Hiko Sushi, where I usually revel in my last piece (ok, usually anyway -- unless I decide I want another uni...) of my omakase with anago, or salt-water eel grilled and topped with a super light sauce.
I had some of best eel I've ever had at a place called Poongcheon Jang-eo Jeonmun in the suburban town of Bundang about half an hour from Seoul. What a find.
I know they look like they've been displayed in a natural history museum but they were excellent, packed with calcium and sure beat lame peanuts as my bar food of choice.
I went with the sogeum gooey (gooey means grilled in Korean, not anything resembling the texture of okra) upon the owner's recommendation. Also, I knew that if the eel were truly fresh, the best way to enjoy it would be in its purest and simplest form -- seasoned with nothing but a little salt.
And I was not disappointed.
this post) and onion "salad," wrapped in ppongnip (pickled mulberry leaves), pickled radish or cabbage leaves -- the list goes on.
Then there was ssamjang, a dip that struck a perfect harmony of salty and spicy from a mix of fermented soybean paste and red pepper paste and other aromatics that is consumed with a wrap (where the ssam part of the word derives from) containing a protein and greens.
Check out "the works."
I had three favorite ways to eat the eel. 1) Wrapped in the pickled perilla leaf, 2) wrapped in a radish round and topped with a slightly charred slice of garlic and 3) wrapped in napa cabbage (it's a non-spicy form of kimchi -- basically pickled cabbage) and topped with some ssamjang.
I'm tempted to go into a rant about LA not having a place nearly this good (I'll have to stick to Hiko for now. Sigh.) but I'll spare you.
The duejang was hearty and bold in its saltiness with tofu cubes, mushrooms, onions, zucchini and green onions.
All I know is that it's incredibly delicious and although it doesn't come cheap (about US$23), the treat is well worth it.
Bundang Poongcheon Jang-eo Jeonmun
분당 풍천장어 전문