Korea is surrounded on three sides by water, and is one of the few countries in the world that have both the characteristics of an inland country and an island. The waters are a thriving habitat for fish, which in return bring the freshness of the ocean to the Korean meal table.
The easiest way to enjoy fish is to have it grilled. Mackerel, Japanese Spanish mackerel, and mackerel pike are favorite choices for grilling. They belong to the blueback group, which is high in protein, fats, and amino acids. The blueback are easier to digest, and help prevent lifestyle diseases. Another favorite fish for grilling is dried yellow corvina. When the crisply dried yellow corvina is grilled with a splash of oil, it becomes as soft as a freshly caught fish. To extend the storage time of fish, Koreans salt their fish ?mostly mackerel and yellow corvina. Salting the fish makes the flesh chewier while bringing out the natural salty taste.
Another way to enjoy fish is to have it raw, as hoe.
Freshly caught fish are sliced on the spot to make hoe. Japanese also eat raw fish, but they tend to use fresh fish that has been aged at low temperatures for a few days. Korea has a unique live fish hoe culture which amplifies the crunchy, chewy texture of fish. While the Japanese prefer stronger flavors and softer textures, Koreans are enticed by the chewy texture of fish. Hoe can be enjoyed on its own, or combined with bibimbap to make hoedeopbap, or seasoned with red pepper paste in hoe muchim. It can also be served in water as mulhoe. Discover the variety of hoe in Korea!
Fish provides the nourishment that the body needs in each season, and delivers the fresh energy of the oceans. We learn about the significance of fish in Korean cuisine.