2.319 Hoe in Chogowamago Sauce


20 (Sun) October 2011

Hoe in Chogowamago Sauce


at Drama Hoe Town

(Daecheon Seafood Market)

-Boryeong, Chungcheongnam, Republic of Korea-

with MtG + gf, CBD, et al.

Wonsando Camping (Day 2 of 2)

In the morning, we ate breakfast and packed our gear and set off for the dock to catch the noon ferry back to the mainland.
Alas, my cushy ride going in wasn’t available on the way out, so I was forced to perambulate like the rest of them.
When I’m not hobbled by injury, I like island backpacking because it feels like I’m going somewhere but doesn’t involve hills.

Having arranged the trip at the last minute, we’d been unable to secure earlier train tickets to Seoul, which gave us 5 hours to kill in Boryeong.  An internet search for the best eats in town pointed us towards the local fish market, where we could buy fresh seafood from a fishmonger.

We took our goodies to an adjacent restaurant, which prepared the fish in various ways for a charge, like the system described in my birthday post last cycle (see 1.357 Steamed King Crab).

All that gear for an overnighter.

Hoe (회) is raw fish in the Korean tradition.  As described below, Korean hoe may be distinguished from Japanese sashimi in three ways: the types of fish consumed, the dipping sauce, and the side dishes.  Raw fish is as popular here and embraced as part of the national cuisine as it is over there.

In Korea, the standard dipping sauce for raw fish is chogochujang.  It consists of vinegar (sikcho) and red chili paste (gochujang).  The powerful sour-spicy combination drowns out whatever is dipped in it and makes it all about the sauce rather than the fish.  This is especially true when the fish is white and light, as are most varieties eaten raw by Koreans.  In fact, I suspect that the masking effect is intentional, given that fish caught locally in the warm waters surrounding the Korean peninsula (e.g., flatfish) tend to be relatively lean and flavorless and otherwise a bit fishy compared to deep sea fish (e.g., tuna).

The sauce presented here is a hyped up version.  Add minced garlic + diced green chilies + wasabi paste.  Each additional component – commonly available at any sashimi restaurant in Korea nowadays, either on the table or by request – contributed a different dimension of spiciness, making the sauce all the more overpowering.  According to my companions, it’s the not-so-secret secret sauce that every self-respecting Korean hoe aficionado should know.  For convenience, I’ve named it “chogowamago,” a portmanteau of the Korean names for the ingredients.

The sashimi and chogowamago sauce was but one part of the feast that ensued. Not too shabby at 15,000 won per person.

(See also FOODS)

(See also PLACES)

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