Some people might have never tried clams, but no one tried clams only once.
Busan takes pride in its unique, delicious delicacy, which has a rich sea flavor and chewy texture that satisfy many people’s palate.
Busan’s Myeongji-dong area is located at the mouth of the Nakdonggang River where seawater and freshwater meet. Given its geographical feature, it is inhabited by a variety of fish. Among Myeongji’s famous seasonal seafood, hen clams are most welcomed by the gourmets.
In Korean, the hen clam is called “galmi jogae” as the meat of clam (jogae) resembles a gull’s beak (galmi), or “myeongji jogae” as they are usually caught in Myeongji. The best period to taste fleshy and tasty hen clams is between January and March. They are rich in protein and vitamins that are effective in supplementing one’s physical strength and revitalizing the skin.
If you go to the Myeongji Seonchang Hoe Town, you can easily find and enjoy these nourishing hen clams. The Hoe Town is full of restaurants with a long tradition specialized in hen clams. You might encounter the president of the Hoe Town Cooperative who will explain how you can fully enjoy hen clams.
First, you can try a grilled dish. Myeongji’s special way of enjoying hen clams is to grill pork belly with hen clams (galsam gui in Korean).
When a large grill is heated, you can place vegetables and bean sprouts on the grill. As bean sprouts are getting cooked, you can place hen clams on top of them, and then pork belly around them.
You can add garlic, chili peppers, and aged kimchi to pork belly. When all the ingredients are cooked, you can make a combination of pork belly and hen clams and have it along with side dishes. You will enjoy a fantastic taste of the combination.
After finishing the meat, it’s time to mix the rest of the ingredients with rice and delicious condiment. You will enjoy its savory taste of fried rice with chopped seaweed flakes.
Another way of enjoying hen clams is shabu-shabu. Just like the normal shabu-shabu dish, you put vegetables and hen clams in boiling broth. Depending on your preference, you can cook the clams fully or slightly. If you add some spicy chili peppers to the broth, you’ll enjoy a spicy but refreshing taste of the soup.
When the shabu-shabu broth is boiling, you can put vegetables inside. Like beef shabu-shabu, you can cook hen clams slightly and dip into red chili pepper paste with vinegar or soy sauce with wasabi. You’ll enjoy the soft meat of clam wrapped with vegetables. After finishing hen clams, you can add extra noodles into the broth.
There are more ways of enjoying hen clams in Myeongji, which is the perfect place to discover its unique, delicious taste and texture of hen clams.