Cycle 4 – Item 15
20 (Sun) January 2013
at Deungdae Sutbul Jangeo
-Gangwha, Incheon, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ, AHY + KIT + JH, CJH + KKH, LHS + YYH
As per our tradition of sampling a regional specialty to wrap up every camping trip, we packed up the gear from yesterday’s overnighter and went for dinner.
Deungdae Sutbul Jangeo is a Korean restaurant. Specializes in eel, including gaetbeol jangeo. It came highly recommended among many similar places in Ganghwa, an island just off the coast of Incheon, which is renowned for eel in general, the gaetbol variety in particular.
Gaetbeol Jangeo (갯벌 장어) is freshwater eel, farm-raised in mud. In Korean, “gaetbeol” means “mudflat,” as those found at low tide in lieu of sand along the west coast of the Korean Peninsula, which is famous for the practice; “jangeo = eel.” The eels, forced to exert greater effort in getting around, develop firmer flesh in the process, making the meat much chewier.
Of course, it isn’t cheap: here, an order of gaetbeol eel was 140,000 won for 1 kg (about 3-4 eels), compared to 90,000 won for 1 kg of standard eel. In terms of preparation, gaetbeol eel is typically grilled over coals and served with a variety of side dishes, wraps, and dipping sauces, pretty much like eel anywhere in Korea.
My first experience with gaetbeol, I found that the texture was indeed much chewier than and therefore superior to the standard stuff. Whether that extra bite is worth the extra cost, I’m still wondering. Everything else about the meal service was mediocre
Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties involving my computer, I lost the supplemental photos relating to this meal.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)