South Korea’s biggest port city, Busan, has a thriving seafood industry, and tourists from all over the world flock to taste its salty wares. The city’s seafood dishes are many and varied, but there are some you can’t miss, and we’ve rounded up the most important ones. Happy eating!
Originally brought to Korea by the Japanese, fish cakes (eomuk) are a staple of Korean food, and Busan fish cakes are particularly famous thanks to the city’s reputation for fresh seafood. Try them at almost any street food stall, or head to Samjin Fish Cake Bakery, on the second floor of Busan Station. The oldest fish cake producer still trading in Busan, Samjin sells a wide variety of different fish cakes. Eat them as a cold snack, or take them home with you.
Nutritious and delicious, a bowl of steaming hot haemultang — Korean seafood stew — should set you up nicely for even the most strenuous of days. For some of the best in town, head to Jeongwon Haemultang, near Gwangalli Beach. Like many of Busan’s tastiest restaurants, its unassuming premises mask a perfectly-executed menu. The star of the show is the restaurant’s ultra-fresh, top-quality seafood, which is highlighted by pleasingly simple recipes — seasonings are subtle, allowing the natural flavours of the ingredients to shine through. Seating is Korean-style, on the floor. Reservations are recommended, as the restaurant can be very busy.
Tang means ‘soup’, and Chueotang is said to make you beautiful — perhaps one of the reasons it’s so popular! This property seems a little incongruous given that its main ingredient is mudfish, which looks just as visually appealing as it sounds. The dish contains lots of vitamins, minerals and calcium, however, which are believed to improve the complexion and boost radiance. The mudfish is also ground into the soup, releasing a number of nutrients from the bones. It’s not, strictly speaking, a seafood dish — mudfish is a freshwater fish, given its name by the muddy waters it inhabits — but given its benefits (and surprisingly mouthwatering taste), we’ll let that slide. A great version is to be found a little out of town, at local restaurant Gupo Chueotang.
Near Busan Station, you’ll find Dulae Agujjim, a restaurant which serves a generously-portioned, great version of Busan’s specialty dish agujjim. Agujjim is often translated into English as ‘braised spicy angler fish’ – jjim encompasses a variety of steamed foods, and agu (or sometimes agwi) is the Korean name for blackmouth angler fish. Not one for the spice-shy, agujjim is one of Korea’s more punchy seafood dishes, with chilli powder, garlic, and ginger all making an appearance. The spicy fish flesh is offset by crunchy bean sprouts mixed into the dish.
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