I’m sure you’re probably wondering to yourself, “silly Tangy, everyone knows sashimi is Japanese and not Korean. sheesh! what an idiot!” So if you’re thinking that, then you’re the idiot. Korean style sashimi is exactly what is sounds like, sashimi, served the way Koreans want to serve it.
This sentence only makes sense if you understand the following two things:
1) Japanese food, though delicately and thoughtfully prepared, is meager in portion and leaves you feeling not so full. The Japanese will eat until they are comfortably satisfied, which is usually about 3/4 full. The Japanese never binge or eat until they are about to explode Thanksgiving Day style (that’s just for us stupid Tangys that love to eat a ton and then get really sick.)
2) Koreans like to do it big. Big flavors, big portions, big spices and big heat. Some Korean food is so hearty and so spicy, it’ll reinvigorate your soul and make you want to shoot arrows while riding horseback at some deer in the woods. Extreme!
So how do these two different concepts merge into a delicate offering of assorted raw fish? Easy! You just serve a butt-load of it on a small wooden boat with a side of red Korean hot sauce.
You’re probably asking yourself, “Sweet! Where do I sign up?!!!” Well, you can sign up right here, cuz we’re about to break it down for you.
Korean style sashimi is a generous portion of raw fish sliced into half inch thick slabs of delicious awesomeness. The sashimi can be of one type of fish or assorted. Either way, prepare to get wrecked. Have you ever tried to eat over a pound of raw fish? When you think about it, that’s what Korean sashimi is like. It’s not an easy task. If you’re gonna do it, make sure you have a buddy there with you so someone can carry you out of the restaurant and drive you home. (Please consume Korean style Sashimi Responsibly.) Oh, and washing it all down with some cold beer isn’t all that bad either. I recommend Cass (Korean lager), or if you’re gonna cop out on us, you can drink Japanese beer (Asahi, Sapporo are all great for raw fish. Not a huge fan of Kirin. I dunno why.)
What kinds of sauces or condiments do you think of when you think of sushi and sashimi? Soy sauce, wasabi, and maybe some of that ginger stuff that tastes like someone’s star mint fell into your lemonade? Well, what about hot sauce? The nose pinching, heart gouging pain of wasabi is not what we’re looking for here. We need another kind of sauce to make this triple entendre complete: Korean Red Whatever-the-hell-that-is Hot Sauce. (To be honest, I have no idea what kind of hot sauce that is. All I know is that it’s red and that it brings a whole new dimension to eating raw fish. Hunnie will probably chime in later to explain to us all exactly what kind of hot sauce that is.)
The We’re-Not-in-Kansas-Anymore Feeling
It’s a strange feeling to be eating sashimi in this way. The fish is amazingly fresh, the cuts are generous, and the additional hot sauce is a plus. I am a huge raw fish snob, and I was blown away the sheer quantity and presentation of Korean style sashimi. It felt weird to be eating such good sashimi in a place other than my favorite sushi restaurant. But it also felt so right. This meal hit the spot. It fulfilled me in ways normal Japanese sashimi could not. I always yearned for quantity over quality, and I always wanted to have to sketchy hot sauce to play side kick to my soy sauce/wasabi combo. So why hadn’t I gone out looking for Korean style sashimi before? Because it was those two points I brought up earlier that made me think that this kind of foodtacular food did not exist. What’s even better about this meal is the price. At any other Japanese restaurant, you’d be paying around 40% more for this quantity of raw delectable’s.
The Icing on the Sashimi
Not only did we eat delicious sashimi, Hunnie and I also decided to try the crazy looking thing in the fish tank. We’d all seen Andrew Zimmern rock up to the fish market in Korea or Japan plenty of times and eat the weird looking sea critter raw, but how many times in your life do you actually have the opportunity to try it yourself? Well, Hunnie and I dove into one of our foodtacular food fantasies (ooh, alliteration!) and ate raw Sea Squirt and Sea Cucumber. You’ll have to read about that debacle in its own post: Sea Cucumber and Sea Squirt.
So all and all, I must say that Korean style sashimi was a game changer for me. The fish hadn’t changed, the way it was cut wasn’t changed, the wooden boat the it came on wasn’t different. So what made this meal so special for me? I think it was the realization that this very same food can satisfy you in a different way when experienced in a different way and with someone else. Hunnie had been telling me about how Koreans eat sashimi with a red sauce for the longest time. But whenever I would eat sashimi, I would just take the lead and eat what I knew to be sashimi. Hunnie opened up a portal to an alternate universe of raw fish consumption for me. So I challenge you now reader, go forth and eat something that you normally take for granted and share it with someone else. And see what perceptions they bring to the table change your perceptions of that food. I guarantee you a Foodtacular experience.