Finally, my last restaurant from my Korean chapter. (Almost 6 months overdue?).
If you’ve been keeping up with my blogs, you’ll know that B does not like seafood. But I just felt my trip in Jeju Island wouldn’t be complete if I don’t try some Korean sashimi. With its geographical advantage, Jeju’s seafood are fresh and abundant. We strolled around Dongmum Traditional Market and Jungang Underground Shopping Centre during the day. Then we wandered off in the direction of the harbour. (Part way through, I think we passed the Black Pork Street). Anyways, lined along the harbour are many seafood restaurants decorated with tanks filled with lively fish and colourful banners. Apparently, this street is their Seobudu Sashimi Street.
To a foreigner, it was really hard to distinguish among them when you can’t read Hangul?. Now, due to the close proximity and Jeju Island’s popularity among Chinese tourists, most stores or restaurants will try to employ someone that speaks Mandarin.
I decided to head into this restaurant because the Chinese lady standing outside was super nice, and I was hoping she could help me interpret?. Apparently, her main job was to bring in customers, so I’d say she succeeded.
Here was the menu she recommended. The 120,000 won was for 2 people, 150,000 won for 3 and 200,000 for 4. As you can see, it was obviously more cost effective if you go out in a big group for seafood. And again, the minimum order was for 2 people at least?. I explained to her that B won’t be eating anything. So, she confirmed with the owner and said they’ll make an exception for me. They will charge us 60,000 won and serve all the dishes in the picture except the hot stuffs like soup, fried tempura etc. I took a picture of it so I’ll remember what to expect.
If I remembered correctly, there were mackerel and belt fish sashimi. I asked the girl what the other two were, she didn’t know either, lol?. She said you eat the sashimi wrapped in perilla leaves with a little bit of sauce. I just ate it as is. I really enjoyed the belt fish.
There two sashimi where they left the bones in. Seemed like they were very tiny fishes, hard to eat and I didn’t like them. They would probably be better if it was just the fillet.
I think the main sashimi was sea bream? Looked like it from the pictures I googled, lol. I am not sure, but it tasted very delicious! I finished it all?. Part way through our dinner, the chef was preparing for another table upstairs. Since we were seated right near the entrance, he gave us a whole show on how he netted a big fish out of the tank, hammered that jumpy fish until it passed out, and prepared it for plating.
Anyways, turned out they did end up giving us the corn and tempura yam, which all went into B’s tummy.
Here is the seafood stew made with mostly fish bones. I am assuming this is how they use the leftover of post-sashimi fish bodies. Plus, the fish bones gave the stew lots of flavour. Quite tasty!
I was excited about the rest of my order as I see plates of shrimp and oysters being brought upstairs. However, after the stew, it seemed like they stopped serving. I ask the girl and she said this was all. I thought “hold on a second”, pulled out my picture, and asked her about the shrimp, conch, octopus, oyster and some of the other fish that I don’t know the name of. Because, clearly, the picture presented more varieties. I told her that it was misleading for her to tell me at the beginning they will serve all that was on the picture and not the hot foods. I didn’t want to put her in a tough spot because I figured she probably doesn’t have control over it, but I just wanted to voice my dissatisfaction. Not like I could make the restaurant owner understand me with my limited Korean vocabulary. The girl said she could try to talk to the owner and get me some shrimp or conch. At that point, I was quite full anyways, so I said “it’s ok, I just don’t like how the picture misrepresent the actual dinner”. But then again, normally, that menu was set for a minimum of 2 people, so maybe I was being too difficult. I felt bad that I complained to the nice Chinese girl but I also felt maybe I was ripped off, (although I don’t know the normal pricing for what I received). Anyways, it was a great dinner experience until the end. Sorry for my rant.
My advice – when travelling, always order from a concrete and detailed menu that lists specifically what is included, never order off the menu unless you know the owner or the restaurant very well.
Unknown Seafood Restaurant
Somewhere on Seobudu gil, Jeju
Off menu seafood selection for 1 person – 60,000 kwon