I’ve been told that Korea is known for steal deal sushis and sashimis, but I was always skeptical of this statement until I experienced it myself at Caribu, a local sashimi joint nearby Diana Hotel, in Gyungmyeong.
It was rather obvious that I looked like a “mountain pig” unsure of how to order, blindly staring at the a picture less menu filled with Korean wording hung on the wall. Lucky Dogma was around to do some amateur translation and we ended up ordering some sashimis at 25000won/pax. (RM75). At first, only 10 pieces were placed on this gigantic plate. Strangely, the locals love their sashimis slightly frozen, thus hard. Not accustomed to this style of eating, I left mine on the bowl for a while to thaw and soften them before eating. Within minutes, the 10 pieces were almost gone and I was left feeling cheated, thinking this cost RM 75. I must confess I was quick to complain in Mandarin, forgetting that many locals here can also speak Chinese. Urks.. Only then I had slight suspicions that the chef might be able to understand me. Just when I was about to pack up, all of a sudden, the chef took out his sharp knife and started adding more slides on the iced bowl. Like ALOT of slices. From different parts of the body. The image above was the 2nd serving. Oops. I was too quick to judge.
I was further surprised when the chef started cutting the tuna meat again, this time giving us, the eyes, cheeks, tongue, neck parts. WOAH ! And to add the wow factor even more, the chef covered the meat with some gold dust. Who says gold accessories can only be used on humans? Fishes too! My favorite part was the eye. So, so, so, so tender. Beyond description.
Based on my observation, the two distinct methods of sashimi eating between the Koreans and the Japanese are: 1) fish slices are served slightly frozen and hardened versus just nicely defrosted and soft 2) the sashimis are wrapped in seaweed for the Koreans
The other distinct difference was also the side dishes serving, I didn’t expect that the prawn sashimis and rolls would be complimentary. What a generous gesture! And the other side dish given was fried ginkgo and garlic on served on the hot plate. I have never eaten ginkgo in such a manner before, and it was delish! The oil brought out the nutty flavor and soaked with garlic fragrance making them truly enjoyable just munching them as they were. We had to reject their third serving of side dish which was beef slices with foochuk. It is madness the amount of food given ! I regretted speaking so harshly right from the beginning condemning the overpriced RM 75 10 sashimi slices, only to know I was about to embark on a long educational dining experience on the tuna. We were so full that we had to tell the chef, “no more….no more sashimi please… Stop …” I’m sure no one has ever declined the chef from serving sashimis before, it is definitely my first, for someone who loves sashimis and any worthy steal deals! If I were to dine like this in Malaysia, I must be prepared to spend at least RM 300-RM 500, like the price in Gaon, Sri Hartamas. I am very, very, very glad I had this surprisingly pleasant and educational dining experience in Caribu! Looking forward for another year of fruitful foodie venture on my next Korea church retreat trip.