29 (Sun) May 2011
at Haesong Hoejib
-Gangneung, Gangwon, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ, MtG, CBD
After camping out on the mountain (see 2.143 Smoked Duck with Buchu and Perilla Leaves in Onion-Wasabi Dressing), we awoke to find the entire range completely engulfed in fog. At parts along the trail on the way down, we couldn’t see farther than 10 meters ahead. It was an entirely different experience than what we had encountered on the way up, but fascinating in its own way. Awesome.
In keeping with our tradition of wrapping up a camping trip by sampling a local delicacy at a famous restaurant in the area, we made a few inquiries and settled on a restaurant called Haeseong Hoejib (해성 횟집) in Gangneung Central Market (강능중앙시장), about 15 kilometers from the mountain range where we’d spent the previous night. The restaurant offered but two dishes: al tang and samsuki tang, a soup made from samsuki fish. None of us had ever heard of samsuki, so we were intrigued.
Our curiosity paid off. The broth was spicy, garlicky, intensely rich in fish flavor, totally refreshing. For the sake of comparison, we also ordered a bowl of the al tang, which seemed to be made from the same stock and thus more or less identical to the other but with less fish flavor. The fish, chopped up into small chunks, was clean and white in taste, a bit chewy in texture, and surrounded by cartilage and black skin and spiny bones, much like a monk fish. The innards (featured prominently in the photo), from some other unidentified fish, I found to be unpleasantly devoid of taste and nauseatingly spongy, though my companions seemed to enjoy them. One of us asked, “Are these fish brains?” Another replied, “Fish don’t have brains that big.” Overall, the dish was worthy of the hype and worth the extra drive.
(See also FOODS.)
(See also PLACES.)