food and drink

Eating In Korea: Stingray With Raspberry Wine

A few years ago, I went to the Noryangjin fish market in Seoul. There, you buy your seafood fresh off the boat, live in many cases, and the restaurants right there in the market prepare/serve you up whatever it is you bought.

I saw this stand and decided I had to try some:

Here’s how they served it up for me at a restaurant:

What does stingray/skate taste like?
The taste is like the feral, peppery musk of some wild animal’s territorial marking.
So much so, it burns in the mouth and wafts into the sinuses.
The strange thing is that it actually gave my stomach a soothing, clean, prickly feeling as I ate it.

Nevertheless, it would have been hard to eat without a bottle of raspberry wine to wash it all down.
The Koreans do berry wines wonderfully; I have a special soft spot for them. Most of the Western versions and liqueurs are nauseatingly sweet.
The raspberry wine, Bokbunja, is only slightly sweeter than some sweeter red wines. The sweetness is actually balanced.

The best part: you can order Bokbunja in lots of Korean restaurants in the states and it costs the same as the regular beer or soju. If you’re a weiguk, just be prepared for the waiter’s jaw to drop when you ask for it by name.

What you see in that picture was my lunch. I went back for dinner and that time I had fresh abalone and a brown marine tubeworm Koreans call ‘sea ginseng.’
The abalone was served up just barely seared on the outside and warm all through, mellow, meaty and delicious.
The worm was served up sliced into pieces and to my delight the pieces were still moving independently. It tasted pretty good too. The texture was much lighter and more delicate than fleshy, chewy sea cucumber.

Loved that fish market. There were thousands of people but I was the only weiguk.