2.164 Yeonpo Tang


18 (Sat) June 2011

Yeonpo Tang


at Sanmaru Dolgui

-Sinsa, Gangnam, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with W and DJ, In-Laws

Sanmaru Dolgui (산마루 돌구이) is a Korean restaurant.  Specializes in octopus dishes.

This place is apparently quite famous, as suggested by all the laminated autographs on the wall, a common sight in restaurants, especially in Gangnam, that have been so blessed by the touch of celebrity.  Aside from my general contempt for Korea’s obsession with entertainers, I don’t understand the appeal of eating at a restaurant that’s patronized by singers-actors-comedians-athletes, people who aren’t ostensibly qualified to endorse food.  This is also applies to celebrity endorsements for fast food and packaged food products, here and abroad.

Whereas yeonpo tang typically involves whole octopuses, including the ink sacs, which rupture as black goo into the broth, the octopuses here were curiously absent of ink sacs, presumably removed in the kitchen.  As a result, the broth and the stir-fried rice later made from the broth were white, and somewhat bland, though some might prefer the cleaner taste and texture.

I”m wondering if the absence of ink had anything to do with the report last year in Korea that showed high levels of cadmium in octopus ink, leading to an overnight consumer boycott of anything even resembling a cephalopod.  The Korean public constantly has some kind of food villain to deal with, be it cadmium ridden octopus or mad cow stricken beef or FMD infested pork or avian flu diseased chicken, which I believe they embrace with such enthusiasm because it makes them feel that much more confident in the other, “safer” things that they’re eating.  Inevitably, the scare is always followed by health officials calling a press conference at a restaurant, where they eat the suspect item in front of the cameras to prove how safe it is.  It wouldn’t surprise me if most octopus restaurants these days avoid the ink, at least until the next villainous food appear.

(See also FOODS.)

(See also PLACES.)

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