Note, these were not our fish.... but typical types of fish you can see.
Though the Japanese are known world wide for sashimi.. or raw fish, Koreans take it to a whole new level. In a typical 횟집 (회:raw fish 집: house ; pronounced hwei-chip) the first task customers must perform is the selection of the creature you want to eat... straight from the tank. The owner will probably have lots of suggestions and offers for you... for example, we were given one... creature free (service-uh). I chose to eat two different kinds of fish, because, though we were offered squid, I just couldn't go that far... I've eaten enough cooked squid in this country, I don't need it raw. Then we were escorted to our seats while they pulled out our creatures with a net and brought them to the kitchen. They were kind enough to let me watch as they prepared the fish.
After watching for a bit, we went back to our table to... ehm... enjoy the appetizers. The menu included prawns, some.... unidentifiable creatures from the tank... along with the typical Korean side dishes.
Then came our main dish. Our hwei, the raw fish. That was actually the best part of the meal. I do like raw fish, but unfortunately, my stomach reaches a stopping point after about 10 or 15 bites in... and just says no more. I felt bad, because it hwei is not a cheap meal... but I did my best. It's much cheaper out here by the ocean than in Seoul.
Raw fishAfter that, came the fish stew, which was made from all the parts of the fish that aren't suitable for sashimi. I made it my job to pull out every last bone and strange thing before I would stick my spoon in. It was looking a bit bland, and my boyfriend asked... where's the spice?? Turns out they thought, because I was a foreigner, I wouldn't be able to handle the red stuff. After a few laughs, they brought over a plate of gochu powder (powder made from hot red peppers) and we had our spice back. The soup was ok, but like I said, I can only eat so much fish before my stomach quits on me.
Me with everything I took out of the fish stew
Anyway, for fish lovers, this is a must try. And, if you can go and eat it by the ocean, it will be much cheaper than eating it in Seoul.
Me by the ocean, near our 횟집