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    [Mokpo 9Mi (Flavors) ➑] Anglerfish Soup (Spicy Braised Monkfish)

    [Mokpo 9Mi (Flavors) ➑] Anglerfish Soup (Spicy Braised Monkfish)

    Anglerfish Soup (Spicy Braised Monkfish)

    Mokpo City was the first city nationwide to declare itself the 'Capital of Taste' in 2019. The city is a gastronomic hub where the West Sea and the Yeongsan River meet. Mokpo, a gateway where the ocean and inland meet, is renowned for the 'Mokpo 9Mi (Flavors)', which are dishes cooked with local specialties such as octopus, skate, croaker, crab, hairtail, mullet, largehead hairtail, anglerfish, and rockfish caught fresh from the clean West Sea and mudflats. The transformation of the unsightly anglerfish into a soup, Spicy Braised Monkfish, boiled pork dish, and even raw fish dish is guilt-free! Let's embark on a journey to taste the true flavor of anglerfish, specially reborn in Mokpo's unique style.

    The standard name for the fish commonly referred to as 'anglerfish' is 'agwi'. In the past, it was not considered a high-quality fish due to its unsightly appearance and lack of meat. It was even discarded immediately after being caught in Incheon, earning it nicknames such as 'water loach' or 'water loach fish'. The birth of 'Spicy Braised Monkfish' played a crucial role in turning this fish into a popular dish and high-quality ingredient. The dense and firm flesh of the agwi, combined with crunchy vegetables like bean sprouts and water dropwort, and various seasonings, has secured its place as a delicacy.


    Among the agwi dishes, 'Spicy Braised Monkfish' is the most popular and representative, so I visited a local restaurant in Mokpo, renowned for its long-standing Spicy Braised Monkfish. There were several branches in Mokpo, but I headed to the main branch to taste the 'real Spicy Braised Monkfish'. It was unique and enjoyable to have the option to choose whether to mix in the skin and entrails, not just the spiciness.


    Despite its unsightly appearance, the agwi is a delicacy with an excellent taste. The chewy and tender texture of the flesh is an advantage, and those who truly know how to enjoy agwi especially acknowledge the 'entrails', such as the liver, stomach, and intestines, as the best part. Fresh agwi, not frozen, is said to be very difficult to handle.


    Even though it's a fish that's not often enjoyed raw due to its lack of meat and the difficulty of handling its slimy flesh, locals and fishermen reportedly enjoy the firm tail part of freshly caught agwi as raw fish.


    A slightly special sauce came out along with the neat side dishes. One was a sauce matured with soy sauce, lemon, and sugar. The other was a somewhat unfamiliar and unique combination of sprinkling chili powder on vinegar. Just as I was thinking, 'The sauce already shows the grandeur of a unique restaurant,' I learned that the restaurant is run by the owner, who has over 30 years of cooking experience and even holds a certificate for preparing pufferfish!

    Finally, today's main dish, the shiny Spicy Braised Monkfish appeared~! The moderately spicy seasoning, the crunchy bean sprouts, and the fragrant water dropwort combined to a heavenly taste. In particular, the flesh was more firm and chewy than the Spicy Braised Monkfish I had experienced before, which was impressive. I assumed this was because the owner, who has a 'pufferfish certificate', personally prepared and cooked the 'fresh anglerfish'.


    And as a Korean, I'm all about the rice! I'm the one who eats Spicy Braised Monkfish for fried rice~ As soon as the Spicy Braised Monkfish came out, I scooped some out and immediately requested to make fried rice. The fantastic combination of the soft anglerfish meat, crunchy vegetables, and carbohydrates!


    Feeling regretful to only eat such delicious anglerfish as a Spicy Braised Monkfish, I decided to also have anglerfish soup while in Mokpo, and set off!


    As soon as I entered, I saw signs of Mokpo's top restaurant, Model restaurant, very excellent hygiene grade, and even a certificate... I thought I could trust and eat at this verified real restaurant, so I chose clear soup after contemplating between spicy soup and clear soup. Personally, I think I've mostly had anglerfish soup in a spicy soup style, but I thought a 'real restaurant' would be a delicious restaurant that can preserve and present the original taste of the ingredients, hence the clear soup.

    A generous hospitality with about 12 side dishes! As expected of 'the city of gastronomy', Mokpo, even the side dishes included one of the 9Mi (Flavors), crab salad. The first thing that surprised me when the clear anglerfish soup came out was the overwhelming quantity! Despite ordering the 'small' size, I could see a pot full of plump anglerfish meat. The taste of the chewy and firm anglerfish meat was exceptional, and the broth, which was moderately cool, spicy, and deep, was perfect for the current chilly weather. The anglerfish soup, full of vegetables and simmered for a long time in a broth made from various ingredients, was a taste that would instantly clear any hangover and even cure a cold.


    The Spicy Braised Monkfish is not only a good source of protein but also contains essential vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, known to promote heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Although it was neglected in the past for its unsightly appearance and slimy texture, the anglerfish is now a beloved ingredient by many. I will introduce a few 'top restaurants' and ‘model restaurants' in Mokpo where you can enjoy Spicy Braised Monkfish dishes made with the touch of Mokpo, the city of gastronomy.

    [ Restaurants where you can eat Spicy Braised Monkfish ]


    Top Restaurants [As of 2024]

    - Pomi Spicy Braised Monkfish / 8, Yongdang-ro 331beon-gil / 061-274-9494

    - Monnani Spicy Braised Monkfish / 24, Samhyangcheon-ro 91beon-gil / 061-283-6313

    - Pure Pine Spicy Braised Monkfish / 8-1 Beonha-ro / 061-244-8381


    Model Restaurants [As of 2024]

    - Monnani Spicy Braised Monkfish / 24, Samhyangcheon-ro 91beon-gil / 061-283-6313

    - Pomi Spicy Braised Monkfish (Peace Plaza branch) / 53-3, Pyeonghwa-ro, Mokpo / 061-282-5950

    - Big-mouthed Spicy Braised Monkfish Algoni Steamed Bukhang branch / 7, Wonsan Central Road, 108 / 061-274-7999


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