Cycle 5 – Item 63
9 (Sun) March 2014
-Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines-
with Uncle CS, YHL and her parents (OPP)
Dageumbari is a type of grouper. White flesh, firm when cooked, light flavor – kinda like a dryish cod. In Korea, specifically the island of Jeju, the fish is served as sashimi, reportedly for prices of up to 500,000 won per fish.
A fairly common fish in the Philippines, where it’s called “lapu lapu” and served at Cantonese-influenced seafood restaurants as per “garoupa” dishes from Hong Kong or Macau (see for example 5.006 Steamed Lapu-Lapu in Soy-Ginger Sauce).
This evening, I was forced to eat Korean food, in Manila, at a place that I’ve already been to, with people that I don’t know, and don’t really need to. At dinner yesterday, my know-it-all uncle – you think that I’m a know-it-all, you have no idea – went on at length to describe all the varieties of grouper/garoupa/lapulapu/dageumbari worldwide, including the thing about the fish at this restaurant. When YH expressed an interest in trying it, they agreed to have daegeumbari hoe for dinner tonight, along with her parents, who are in town to visit. Swellsville. Not that I have anything against them per se, just not down with OPP (other people’s parents).
The food was mediocre overall. As per standard Korean practice, the fish came with a constant stream of side dishes, which were okay if unremarkable. The fish itself was meh. Generally, raw white fish is mostly about the chewy texture and the purity of flavor. Here, the grouper/lapulapu/dageumbari(perch, as per the menu) was indeed chewy – in fact, we ordered 1/2 farmed and 1/2 wild for comparison; the latter seemed to be slightly chewier, but otherwise the same in taste, not worth the extra money. Moreover, the flesh of both had a slight aftertaste of dirt – like catfish, though not as strong – as lapu lapu tends to be even when cooked, so I didn’t like it that much, certainly not worth the high price. Oh well.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN PHILIPPINES)