Dive in with a spicy seafood ‘snack’

img_1471How about trying a popular Korean snack, which in this case happens to be much more than a snack. In fact it’s a fresh and flavorful departure from the usual pressed rice and spicy red pepper sauce.

Yes, we’re talking about tteokbokki, but on a whole different level.

We found this delicious take on tteokbokki at Hanchi Apdo Moreur Bada (한치 앞도 모를 바다) near Hyeopjae Beach in Hallim-eup, west of Jeju City.

As the name implies, the defining ingredient in the dish is hanchi, one fresh cuttlefish, that accompanies shrimp, crab, abalone, clams, with the classic pressed fish and rice cake.

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We were forewarned that the spiciness of the sauce could be too overpowering for some palates. So they recommended a side order of a potato/cheese pancake to round out the flavors.

This was an unexpectedly appropriate combination. It’s not fusion food per se, though it might sound like it, but rather a clever application of cheese. It really works.

Did you know?

While the spicy red pepper version of tteokbokki is modern and more in line with so-called “street food”, in the Joseon Dynasty the royal court served its version of tteokbokki with meat, vegetables and non-spicy seasonings.

A couple of caveats on visiting Hanchi Apdo Moreur Bada:

– The owners are dog lovers and have a (very unusual) sign out front warning diners that there is a (rather large) canine friend on the premises.

– It’s also rather popular, though small, with just five tables, so you may have to wait. They serve from 11:30 to 7. Phone 070-8884-0428.

– Parking near the restaurant is very restricted, as it’s on a small rural side street, but on the bright side you can park at Hyeopjae Beach and walk the short distance back, or better yet, take bus 702 from the city to Hyeopjae. In this case, public transportation is a great option.

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What’s your favorite version of tteokbokki? We’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment.

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