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What is this thing?

What is this thing?
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  • What is this thing?

    Post #1 - November 11th, 2006, 12:53 pm
    Post #1 - November 11th, 2006, 12:53 pm Post #1 - November 11th, 2006, 12:53 pm
    I came across this weird critter in Korea in agu chim, monkfish stew, a thick mass of bean sprouts, gochuchang, and fish.

    Image

    I never got a good translation or explanation for what it was. I suppose it could be some sort of fish innard, but everyone I asked just sort of shrugged. I'm not certain it's from the animal world at all since it has almost no taste. What it does have is a rather unpleasant pop when bitten, followed by an equally off putting squirt of fluid, and a texture I would indecisively describe as either exoskeletal or vegetal.

    There it was again last night at Minari, mixed in a plate of agu chim, or as the house calls it "Honkfish stew."

    Image

    I took a stab and asked the waitress if it was something like pondegi, the silkworm pupae that kids love to snack on. She laughed and looked horrified at the suggestion, but couldn't tell me the Korean name either, because oddly, she was Japanese, and her Korean was not much better than mine. She called it something that sounded like midodo.

    Anyway, Minari is an interesting little Korean seafood place with a handful of nice grilled fishes--hairtail, saury, mackerel--fish stews, porridges, and hand cut noodles dishes.

    Anyone know what those things are?

    Minari
    3311 W. Bryn Mawr
    773-267-3590
  • Post #2 - November 11th, 2006, 3:36 pm
    Post #2 - November 11th, 2006, 3:36 pm Post #2 - November 11th, 2006, 3:36 pm
    Trying to help you out, m'th'su, I called my dad because I have remembered seeing it in agu chim as well. My dad said it's called mi duh duk or mi deo dok, and he said it's a sea animal, kind of a clam but not. And after a bit of research, I found out it's called a sea squirt, scientific name Styela clava

    http://www.niwascience.co.nz/ncabb/tools/sea_squirt


    And I think many people in Korea also find it a bit off-putting. But if you want a recipe, here is one I found online.

    http://english.tour2korea.com/05food/LocalFood/gs_13.asp?ko%20sm=m5_3&konum=5

    I personally have always been afraid of eating it--it looks kind of like a bladder to me. I've also heard about people burning their mouths on the little squirt of liquid when bitten. So be careful out there!

    Hope this helps,

    Sharona
  • Post #3 - November 11th, 2006, 4:42 pm
    Post #3 - November 11th, 2006, 4:42 pm Post #3 - November 11th, 2006, 4:42 pm
    Aha!

    I often see sea squirts in their uncooked (live?) state at Chicago Food, but I hadn't considered the connection. They're much prettier raw, and I always imagined they'd taste sort of squiddy. Bit of a disappointment.

    Thanks Sharona!
  • Post #4 - November 11th, 2006, 5:03 pm
    Post #4 - November 11th, 2006, 5:03 pm Post #4 - November 11th, 2006, 5:03 pm
    "The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root it doesn't need its brain anymore, so it eats it. It's rather like getting tenure."

    --Neuroscientist Rodolfo Llinás

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