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A healthier choice
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승인 2010.06.12  20:42:39
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▲ Jeju Sansung owner Kim Wan Tae cooking duck strips with spicy sauce. Photo by Tracie Barrett

When it comes to eating local food on Jeju, I am more than happy to take the advice of my Korean friends, particularly those who are from here or have lived here a long time. One such friend is a teacher I once worked with who goes by the English name of Kate. Her family farms land in Iho and Kate and her many siblings have introduced me to many parts of Jeju I might never have discovered other-wise. She and two of her sisters first took me, and a few of her sisters’ always energetic sons, to the Jeju Sansung duck restaurant, situated near where Iho, Waedo and Nohyeong-dong meet. (I was originally told it was in Waedo, but the address locates the restaurant in Nohyeong-dong.)

Last week I was able to share the experience and asked Jenie Hahn to accompany me back for a second visit. One thing that was apparent on my first foray to the restaurant, particularly with children in tow, was how family-friendly the establishment is. Like many of the larger Korean restaurants, Jeju Sansung has a playroom for children, plus a sizeable yard out back where children can play away from roads and the car park and where tables are located for the rest of the family. Large glass windows also offer views over the surrounding area and out to sea.

My first meal at Jeju Sansung was barbecued duck, both plain and marinated, grilled at the table and eaten wrapped in lettuce or sesame leaves. To remove any excess fat from the meat, the duck is first pre-grilled over charcoal before coming to the customers for a second time on the barbecue. This visit, though, Jenie and I decided to opt for something different.

The menu is in English as well as Korean and owner Kim Wan Tae explained one of the restaurants specialties to us. Called Yukheakong, for land (yuk), sea (hea) and air (kong), the dish mixes duck stuffed with glutinous rice with chicken abalone and baby octopus and incorporates 15 herbs that are believed to have health-enhancing properties.

The dish serves three to four people, however, so Kim recommended we instead have duck strips with spicy sauce, which he said was especially popular with women. The sauce includes doenjang, or fermented soybean paste, chilli powder, garlic, ginger and a variety of herbs, although Kim said the actual recipe was a secret.

A pot filled with the strips of duck, cabbage, green onions, sesame leaves and other greens was brought to the table and placed on the gas ring to cook in the fragrant sauce. Also included was doekbeoggi that Kim said was made by his sister-in-law on the Korean mainland. A duck soup laced liberally with green onions and pepper was served with rice while we waited for the main dish to be ready, and the meat within was rich, tender and tasty. We were given aprons to protect our clothes and were soon enjoying the spicy full-flavored meat and vegetables, wrapped in leaves and complemented by the many available side dishes.

I recalled the delicious salad I had enjoyed with my barbecue duck on my first visit so we ordered some to accompany the dish as well. Served topped with a tasty strawberry dressing, it did not disappoint.

Kim said the restaurant was located in Youngdam-dong in old Jeju City for eight years but he moved premises two years ago when he wanted to expand. He said the ducks sold at the restaurant are all from Jeju and that the meat is healthier than beef or pork. He said duck prevents high blood pressure, slows down aging of the skin and is especially good for older people.

I’m more interested in the fact that it was delicious, but knowing I was doing my body good as well as my taste buds added to my enjoyment.



Jeju Sansung
3083-3. Nohyeong-dong, Jeju-City
Tel: 064-746-5255, 757-7909




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