3.319 JPN Satsumaage

Cycle 3 – Item 319

19 (Mon) November 2012

Japanese Satsumaage


at Odeng & Sake

-Yeouido, Yeongdeungpo, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with W and DJ, LHS

Project 30/30/30: 19 of 45 (see also 45/45/45)

Throughout this November, I am challenging myself to eat 30 dishes from 30 countries over the course of 30 consecutive days.

Japan is the 19th country.

Odeng & Sake is a Japanese odeng bar.

Owned by my friend LHS.  Just opened last week.

An odeng bar is a Koreanized Japanese pub.  The setup consists of one or more long tables with a tub inserted in the middle.  The tub is filled with broth and assorted odeng on skewers.  Customers seated around the table help themselves to the broth and odeng at their leisure.  The remaining skewers are tallied at the end, pricing usually ranging from 1,000 – 2,000 won each.  Dipping sauces and side dishes are provided.  Other dishes are available à la carte.  Being more of a pub than a proper restaurant, the drink menu primarily comprises alcohol.  Given the odeng bar’s (supposed) origins in Japan, most of the food and booze tend to be Japanese, though mainstream establishments also offer Korean fare.  It’s a quick – and sometimes cheap – way to get a light snack and drink before/after dinner, especially on a cold winter’s night, when the steam from the broth fogs up the windows and makes the experience all the more enticing.

Satsumaage is Japanese fishcake.  Made from ground fish paste, usually comprising white fish, which is formed into various shapes and deep-fried.  Served as with a dipping sauce or as a component in a soup dish.  Attributed to the southern province of Satsuma.

In Korea, satsumaage is traditionally referred to as “odeng.”  The terms derives from the Japanese dish oden, a soup of dashi stock along with various types of satsumaage.  Nowadays, a shifting trend is to use the term “eomuk,” which is Korean for “fish (eo) cake (muk).”  It’s most commonly found at food carts (see for example 2.159 Spicy Odeng Skewers), but also in a variety of other dishes, so ubiquitous that most Koreans don’t really think of it as Japanese (the way that Americans don’t consciously consider the macaroni in mac & cheese as being Italian).

Broiled Mackerel (3.5): so rich and soft and juicy, as if deep-fried in butter.

I took W and DZ for a visit early in the evening to avoid the crowds, having heard that business is already booming.  Based on our first experience, the immediate popularity of the place seems obvious.  The food was excellent.

Hitachino Nest Ale: totally not worth 20,000 won.

The selection of exclusively Japanese alcohols was impressive, including beer, sake, and sochu.  Of course, that resulted in quite the heavy bill, even though I was the only one drinking – 92,000 won for everything.  Ouch.  But we enjoyed it thoroughly.

In total, we had 14 odeng skewers, DJ alone accounting for 7 of them.

(See also BOOZE)



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