This weekend I tried a Korean dish that I haven’t had before: 연포탕 yeonpotang (octopus soup). Although it’s summer and around 30 degrees during the day, it was still surprisingly good to munch my way through a hot pot of seafood! Mr. Kim thought it was very 시원해 ‘shi-won-he‘ (refreshing).
The soup is cooked at the table and is made with a whole octopus caught in the East Sea, abalone, mussels, scallops, and clams. Another version comes with chicken too but we went for the regular shellfish dish this time.
The shikdang has only been open for a couple of months. There was a chicken and beer restaurant here before. But there are SO MANY chicken and beer restaurants everywhere these days I’m not surprised they can’t all stay open! The octopus soup cost 50,000 won and was easily enough for two. (update: it was more expensive the second time we went here – they told us the price of octopus depends on the season…)
The seafood was cooked at the table and once it had been boiling for a few minutes, the waitress came over to check it and took out the scallops that were now cooked and ready to eat. She cut them up and served them on their shells. This was great as they were really soft and perfectly cooked.
The octopus is cooked whole and then cut with scissors and taken out of the pot so that it doesn’t become overcooked and chewy …
The mussels and clams were tasty on their own but I dipped the octopus pieces into the soy sauce and wasabi dip that was served on the side. (There was a spicy chilli sauce dip too).
Whole garlic cloves (of course) and a few slices of potato were cooked in the broth with the seafood along with some finely sliced green fresh chilli. The chilli tasted good when I got a mouthful of it but it didn’t make the soup itself spicy. The shellfish seemed fresh and the only complaint I had was that the beards weren’t removed from the mussels. But that wasn’t a huge problem.
Once we’d eaten all the shellfish we ordered noodles to cook in the soup with slices of courgette. We ordered kalguksu but instant ‘ramen’ noodles were also available.
You can often tell what the food in any restaurant will be like by the look and taste of the kimchi that the restaurant serves. These days lots of restaurants don’t make their own kimchi anymore and simply buy in kimchi which is usually made in China because that’s cheaper.
But of course bought kimchi is not as good as homemade. This kimchi was really good. It was 배추겉절이 baechu geotjoli which is unfermented kimchi. It’s made with the same napa cabbage (배추 baechu) as fermented kimchi but it’s supposed to be eaten as soon as it’s made. It’s more refreshing in the summer months to eat this kimchi and it’s usually served in kalguksu noodle restaurants.
The noodles were a light and perfect finish to the meal along with lots of kimchi. mmmm
The name of this restaurant is e문어세상 e-muno-se-sang. There are a few branches around the city, but we went to the one in Yeouido. (marked on the map with a blue star)