Given Name: 무침회*
Place(s) of Origin: Daegu, Republic of Korea
Place Consumed: Daegu, Republic of Korea
Common Features: Seafood (but not fish), gochujang*
Background: I’d be hard pressed not to find a good meal from the Korean peninsula…heck, even that duck bbq in Pyongyang was quality.
After checking in at my hotel in Daegu, I asked about representative dishes from the area. Aiming for multiple meals that would make a marine biologist blush, it appeared that I forgot to look at a map in the planning stages of this trip (meaning, three hours before I left)- Daegu isn’t on a coast. OK, but it’s not far from one either. A staff member reminded me of this, and proceeded to introduce me to “muchimhoe street*.“
Verdict: Excellent, as expected. Ssam* up the gochujang-laced seafood mix into the lettuce, add a bit of egg and dig in. Even with the overpowering taste of gochujang, I was able to make out the turban shell, squid and conch, but there were definitely other mollusks present. Generous amounts of sesame seeds were sprinkled on top, and there weren’t any bones either, so there’s another +2. A very aquatic affair, with seaweed and sea grass as part of the banchan, and the soup had a salty, “beachy” tinge to it.
Amusingly, the grandmotherly-type figured that as a foreigner, I’d have no idea how to eat anything (Korean). However, she took this a step further and literally fed me the first bite. So…if you’re into that kind of thing, keep it to yourself.
* 무침회 muchimhoe – “muchim” = mixed with various seasonings; “hoe” = a dish with raw food
* gochujang 고추장- fermented, spicy and slightly sweet red chili sauce made with glutinous rice and soybeans; if you’ve eaten bibimbap, you’ve likely seen gochujang
* muchimhoe street – if you look at the linked map, take exit 1 from Bangogae (반고개) metro station, and walk towards the red pin. The red pin is Naedang-dong (내당동), the most famous area for this specialty in Daegu…the city isn’t a major destination for foreign tourists, so don’t think just because it’s THE street for muchimhoe that they’re out to rip you off.
* ssam 쌈 (Korean) – “wrap”