Korean Eating: The Simple Taste of Cod 대구탕
Not all stews in Korea are spicy, though depending on where they are served, some may be spicier than others. Daegutang (대구탕), or cod fish stew, is one dish that is very different if you pop into a shop to eat some in the north versus the south. In the north, the soup comes out with a deep red broth. It’s spicy and is more akin to maeuntang (매운탕), or spicy fish stew. In the south however, the cod is boiled and served in a broth that hasn’t had spices other than salt, pepper and garlic added. The result is a deliciously simple yet flavorful and filling dish that allows the delicate taste of the cod to come out. Daegutang is one dish that we almost always have when we head down to Busan because the northern restaurants just don’t cut it for us.
Daegu literally means “large mouth” in Korean so the cod in Korean is “large mouth fish”. The stew is perfect for those hungover friends that need some broth to re-hydrate and for the foodie in the group that wants to eat something that’s just fresh and cleansing. If you walk into a restaurant that serves daegutang and you want to know which version you’re getting be sure to check the signs, or ask the waiter. The spicier version will be called daegu maeuntang (대구매운탕) and the milder version will be called daegujiri (대구지리). At Goma Daegutang (고마대구탕), the stew is served simply with just radish and scallions added to the milky white broth. No fuss, no muss. This stew doesn’t need anything else as it is perfectly appealing. Of course, the soup is served with rice and other side dishes to compliment the meal and anywhere you go to find some, you’re sure to be content. A small dish is provided so that you can take the large pieces of fish out of the stew and tear off the tender hunks of fish with your chopsticks. If you’re a foreigner and you walk into this establishment, don’t be surprised if you’re served the stew without the bones attached. You can ask for the boneless and easier to eat version or show off your chopstick skills by picking apart the fish, but the owners may just assume you’ll want the boneless if you’re a group of foreigners. Don’t take it as an offense if you’re served the boneless without asking, they would just rather everyone thoroughly enjoys the dish they have meticulously prepared.
Our go to restaurant for some delicious daegutang in Busan:
Goma Daegutang (고마대구탕)
부산광역시 수영구 남천동 5-3
5-3 Namcheon-dong Suyeong-gu, Busan, Korea
Hours: 24 hours
Daegutang (대구탕) (cod fish stew): W8,000
Daegu-jjim jeong-sik (대구찜정식) (not soup, cod fish stir-fried with veggies): W11,000
Subway: Geumnyeonsan Station (금련산역), walk straight out of exit 5 and follow directions to Gwanganli Beach. The restaurant is at the far eastern end of the beach just before the apartments begin.
Bus: 41, 42