The last bike trip of 2016 was the one to remember: from Gwangju to westcoast city of Mokpo. The route that runs along Youngsan-gang (river) goes through the province of Jeolla-do, the part of Korea famous for their unique traditional fare.
As a way to celebrate our achievement, we decided to go for something rare and out-of-ordinary. A quick search on smartphone led us to a sashimi place nearby that serves daily catch. Today’s special: A pomfret or so-called butterfish.
Byeongeo (병어) was what was on the special menu. It’s a large, diamond-shaped fish with small mouth and silver scales. I heard of making a jorim (boiled with marinade) with this one but never had its raw flesh before. Wikipedia says brama brama, a species of pomfret, is an important food source in South Asia. So I assume this must be the kind that has funny name.
Like most raw fish, the flavour is barely there but what’s important here is the texture of the flesh. The slimy piece of flesh has its soft backbone in the middle. In Korea, some fish are eaten raw with their bones in them. To compensate the blandness, a soybean paste condiment accompanies the sashimi piece along with choice of garlic and hot pepper. I personally favour the sesame leaf wraps. The subtle scent of sesame leaf blocks any fishiness and enhances the texture and overall flavour.