12.293 Makhoe

Cycle 12 – Cycle 293

25 (Mon) October 2021

Makhoe

4.0

at Chojangjib

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

with W

Chojangjib is a Korean restaurant.  Specializes in makhoe, as well as other seafood dishes.  The name of the restaurant is in reference to choguchujang, vinegaired (cho) chili paste (gochujang), which is the standard condiment for Korean seafoods.

On the main signage, the name of the restaurant is written upside down.

W and I were running an errand nearby, when we passed by and noticed the sign.  Immediately recognizing it to be a silly marketing ploy, we fell for it nevertheless and walked over to take a closer look.

The plastic chairs and stainless steel tables are reminiscent of patio seating at cheap pubs.

The decor was clearly intended to convey that the owners weren’t wasting any money on frills, all substance over style.  Another marketing ploy, and we bought it.

The “menu” comprises pieces of A4 paper taped to the wall, each written out by hand – another loud proclamation about the humble nature of the business.

Although I haven’t been making a concerted effort to reduce meat consumption, October has largely been meat free, including 8 posts featuring vegetable-only dishes.   I’m finding it easier to follow a pescatarian diet in Kore these days.  So, I was happy to try the restaurant.

Unlimited refills.
Two condiments: chogochujang (back) and ssamjang (front).

Makhoe (막회) is a Korean dish.  As far as I’m aware, it’s the same dish as sekkosi (see generally 8.299 Sekkosi), but with a Korean name, which means “chopped (mak) raw fish (hoe),” another example of the modern trend to eliminate Japanese words from everyday usage.  The dish arose in fish markets along the coast, with smaller fish that otherwise couldn’t be sold.

This was a mini platter for 20,000 won, ordinarily available only for takeout, but we had already ordered food to go (for the kids).

At this restaurant, makhoe comes with three types of fish.  The manager claimed that the fish is delivered daily, whatever is freshest and cheapest, so that the fish selections rotate randomly.

Today, the fish included gajami (sole) + cheongeo (herring) + mijuguri (another type of sole).

Seaweed wrap.

At first, we tried to play it cool by carefully constructing wraps with individual components.

The vegetables – including baby sprouts, stringed radish, shredded cabbage, matchstick cucumbers – were not just for show, as in typical hoe/sashimi arrangements, but rather provided to be consumed with the fish.

Soon into it, we dumped the condiments into the platter and mixed everything up, as had been suggested by the manager.

I preferred the laver wraps.

The food was awesome.  Perfectly fresh fish and vegetables, perfectly matched sides and wraps, perfectly seasoned condiments.  Every bite was an explosion of harmonious flavors and textures.

We nearly licked the plates.

At last, we have a favorite local restaurant.

(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)

(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)

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