4.231 Mineo Hoe

-Cycle 4, Item 231-
24 (Sat) August 2013

Mineo Hoe


by Hwang SE & Han CY

at their home

-Yeonhui, Seoul-

with The Family, Ahn HY + Kim IT + Jihu, Cho JH + Kim KH, Hwang SE + Han CY, Yun YH

Mineo (민어) is a type of fish.  In a quick internet search, I was unable to find a definitive answer for what the species is called in English or under Linnaean taxonomy.  The closest may be (i) "Miichthys miiuy," as it appears on Naver, citing the Korean National Fisheries Research & Development Institute (NFRDI), but I couldn't find much corroboration elsewhere, not even in the NFRDI homepage, which has a totally useless English-Korean-Japanese-Chinese dictionary, or (ii) "brown croaker" (redirected to "miichthys miiuy" at, part of the family sciaenidae.  Whatever the nomenclature, it's a scaly fish with soft pinkish flesh, about between half/full meter in length.  Cooked, the flesh turns white in color and chunky in texture and buttery in flavor, similar to cod.

From the aforementioned page on Naver.

In Korea, mineo is quite popular, especially when prepared as hoe.  A few years back, I was discussing dinner plans with colleagues from work, when two of them simultaneously received the same text message from a nearby sashimi restaurant announcing the acquisition of fresh mineo, first come first serve; we arrived 10 minutes later.  I can't think of another fish that incites so much passion when it's season, as mineo is now through the fall.

No special occasion, just an impromptu gathering of the camping crew at SE/CY's new apartment.  I'd missed the house warming a couple months ago, so it was my first time there.

Instead of wallpaper or paint, they applied veneer, something that I've never seen in a Korean home.

Footies for men, as proudly worn by KH, also something that I've never seen, anywhere in the world.

The Brothers Hahm making themselves right at home in the master bedroom; Jihu, on the other hand, refused to get on the bed.

Accordingly, it's one of the most expensive fishes on market.  A website for a wholesale/retailer operating out of Noryangjin Market shows current prices for whole mineo ranging from 140,000 won for a 4-kg fish to 385,000 won for a 7-kg fish, prepared 4-portion hoe platters starting at 92,000 won (see mineo prices at Daeyang Sashimi Mall).  Ouch.

tofu and baby greens in sesame dressing ... with wheat rolls.

clams in white wine sauce

gwamegi (courtesy of JH)

For the reasons described below, the fish was also excellent as saengseon jeon.

wanja with spicy pickled radish (my contribution) (see more below)

cucumber & cream cheese open sandwiches (nice!)

Boy, do I hate fruit.

Although I've never considered myself a huge fan, tonight's experience may be a starting point in that direction.  Using other raw fishes as frames of reference, the mineo was sweet/savory like shrimp, fatty/juicy like yellow tail, and yet light/delicate like fluke, all combined into one.  And this was from a relatively cheap takeout platter that'd been sitting in the fridge for hours.  I can't wait to try it again under better circumstances.

Thanks for all the food, but this alone would've been just fine.

Bell's 12-year-old blended Scotch; I'd never heard of it until tonight (SE couldn't even remember where he'd gotten it); it was okay, decent balance but otherwise unremarkable, a typical blended whisky.

Having had lunch in Okcheon on my way to the cabin yesterday (see 4.230 Seven-Layer Whole Wheat Burrito...), I also had lunch there on the way back to Seoul.  That's food freedom that can only occur in modus solus.  Today, I went to my favorite place Goeup.  Confirmed, it still kicks ass in every dish, from the signature mul naeng myeon to the wanja, as well as the spicy pickled radish on the side.  And so generous, not only is the wanja portion double what other restaurants serve (see for example 4.204 OKRKL (4) Hwanghae Sikdang...), when I asked for extra radish to go, the owner gave me like 2-weeks worth--it'll last 2 days.  Anticipating the quasi-potluck arrangement for dinner, I got some takeout wanja.  

The best of Okcheon.


  1. the standardized korean phonetic spelling thing still confuses me. at first reading, i said "wtf is min-ee-oh ho??"

  2. you're preaching to the priest on this one.

    but it's become second nature to me.

    for this particular fish, though with many fish, a more phonetic transliterization looks kinda dumb: minuh? min-uh? min-u?