In Seoul, restaurants are everywhere by the street and even at places that you don't cross your mind. However, to find a delicious and authentic meal, sometimes you need to crawl and make bumps deep into the alleyways and the side streets that are hidden. In this article, I am going to introduce you to one of the most renowned dishes in Korea, 'Godeungeo gui' which is grilled mackerel in Seoul.

Before arriving in Seoul, I had my research done particularly in searching for the best food in Seoul. No matter how many times I've clicked on the internet, Korean grilled fish always comes into the top recommendation. The salty, fatty and strong flavor of the fishes has been enormously popular in Korean cuisine.

We knew that in Seoul, there's a street which literally known to be 'Grilled fish street' located in the busy district of Dongdaemun. Although this fish street is located in an alley outside of Dongdaemun subway station, it's definitely a true gem hidden in the lively city of Seoul. If you're ever going to visit Seoul, here's where you want to check out!

Let's get started off with what I found here in this blog post!

Before arriving this the deep alley, you'll pass by a street where you'll find stalls and stalls being set up on both side of the street selling finger food and street snacks like Korean fish cake skewers 'omuk', spicy rice cake 'dukbbokki' and assorted of deep-fried seafood and vegetables that most people would snack at the stall or take away, especially during the chilly winter time.

Although it's not a busy street where you'll find in Myeongdong, but you'll find some good one here, especially during the day. Since we had our dinner pretty late, I am actually not surprised that the street was so quiet. Before we arrived at our destination, we could also smell the charcoal grills from far. Our anticipation spiked as the smells intensified and at times, we gulped the saliva down our throat because it smells ridiculously tempting!

After a short walk, we arrived and we were overwhelmed by the amount of grilled fish restaurant here within this alley. To be honest, we even contemplated for a while as all of the restaurants has its own charm and every one of them was tempting as the others. After a good minutes walk, we decided a restaurant where we could see the lovely aunty 'ajumma' grilling some fresh fishes right outside of the entrance of their shop.

Immediately after we sat down on a table, we were served with different Korean side dishes 'banchan' that range from vegetables, kimchi to a soup that is piping hot from the pot. Since the menu was all in Korean, we figured out the only way for us to order or grilled fish is by pointing finger at the fishes outside that looks tempting to us. Did I mention that this technique works every time? Try it the next time if you're in a foreign country.

If you haven't been to any Korean restaurant, you definitely need to take note that side dishes are commonly served in the restaurant and the best part, it's unlimited refill. Although we weren't quite sure what soup we were served, but I am positive that it's a miso/fish broth-based soup that is served with kelp and vegetables. Honestly, no meal is complete without having a beer especially during a barbecue and also on a chilly winter. We ordered two local beers as we were waiting for our fishes to be served.

It takes a short while after we were served with our freshly grilled fish off from the grill. Although I wasn't sure how is it possible that it's grilled so quickly after the order, but I came to realize how they did it later on with some googling.

We ordered a mixed plate of fish which consist of what we believed to be a different species of mackerels and a complimentary fish on the side from the owner. We were actually pretty surprised that we had three fishes on the plate instead of two that we ordered. Turns out that they came to us, saying that it's free for us because they are closing their shop soon after we are done with our meal. I guess that's just us being lucky.

Anyways, I couldn't tell how much I love the fish! The aroma, the robust flavor, and the texture were just to die for. Each of the fish had similar salty flavor from the marinates but each had a distinctive texture, especially the small fish at the corner.

Typically, mackerel has a firmer flesh with and less buttery as they could dry out pretty quick from the grill. However, the mackerel we had was totally different as it's glistering with omega fats and it's char on the skin but its juicy on the inside. The marinates penetrated deep into there flesh where it goes so well pure or with rice. While on the other hand, the small fish has a flakier flesh and it tasted more buttery, juicy and tender. I wondered what fish could it be, but it came to no avail due to the language barrier. If it wasn't because the shop is closing, I could sit for hours and hours just sipping my beer with the salty grilled fish all day.

Anyways, I was saying these fishes tasted heavily good is because most of the fishes are daily fresh catch and is just marinated in simple salt brine for few hours before being grilled. As for how they can serve the fish so quickly is because all of the fishes are pre-grilled to almost 70% done and set aside and finishes the grill with a glaze of soy sauce before it's served.

Also, what I love about this restaurant is the authentic Korean atmosphere with wooden tables, metal chairs and all the lovely ajummas serving up with a wide smile on their face. In a nutshell, I really recommend all of you to check out this alley and I am more than sure you'll enjoy more every piece of fish you pick up from the restaurant.

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