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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rant of the Week: O, Galchi, Where Art Thou?

To mix things up a bit, I've decided to start a Rant of the Week section and alternate with the cooking tip/recipe of the week. Yes, it's not the most constructive use of our time but hey, maybe it can lead to something good.

So my inaugural rant (cue patriotic music) will be on the sad state of Korean seafood in Los Angeles and the US in general. Since LA boasts the largest Korean population outside of Korea, I'm going to guess that if it isn't sold here, it isn't sold anywhere else in the US.

What am I talking about specifically? If you've ever been to Korea or Cheju Island on the southern tip of the country, you can get the meatiest, fleshiest and most delicious galchi, which is translated as silver fish or belt fish. It has a beautiful silvery skin (pictured above) that gets even better when broiled with some salt.

It's that good. It doesn't need anything else but salt and some heat. If I'm craving something spicy, then a braised galchi jorim with red pepper flakes, red pepper paste and a ton of garlic and radishes would be perfect.

But alas, none of the Korean markets carries half-way decent galchi (believe me, I've tried) and the fish isn't sold in any other markets. Hence my rant -- why doesn't the US import galchi from Chejudo? Maybe it's one of those supply issues where there aren't enough to go around beyond domestic consumption. For the time being, then, we'll have to console ourselves with mackerel that's readily available for now. But it's just not the same. If anyone knows of a good fishmonger that carries fresh, fleshy galchi, let me know!


persimmongirl said...

Maybe you should try to get that on the KORUS FTA list...

ironchef442 said...

hey persimmongirl,

i should! along w/some solid goolbi :)