After another trip to the Hyundai Department Store at Mok-dong, my grandma, mother, and I went upstairs to visit an aunt at the Hyperion. (Yes, it is fairly common in Seoul to have 15-story malls with five levels of underground parking and 30 more stories of condos above.) After watching a slideshow of my cousin's wedding photos from last month, the four of us headed to a nearby eel house my aunt recommended.
There, we ordered eight full-sized eels, which a friendly waitress expertly grilled at our table. Below are a few conclusions from this experience:
- Thankfully, there are restaurants in the world that order live eel they keep in clean tanks.
- Not all eel is served with overpoweringly sweet teriyaki sauce—half of ours today were in a light herb marinade and the rest were sprinkled with sea salt.
- Rice and takuan are excellent companions of eel. So are black sesame porridge, fresh peppers, doenjang stew, chilled seaweed soup, kimchi, grilled mushrooms, and iced plum tea.