Thursday, July 9, 2020

[Food] Ggaejangeotang (깨장어탕, Elvers Soup)


[Food] Ggaejangeotang (깨장어탕, Elvers Soup)

Ggaejangeotang (깨장어탕, Elvers Soup)

Yeosu is not only famous for its beautiful night sea view and gatkimchi (Mustard Kimchi), but also for its dish of sea eel. Many restaurants make broiled sea eel and spicy eel soup, but not many for today's dish Ggaejangeotang (깨장어탕, Elvers Soup).

'Ggae' usually means 'sesame' in Korean so 'Ggaejangeotang' sounds like 'sesame and eel soup', but it means 'baby' in the dialect of Jeolla province. So 'Ggaejangeotang' means 'elvers soup'. Actually, local cooks in Yeosu put a lot of perilla powder (which is similar to sesame) to cook ggaejangeotang.

I've visited a small, local (but popular) ggaejangeotang restaurant in Yeosu. It was already booming with customers from neighboring and nationwide cities throughout Korea.

Ggaejangeotang (Elvers Soup) with side dishes

Gatkimchi (Mustard Kimchi) is Must-Have-Dish in Yeosu

People who disike sea food or are not familiar with eel would say, 'I don't want to taste this dish ever. It's wrong and disgusting eating baby eel!' But if you've ever tasted ggaejangeotang, you may regret having said that and change your mind.

Elver fillet is chopped and boiled with dried radish leaves, perilla powder and doenjang paste. Its savory and marine-flavored soup fills ones palate, and the silky and chewy elver meat goes very well with crispy-dried radish leaves. It gives a mixture of all the mild flavors that Koreans (or non-Koreans) love most. I think that savory, marine-flavored soup with elver stock and doenjang paste provides more than 90% of ggaejangeotang's gorgeous flavor.

Moreover, I love that the chef puts so many elver fillets into the soup :) How generous she was. If you are a seafood lover who will visit Yeosu, Korea someday, don't miss out on ggaejangeotang :)

Bon Appétit!