Korea loves seafood.  It is no surprise as the country is enclosed by the sea.  The ocean is abundant with variety of tasty sea creatures that had allowed our ancestors to survive over generations.  Out of many seafood items, pollock (or pollack) is downright one of the most popular and versatile fish that has constantly made its appearance on our dinner table.  Pollock is a flavorful whitefish that is being consumed around the world.  However, I can confidently say that Koreans are the ones who make the most use out of a mere fish and transform it into limitless possibilities using the culinary magic.

A pollock can have many names depend on how they were prepared.  A fresh-caught that has been dried repeatedly with winter’s chill will be called “Hwangtae”.  A hwangtae is high in protein and has soft flesh making it easily enjoyable for people of all ages.  It is also widely known that a hwangtae is great for relieving hangovers.

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A local joint in Daejeon is our family’s go-to place when we feel like hwangtae.  The place’s specialty is hwangtae and hwangtae only.  Everything on the menu is made of hwangtae although the list is not long.  Clear soups and hot pots are popular as well but the place’s main star is grilled hwangtae served on hot stone plate.  The gochujang-based sauce appears to be spicy but the dish is more on sweet and salty side than spicy.  A bowl of rice and hwangtae broth are served alongside.  Grilled hwangtae on its own could be a bit salty and it is more considered as a banchan that should be consumed with rice.