Daniel Gray is a Korean-American Adoptee that returned to Korea in 2005 to rediscover his roots. He is a Korean food expert that has appeared on Bizarre Foods, Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain and more. He does food tours, events, and consulting in Seoul and owns two restaurants: Brew 3.14 and Brew 3.15 in Seoul.
Hwae: Full Course Korean Raw Seafood Meal
I was pleasantly surprised when I went to Guro Digital Complex Exit 3. Here I found a vast array of great restaurants including this gem, Hae Hyun. We ordered the medium sized full course meal (around 80,000 won). This was easily enough for 3 or 4 people.They started us out with a number of side dishes and live octopus. The one we had was a very lively fellow and it was very difficult to get him off the plate because he kept sucking to the plate. Then we also had some Gaebul (the red thing below). It was so fresh that it was still moving (but not sucking to your tongue like the live octopus). This is much better than seasquirt (not shown here, but it's an orange, yellow color). I think seasquirt tastes like cologne.
Gaebul up close
Eventually, the main course came: the sliced fish. The way that I check the skill of the chef is by looking closely at the cut of the fish. If the fish has a shiny sheen and relatively dry then the chef has used a sharp knife and has swiftly cut it. At Hae Hyun, I can say that the chef is pretty skilled and the fish is very flesh. We got a variety of seabream, flounder, and snapper. But of course, the fish is just another course. There was even more food forthcoming.
Korean Raw Fish
Along with the raw fish, we got some crispy tempura.
Broiled fish with spicy sauce.
Broiled Fish with Spicy Sauce
And finally, we ended the meal with a spicy fish soup.
Spicy Fish Stew
Although, Hae Hyun doesn't do anything special, but they do it very well. The fish is extremely fresh, the chefs are skilled, and there is a vast variety of food. I would definitely recommend you head over for a meal.
Directions: Go out Guro Digital Complex exit 3 and make a left. It will be about 2 blocks down on the left.
The Best Jajamyeon in Seoul by Daniel Gray Jajangmyeon 짜장면: Korea's favorite hand pulled noodles in an black sauce is also a favorite dish of mine. It's so famous they even have a holiday for it. It's filling and hearty like a bowl of spaghetti but with Asian flair. It's one of those dishes that you can get whenever you need a quick meal and it doesn't break the wallet. It's a pretty ubiquitous dish and every Chinese restaurant must have it. If it does it well, the place becomes famous. If it is just alright, it is just a meal and gets classed in with all of the other places in the city. I can't say I have had any seriously terrible jajangmyeons except maybe some delivery places (where the noodles are overcooked and terribly clumped together so it takes like 10 minutes to get the sauce mixed into it) but even then it is still edible. With the noodles, I love to get fried dumplings and a place is good fried dumplings or some other sides like tangsuyok
Just in case you were wondering, one bottle of Soju contains 540 calories. That's like 4 beers. So to put it in perspective, you would need to walk about two hours to exercise it off. (Walking two hours with a soju hangover is not an easy task.) Soju originally was made from rice but whenever there were rice shortages, people were forbidden to make Soju. Alcohol producers the started to use sweet potatoes and tapioca to make an ethanol based alcohol. Overtime they doctored up the taste so it has a smooth, crisp taste that goes great with raw seafood and grilled meats. The world drinks a lot of Soju. 61.38 Million cases of soju were produced in 2012 with Korea consuming about 2.75 billion bottles of Soju a year. You would think that everyone would be falling over drunk in Korea, but this is not the case. The alcohol is only about 17-19% so a bottle won't wreck you (but two or more might.) Koreans judge how good of a drinker you are by the number of bottles o
I was searching for calories in Korean foods and drink and I came across this great link. Kitty is a recent returnee to Korea and she has compiled an excellent list of Korean foods and their calorie, carbohydrate, and protein content. Here are some of the more interesting finds: Snacks 김밥 Kimbap: Rice rolls with vegetables and ham. 300 g =484 kcal 73.81 g carbs 12.1 g protein 15.6 g fat 무지개떡 Mujigae Ddeok: Rainbow colored glutinous rice cake. 100 g=234 kcal 53.24 g carbs0.78 g fat Kimchi 김치볶음 Kimchi Bokkeum: Stir-fried kimchi. 94.5 g=110 kcal 2.2 g carbs 5.23 g protein 8.92 g fat 깍두기 Ggakdugi: Cubed radish kimchi. 50 g=16 kcal 3.08 g carbs 0.6 g protein 0.14 g fat 동치미 Dongchimi: Chopped radish kimchi in served in water. 100 g=11 kcal 2.26 g carbs 0.5 g protein 0 g fat 배추김치 Baechu Kimchi:Common (napa cabbage) kimchi. 60 g=11 kcal 1.51 g carbs 0.99 g protein 0 g fat 백김치 Baek Kimchi: Cabbage kimchi without hot pepper. 50 g=10 kcal 1.25 g carbs 0.88