Thursday, May 21, 2020

[Food] Jangeo-Guyi (장어구이, Broiled Eel)


[Food] Jangeo-Guyi (장어구이, Broiled Eel)

Jangeo-Guyi (장어구이, Broiled Eel)

What is a typical health (energising) food that is well-known for being a natural aphrodisiac in your country? In Korea, eel is the most famous and typical aphrodisiac. I don't know how long, how or why it has become so but if you've ever seen and caught eel before you'll clearly understand why eel is known as a 'natural aphrodisiac' in Korea :)

Jangeo (장어, Freshwater Eel)

Eel has a long, thick cylinder-like body and is naturally lubricated all over. It wriggles and will resist and powerfully retaliate if you dare catch it with your bare hands. You would feel filled with the energy of an eel as soon as you touch it. It is also dangerous freshwater fish of prey, secretly hiding itself among water plants (e.g. reef) to bite its prey with one shot, then rolls and binds its body over its prey to choke and break it.

Nevertheless, it's only seen as a delicious fish to Koreans, as with the Japanese and some Europeans. It's solid flesh becomes very smooth and silky, absorbing any sauce including red chili paste, soy sauce and salt. It is rumored that the tale of an eel is the source of its energy, so men are so eager (or sometimes compete) to eat eel's tale when they go to a jangeo-guyi restaurant :)

Soy-sauce marinated Jangeo-Guyi (장어구이, Broiled Eel)

Salted Jangeo-Guyi (장어구이, Broiled Eel)

Koreans broil eel on a charcoal, grill or iron net, helping reduce its fatty and unpleasant fishy odor. Jangeo-guyi is usually served with chopped ginger and green vegetables to give a refreshing taste.

A piece of jangeo-guyi with chopped ginger, onion, perilla leaf and lettuce

There are many kinds of eel in Korea such as conger (sea eel), lamprey and hag fish but freshwater eel is the most popular because of its tender flesh that cannot be compared to other kinds.

I remember when I went eel fishing in Australia. I read in a native fishing guidebook that eel is not a well-studied species but treated as a 'spiritual' fish so you should just let it go when caught. Although the eel I caught that day became a great dinner the next day, it is very true that eels are a very mysterious fish whose original habitat and life cycle are not yet clearly known. It's only known that Mariana Trench is a spawning ground for eels caught in Asia and Australia. I'm sure world ichthyologists will discover everything about eels in the near future :)

Nowadays, eel is one of the most expensive foods in Korea but there are many eel farms in Korea so it's cheaper than before :) So if you are feeling tired and suffering from fatigue, how about some jangeo-guyi? :) I'm sure that it will restore all your energy, if you are okay with fish :)

Bon Appétit!


  1. Oh my goodness I LOVE EEL! The day i can execute this, is truly the day of miracles. Thank you for sharing :)

  2. This is a very good article. I can only but agree with my friend's comment above:)