Sunday, January 24, 2021

[Food] Gejang (게장, Marinated Crab)


[Food] Gejang (게장, Marinated Crab)

Koreans have loved marinated and fermented food for a long time, particularly when it comes to seafood. Seafood couldn't be stored for a long time so they invented recipes that could do so preventing them from becoming rotten and stale.

Gejang (게장, Marinated Crab) is a traditional Korean marinating recipe which marinates live crab caught in the autumn (usually blue crab caught from the West Sea, but freshwater crab can be used too) in soy sauce with garlic and spicy chili, to be eaten the following summer as a side dish. It can be marinated in spicy chili sauce too but Koreans usually prefer soy-sauce marinated crab because it's more savory and has a deeper flavor of crab.

Recipes of gejang were written in many traditional cookbooks in Korea since the 1600s (Chosun Dynasty), but some people argue that gejang was eaten even before then. Gyeongsang (South-east region), Jeonra (South-west region) and Jeju Island are all famous for gejang, and each region has its own recipe with its unique ingredients and style.

Ganjang Gejang (Soy sauce marinated crab)

Yangnyeom Gejang (Spicy sauce marinated crab)

The flesh, intestines and egg of a crab is very soft, silky and even slimy with a savory, salty and sea-like flavor. Because of its salty and savory flavor, Koreans usually call it 'Babdoduk', which means 'Rice Thief' in Korean, because it makes people eat more quantities and more rapidly than other dishes.

However, people (including Koreans) usually think gejang looks gross and too exotic with its fishy smell, so it is a food of strong likes and dislikes.

Saewoojang (Marinated shrimp, same recipe with gajang but different ingredient)

Typical Korean meal with gajang and saewoojang

If you think you are a seafood or crab lover, how about trying gejang? It will be a great challenge, but also great fun :)

Bon Appétit!

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