Local Delicacy Made with Fresh Catch
Jaecheop, or Corbicula fluminea, is a species of freshwater clam. Also known as Asian clam, jaecheop is commonly found in southern rivers of Korea. Nowadays, Seomjin River, flowing through Jeolla-do, is a major producer of jaecheop. However, the lower course of Nakdong river, flowing into the Korea Strait by Busan, was once abundant in freshwater shellfish as well. Naturally, jecheop dishes became one of Busan’s many local delicacies.
Halmae Jaecheopguk is located a block away from the sandy beach of Gwangalli, a popular tourist destination. The place was first established in Gupo in 1950’s. The restaurant operates 24 hours a day which makes it a great destination for late-night beach-goers.
There are two different kinds of soup: regular and thick. The soup is made by diluting the concentrate with water. They even sell packaged jaecheop concentrate so you can make your own soup at home. We got to try both and came to a conclusion that the flavour of thicker soup may just be too strong–to the point that it tastes bitter. Thinner soup is smoother and just as flavourful.
The Revolutionary Jaecheop Bibimbap
Another intriguing item on the menu was jaecheop bibimbap. As a huge fan of bibimbap, I had to give it a try. The large bowl was filled with shredded vegetables and clam meat. The sweet gochuchang sauce was scented with sesame oil. Add the rice and a few spoonful of jaecheop soup to mix it all up. One of the best bibimbaps I have ever had.