Cycle 4 – Item 6
11 (Fri) January 2013
at Oden & Sake
-Yeouido, Yeongdeungpo, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ, LHS
Jaban (자반) is a Korean technique for salting fish. It just involves throwing salt on a fish, both on the exterior and into the belly cavity. When done right, the salt provides a delicate seasoning that runs deep through the flesh; when overdone, even slightly, the flesh ferments to the point of being tough and bitter. The process was originally developed back in the day for the purpose of preservation, which is now largely obsolete, though convenience is still a factor as jaban fish will keep in the fridge for a long time. The jaban treatment is most commonly applied to mackerel – specifically, the species godeungeo. Though usually eaten at home, jaban godeungeo can sometimes be found as anju in pubs, especially Japanese-style pubs.
At LHS’s oden bar, the jaban godeungeo is awesome. The fish itself is sourced from the waters off Jeju Island, where the tastiest mackerel in the entire Pacific Ocean supposedly swim. Broiled to perfection, crispy on the outside, tender inside, the perfectly salted flesh was juicy and savory, almost sweet. I could eat five of them in a single sitting. At 13,000 won a pop, it wasn’t cheap, but totally worth it.
(See also BOOZE)
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)