Treasures from the Korean seas

Being surrounded by sea on three sides, Koreans have not only enjoy abundant harvest from the sea, including many kinds of fish, seaweeds, and shell fish, but have a rich history of drying and salting such harvests, so that sheer variety defies the imagination.

Not far behind anchovy, which in its dried and salted versions are daily necessities, come Gheem, a sea laver, also known as Nori in Japan. Dried on square mesh to form thin paper-like appearance, it is coated with sesame oil and sprinkling of salt and toasted, and makes almost daily appearance on the dining tables all over Korea. Other seaweeds include Miyuk, Dashima and Pahrae, used to make side dishes or soup.

All coldwater fish and shellfish are caught, including cod, pollack, mullet, croaker, eel, salmon, oysters, clams, crabs, prawns, squids, etc. Koreans are used to enjoying seafood according to season. Almost all shellfish are also made into Jut Gahl that is salted, and enjoyed as a side dish. Salted pollack roes are as valued as salted oysters, but lesser Jut Gahl made from fish gills and guts also make excellent bahn Chahn, mixed with julienned vegetables, garlic and chilli powder.

Tip of the day: Koreans enjoy raw fish as much as the Japanese, and there are many Japanese style restaurants in Korea, where Hwe (raw fish) set menus offer excellent value for money.