothing of seawater. and of course you can't deny freshness when the spines are still moving. i felt pretty bad about eating these creatures live so i whispered my apologies. of course, all my guilt evaporated after a couple shots of soju... x:
raw oysters was another first for me. but at least it wasn't alive and i didn't have to shuck it myself! again, clean-tasting and really delicious. i'm not afraid anymore!
we ordered yellowtail sashimi and they kindly placed the belly on top. this fish was also taken out of the tank right before being prepared for us, along with the octopus and urchin. it was no problem for us to clean this up quickly! but this familiar food was not heralding the ending of the meal...
the waitresses kept bringing out what seemed like endless service plates. apparently they come with the sashimi platter, or maybe our korean-speaking party member (not me, sadly) was just that cute. pictured above is kimchi handrolls. so spicy and delicious! not pictured: potato salad banchan, kimchi, pickled seaweed, kimchi cucumber, tempura-fried sweet potato, cooked octopus, sea cucumber, sea pineapple, purple rice, and two big pots of fish stew made with the leftover bits of the yellowtail! everything was great, especially the fish stew. i couldn't keep my hands off the ladle and of course ended up overeating. ):
maybe i'm being overly generous in this review because i haven't had that much korean food in the past 3 months, but i thought this joint was one of the best korean seafood joints i've ever been to. the waitresses were very accomodating to our slowly-arriving party and kept bringing out the good stuff. finally, all that food (and a plate of galbi i wasn't interested in) plus a bottle of soju and tip was $21 per person. wow. just... wow.
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