20 (Mon) December 2010
by my aunt
at their home
-Seongsu, Seongdong, Seoul, Korea-
with W and DJ, Mom and Dad, maternal-side relatives
Ganjang gejang (간장게장) is a Korean dish. Raw crabs (ge) pickled (jang) in soy sauce (ganjang). That brownish slime in the photo, that’s basically what crab flesh looks like when it isn’t all cooked and nice and white and fluffy. The orange goo, that’s the eggs. Using the shell body as a bowl, steaming white rice is plopped into that slime and goo and mixed with a spoon and consumed with savage abandon. The remaining bits, like the legs, are taken with the fingers and inserted into the mouth, shells and all, and crunched down with the teeth to extract whatever slime and goo lurk within.
To the uninitiated, this probably doesn’t look so great, perhaps quite the opposite of great. But in all seriousness, they’re pretty good.
The passion that this dish inspires in die-hards is astounding. My wife could eat 2 whole crabs, with 2 bowls of rice, by herself in a single sitting. Every day of the week, and twice on Sunday.
My aunt’s culinary claim to fame are these crabs, which she’ll make twice a year on the occasions when our family gets together to celebrate jesa. Tonight was one such occasion.
As soon as that platter hits the table, the scramble that ensues to secure one of the shell bodies is embarrassing. From their reaction, I believe this would rate very close to 4.0 on a more objective scale, but personally I’m not a huge fan.
(For more details re food, see WHAT)
(For more details re venues, see WHERE IN KOREA)