12.036 Galchi Gui


10 (Wed) February 2021

Galchi Gui


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

w the Family

Les Crâniés Aquatique Culinaire à la Corée (8)

Inspired by the fish counter at our local supermarket (see 11.229 Gwangeo Hoe), this is part of a recurring series on Give Me This Day to explore food fishes that are available in Korea and how they are prepared.

(For other posts in the series, see CULINARY AQUATIC CRANIATES A COREE.)

Possibly the biggest galchi that I’d ever seen, and so immaculate (no nicks on the skin), I couldn’t resist.

Galchi (갈치) – sometimes Kalchii (칼치) – is a type of cutlassfish.  Linnaean classification: family Trichiuridae, genus Trichiurus, species T. lepturus.  Also known in English as Pacific cutlassfish, largehead hairtail, or beltfish.  One of the most popular food fish in Korea, typically pan-fried or braised.  Also one of the most expensive, prices varying from 10,000 won for a small one to more than 50,000 for a big one.

The galchi were priced at 55,000 won apiece.  The fishmonger offered me 2 for 100,000 won.  I countered with 99,000.  He laughed.  He agreed.  I should’ve tried for 98,000.

At 54,500 won each, about 62,000 won per kilo – the pair weighed 1.4 kg after the heads and guts were removed, so perhaps 1.6 kg to start – these galchi were the most expensive whole fish that I’ve ever purchased (see for comparison 8.079 Maya Maya Jiri Tang).

At the fattest point, each fish was about 2 cm thick.
Dusted with flour.
Pan-fried in canola + sesame oil.

Galchi was my favorite fish as a young child, until one day it wasn’t, sometime around middle school.  When I became a father, I realized why.  The fish has a lot of bones along the edges, which are easy to remove with a bit of skill, but beyond the capacity of children, so adults are very diligent in doing it for them.  When I got to a certain age, adults stopped doing it for me, at which point galchi became too much of a hassle.  Now, as a father, I remove the bones for IZ (age 8) but no longer for DJ (age 13), who continues to enjoy galchi like a child because his mommy still debones it for him and always will.

The galchi were amazing.  Crispy on the outside – some would say that the skins are even tastier than the flesh.  Being so thick, the flesh within  came away in enormous chunks, silky and tender.  Seasoned at the table with sea salt, the flavor was pristinely delicate, sweet and succulent.  Not sure if they were worth 99,000 won, but we enjoyed the luxury of the experience.

(See also FOODS.)

(See also PLACES.)

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