31 (Sun) July 2011
at Dong-Suwon Agu-Jjim
-Suwon, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ, Mom and Dad
Bok (복) is blowfish, aka pufferfish, fugu (Japanese), tetraodontidae (Latin). Famously poisonous, requiring special chefs who can safely extract the edible bits. Doesn’t really taste much like anything but has a clean and lean flavor with a slightly chewy texture when eaten raw. The chambok (참복) is a sub-species that’s leaner and chewier and costs about double.
This restaurant, a five-minute drive from Ajou University, was one of my favorite restaurants for both agu jjim and bok jjim, but no longer. First of all, the flesh of the fish was unpleasantly flaky, a sign of extended freezing. When asked, the owner looked to the side and mumbled that, no, the fish was completely fresh. On top of that, in reference to the old joke about the soup being terrible and not enough of it, there wasn’t enough of it. At 70,000 won for the platter, which included just 6 tiny pieces of fish, a complete ripoff.
The plan had been to enjoy a family feast on the eve of my mother’s surgery. Scheduled to have a benign growth in her nasal cavity removed the following morning at Ajou University Hospital, we got her checked in and then promptly smuggled her out for a final good meal to carry her through the next couple weeks, when all the blood and bandages shoved up her nose would prevent her from tasting anything. Also, the word “bok” is a homonym for “luck.” The food wasn’t very good, but hopefully it was lucky.
(See also FOODS.)
(See also PLACES.)