• Updated : 2019.5.23 목 16:33
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Yeonggwang Gulbi: the Taste of Sea Breezes[남도향토음식]영광 굴비
황재형 기자  |  mossunday1@naver.com
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승인 2013.10.04  20:25:37
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Gulbi Jeongsik

Korea has a tradition to share gifts on national holidays such as Chuseok and Lunar New Year. Salted and dried yellow corvina,”gulbi” in Korean, is one of the gifts presented during the national holidays because it is one of the favorite fishes in Korea. Yeonggwang on the west coast of Korea is known for its gulbi and it is one of the most famous folk foods in the South Jeolla region.
    Yellow corvina had been caught in a large amount in the area of Yeonggwang which had good salt farms and strong sea breezes. With such a natural environment, this region has been a suitable place for making deep and savory gulbi. It is natural that the recipes for gulbi-based foods were developed in this area. Korean people use dried yellow corvina in various dishes, including grilled, or broiled dried yellow croaker, seasoned dried yellow corvina with red pepper paste (gochjugang-gulbi-jangaji), and dried yellow corvine aged in pearl barley (borigulbi). According to some historic documents, the name of “gulbi” appeared for the first time during the Goryeo Dynasty in the 16th year. For over one thousand years, various ways of cooking and preserving salted and dried corvina have been created. Nowadays, Yeonggwang people continue to develop the traditional management ways so as to adapt new skills.
    This reporter visited Beopseongpo, Younggwang Gulbi Village in order to meet a professional cook who is proficient at making Yeonggwang Gulbi and covered the process of making dried yellow croaker. Among several foods, Bae Hyun-jin, CEO of Yumung Fishery, explained how to make borigulbi and gochjugang-gulbi-jangaji. The former is made with yellow corvina caught on the coast of Korea and salt produced in the Yeonggwang bay. First, sort yellow corvina according to size, salt its gills and mouth, and dry it for more than one year. This process makes the corvina dried and deepens its taste. Next, weave it with string and store it in pearl barley heap for a long time. Before cooking the dried yellow corvine aged in pearl barley, it needs to be steamed with rice water. This recipe has been passed down through generations for one thousand years. The latter is made from dried yellow corvina, red pepper paste, green plum syrup and honey. To make it taste delicate, it can be seasoned with rice, spring onion and coated with sesame oil.
    There is an old story about the good taste of gulbi. A miser, “Jaringobi” in Korean, hangs one on the ceiling of the room and enjoys the taste only by looking at it after every spoon of hot boiled rice.Nowadays the food recipes are changing according to what consumers’ demand. Sometimes, they want wetter and softer gulbi. Some manufacturers in the county tried to make a new type of dried yellow corvina foods like Mr. Bae’s gochujang gulbi that decreased manpower and increased nutrition by grinding the fish with bones.
    These days, most people eat our folk foods casually without much consideration. But they have historic and cultural importance, so the long tradition and culture permeated in the folk foods should be honored and preserved.


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