13.048 Okdom Gui

Cycle 13 – Item 48

22 (Tue) February 2022

Okdom Gui

3.5

at Seobaekja Ganjang Gejang

-Samseong, Gangnam, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with W, Mom + Dad

Seobaekja Ganjang Gejang is a Korean restaurant.  Specializes in ganjang gejang, also offers a range of other seafood items.  Quite pricy for an otherwise casual family-style establishment, most dishes between 40,000 and 100,000 won.  Target clientele: upperish middle-class middle-aged women – the opposite of Ajeossi Bellwether Standard (see generally 2.248 Mandu Jeongol).

The occasion was my mother’s 74th birthday.

Although we’d proposed several “fancy” options, she rejected them and chose Seobaekja Ganjang Gejang.

My mother plays bridge every week at a bridge club nearby.  The members – upperish middle-class middle-aged women (come to think of it, my mother’s no longer middle-aged; I’m middle-aged) – usually go out for dinner afterwards, sometimes at this place – “unless someone suggests something fancy.”

Looks like a mafia boss and his wife, or the other way around.

As we were getting seated, my mother said, sighing deeply: “When I told the ladies that I was having dinner here on my birthday, they were shocked that it’s not somewhere fancy” – classic Mom-brand passive-aggressive humility/arrogance.

Banchan (3.0)

I suspect that her primary reason for choosing the restaurant is that neither my father nor I eat ganjang gejang.   Every other day of the year, my mother embraces the long-suffering martyr role come mealtime, sacrificing her own preferences in deference to husband (very true) and son (not really true) – classic Mom-brand passive-aggressive lament/joy.  So, on her birthday, she wanted to do her own thing, even at the expense of shocking her bridge buddies.

Ganjang Gejang: 47,000 won.

The grilled okdom – my selected dish – was excellent.  Exquisitely deep-fried, crispy on the outside, juicy and flaky inside, even though the fish was very thin.  Delicately seasoned to accentuate the sweet flavor of the white flesh.  But ridiculously expensive, each half fillet comprising perhaps 2 large bites costing 10,000 won.

Okdom Gui (3.5): 40,000 won.

Anyway, the food was good all around.  With immaculate banchan, the meal felt like a high-end home spread prepared by a professional in-house chef, like in a chaebol household – fancy, indeed.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)

(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)

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