Gadeokdo Island, located off the coast of Busan, is renowned for its high-quality cod fish known as “Gadeok cod”. These cod are caught in the Gadeokdo Waterway, a narrow passage between Gadeokdo Island and Geojedo Island in Jinhae Bay. The cod, which migrate from the North Pacific Ocean to Jinhae Bay from late November to February, are considered to be the most delicious and nutritious before they spawn.
The Rich History of Gadeokdo Island’s Treasured Cod: From Joseon Dynasty Court to the Blue House.
“Gadeok cod’s long-standing reputation as a delicacy in Korea dates back to the Joseon Dynasty, when it was included in the “Gongseon Jeongye (貢膳定例)” – a list of food items approved for the royal court. During the Joseon era, local governments would offer regional specialties to the court as tribute, which were collected and prepared by designated cooks and court ladies-in-waiting at the Saongwon, the royal food office. The king and other members of the royal family, including the queen, crown prince, and queen dowager, were served by highly skilled cooks, who had around 30 years of experience, while feasts were handled by professional male cooks known as suksu.
By the 20th century, Gadeokdo cod had found its way into the Blue House, where it was served to former President Kim Young-sam in the mid-1990s. Today, Gadeok cod soup continues to be enjoyed not only for its rich flavor, but also for its digestive benefits and winter nutrition.”
Discover the Delicacies of Gadeokdo Island’s Cod Fish
Gadeokdo Island is well-known for its prized cod, a fish species that is not only a culinary delight but also a valuable source of high-quality protein and amino acids. It is believed that consuming three cod is enough to keep adults healthy and free from colds during the winter months.
Peak of Cod Season From December to January, the peak of cod season, locals and tourists alike have the opportunity to taste the fresh and delicious flavors of Gadeok cod. The island’s restaurants serve cod, typically weighing over 10 kilograms, that have been dried by the salty sea air and prepared in a range of dishes, including “sliced raw fish of the cod” and “Daegu Tang/Jiri (Mild Cod Fish Stew)”.
Daegu Tang (also known as “Daegu Jiri”) is a classic Korean stew made with cod fish and a variety of fresh vegetables. The dish is known for its delicate and mild flavor, making it a refreshing and satisfying meal option.The distinct and palate-pleasing flavor of Daegu tang is derived from the combination of boiled cod, generous portions of radish and green onion. This dish is known for its delicate and rejuvenating flavor that is so irresistible, it’s hard to stop at just one spoonful.
A Chewy and Light Flavor “Daegu Po” is another popular dish made from dried cod. It is sliced and served with “gochujang” (red chili paste), offering a chewy and light flavor that is loved by many.
Sliced raw fish of the live cod
A Delicate and Mouth-Melting Flavor For seafood lovers who love raw fish, “sliced raw fish of the live cod” is a must-try. This dish is known for its tender, slightly chewy texture and delicate flavor that melts in the mouth.
Sliced Semi-dried cod: A Delight for Seafood Connoisseurs
Cod is known for its delicate flavor and rich nutritional content, including high-quality protein and amino acids. However, not all ways of preparing cod bring out its full potential. Freshly caught cod, when served as sashimi, can often be tough, watery, and lack the desired depth of flavor.
This is where Sliced semi-dried cod comes in as a game-changer. Unlike its fresh counterpart, semi-dried cod undergoes a drying process that lasts for five days. This process allows for the release of moisture and enriches the amino acids, resulting in a well-developed flavor profile.
The flesh of semi-dried cod takes on a slightly opaque appearance, with a firm texture that softens in the mouth. The aging process enhances the richness of the cod’s flavor, making it a sought-after delicacy among seafood connoisseurs.
One of the must-try dishes when in Jinhae Bay is semi-dried cod sashimi. This dish features slices of semi-dried cod that are served on a plate, often with the cod’s belly in the center. The belly of the cod is considered a prized part and is typically eaten with the skin on, which adds to the complexity of its flavor.
Unfortunately, not all restaurants in the production area serve “Sliced semi-dried cod”. Hence, it is recommended to inquire at sea-side restaurants that specialize in drying cod and request to taste this unique delicacy.
Sliced semi-dried cod is a rare treat that offers a delightful and sophisticated flavor profile. For seafood lovers, it is a must-try dish that should not be missed when visiting Busan during the winter months
The cod caught in the waters of Gadeokdo Island offer a unique and irresistible taste that is a must-try for seafood lovers.
Whether you prefer the clean and refreshing flavor of “Daegu Tang”, the chewy and light flavor of “Daegu Po”, or the delicate and mouth-melting flavor of “Live cod or Semi-dried Cod Slices”, the cod delicacy of Gadeokdo Island is not to be missed.