Cycle 3 – Item 231
26 (Sun) August 2012
-Sinsa, Gangnam, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ, the In-Laws
The usually-packed restaurant was oddly empty, even for a Monday. Perhaps it has something to do with a recent rise in tensions between Korea and Japan due to the Dokdo/Takeshima/Liancourt Rocks issue. Then again, I hadn’t been to Sakanaya in years (see 1.254 Engawa Nigiri Sushi), so maybe business is slow these days in general.
In the spirit of diplomacy – not to say that I believe Korea should budge one millimeter in the territorial dispute – I’ve decided for today’s post to feature a fusion dish that merges the two countries’ most famous culinary creations: Korean kimchi and Japanese sushi. More specifically, the kimchi was the super-fermented mugeunji, and the sushi was nigiri with hirame (flatfish). This combo has been a fixture at Japanese restaurants in Korea for years. It’s an interesting contrast of crunchy-chewy textures and tart-briny flavors, even though ultimately it’s mostly about the mugeunji, which is overpowering on its own but totally dominant against the one of the lightest, whitest fish varieties out there. For some reason, Koreans prefer pairing their raw fish, which is usually light and white, with strong accompaniments that render the fish itself more-or-less irrelevant. Even worse, the sushi was topped with a goopy sauce and too many aromatics.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)