22 (Fri) April 2011
Steamed Yellow Corvina in Soy-Ginger Sauce
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
The only occasion in my life that I’ve ever enjoyed steamed fish occurred in 2006 at a Chinese restaurant in Florence, Italy – at the time, maybe even now, the only Chinese restaurant in Florence, Italy. W and I were on vacation, scheduled for 2 nights in Florence followed by 2 nights in Rome. Learning just a few days earlier that she was pregnant – Korean women believe that pregnancy is a time of gastrointestinal turmoil, which is true, requiring a steady Korean diet, which is not really true – she swooned in dismay at the notion of eating “heavy” food like, say, pasta, and demanded “lighter” fare like, say, noodles – a distinction that Koreans often make, though I don’t get it myself. However, Florence is a very small, traditional town with great local restaurants, but not at all cosmopolitan with respect to cuisine. As far as we could determine, it had a solitary Chinese restaurant and a modern fusion Japanese restaurant. After one visit to the Japanese place, which was awful and way over-priced, we were left with the Chinese place, which was awful but more reasonably priced. After a couple days, W suddenly decided that she was in no condition to travel to Rome, where we could’ve had more options, including Korean food, so we stayed in Florence for the entire 4 days and ate lousy Chinese food the whole time. It wasn’t even really Chinese food, just random pairings of diced vegetables and meats, stir-fried in soy sauce. On our final visit, I gave up trying to find anything tasty on the menu and asked the waiter to bring us whatever he thought was worthy of the VIP customers that we had become. The result was steamed fish. Like everything else, it came with soy sauce. But it was pretty good. We ate every last speck of it.
I tried to recreate that dish here. The sauce was okay, but the strong, somewhat fishy flavor of the yellow corvina overpowered the delicate soy and ginger combination.
(For more details re food, see WHAT)
(For more details re venues, see WHERE IN KOREA)