From abalone rice porridge, to shellfish retrieved straight from the sea by the island’s free-diving grandmothers, to spicy seafood stew, it’s no surprise that Jeju is famous for a huge range of fresh seafood dishes.
As ardent lovers of the ocean’s gifts, we certainly enjoyed all the delicious fishy treats on offer. All the food we had on the island was of such a high quality that it was obviously freshly caught. The scampi in our seafood hotpot, the freshly grilled hairtail fish and the free marinated raw crab side dish that seemed to magically appear with every meal – all tasted divinely fresh.
I’ve never really understood the fascination Koreans seem to have with abalone. Every one I’ve tried has been more on the rubbery, tasteless side – but in Jeju, I got a small taste of what the whole mollusc excitement is all about. I admit, I still didn’t love them, but at least there, they were somewhat soft and had a discernible flavour.
Is it bad that out of all the amazing seafood available on the island, the thing I was most excited about discovering was a little North American style sushi restaurant, close to Jungmun Tourist Complex. I know. I know. Shrimp tempura, California and spicy tuna rolls are not exactly authentic, but it’s what I grew up with, so it’s what I think of when I think of sushi, despite having dined on the freshest, most amazing sushi in the world, at it’s source, in Japan’s Tsukiji Market.
At America’s Roll and Sushi, I felt like I had stepped back in time and teleported to a restaurant on Toronto’s Bloor Street. From the Kikkoman soy sauce on the table, to the free edamame appetizer, it was just like being back in North America.
Let’s just call it heaven, shall we?
Agri chose all the fresh sushi he desired, from the extensive a la carte menu. White tuna, toro, salmon, mackerel and others filled his plate. For me, it was all about rolls – the shrimp tempura, salmon skin and California roll, topped with baked salmon, left me completely stuffed. And utterly satisfied.
America’s Roll and Sushi is located at 184 Cheonjeyeon-ro, Seogwipo, Jeju-do, and they have a website in Korean HERE. Look for us on their wall of visitor photos when you visit! 🙂
Have you ever stumbled upon a favourite food in an unexpected location? Where was it? Tell us your story in the comments below.