My best shrimp, ever
Late October in South Korea, does not seem to be a good time for a beach seafood barbeque. I imagined myself shivering due to my body’s exposure to cold outdoors. But it was surprisingly warm. Maybe being in front of barbeque kept me warm, I guess. Equally surprising was my experience at the BBQ. Copious amounts of fish, mussels, lung-shaped shells, shrimps and even a steak were piled up.
Large, fresh shrimps from the nearby market, where the fishermen women ply their trade in getting customers from nearby and as far as Seoul to buy the freshly caught fruit de mar.
The sun was setting and the bbq fire was roaring, us hoping it would settle down, so that charcoal could be added. The shrimps were unpacked. Large, green, juicy.
Some were peeled and, to my horror, offered uncooked. Yes, I never eat uncooked shrimps, so internally I recoiled. But being good sport, I took one and ….survived. In fact it was not so bad as anticipated and with a swing of beer and Soju, the Korean schnapps, it went down very well.
But then came the cooking experience. The shrimps were, not “thrown on the barbie’ as the Aussies may say. A pan appeared, laced with seasalt. On top of the layer of salt, the skinned and unskinned shrimps were laid out. While they slowly changed their colour in the delicious reddish tone, the salt transformed into a concrete-hard layer, acting as an insulator against the strong heat from the steel bottom of the pan and at the same time enhancing the sea-saltiness of the shrimps. But the salt does more. It prevents the shrimps drying out. So when one of the unskinned ones was offered to me, I could smell the saltiness. But then, sliding the shrimp into my mouth, biting into it, I felt I was in heaven. Sumptuous, juicy and outright delicious. I never, ever had any shrimp as delicious as these ones. The freshness of the catch and the preparation with the salt base was just the ideal combination.
Try it, just travel to the West coast islands of South Korea and have a dining experience,
second to none.
This particular island is also famed for its beautiful flowers full blossom in spring.
It hosts a flower festival.
Another excuse to go there again
in a different season.