Crab Shell Bibimbap
If you are familiar with Korea’s food culture, you may have come across the expression “bap doduk.” Literally translated as “rice thief,” it refers to savory foods that boost one’s appetite and increase rice intake. Korea’s most representative "bap doduk" is ganjang gejang, a soy sauce-based marinated food that uses raw crab. Ganjang gejang has a perfect mix of sweet and salty flavors that make you crave more. The best part of gangjang gejang is not the dish itself, but the crab shell bibimbap that comes after cleaning the plate. As Koreans say, “There may be people who’ve never tried crab shell bibimbap before, but there’s no one who only tried it once.”
Restaurants that specialize in gejang (marinated crab) offer menus like ganjang gejang (soy sauce marinated crab), yangnyeom gejang (spicy marinated crab), and agwi jjim (spicy stew monkfish). You can find plenty of these restaurants along Sinsa-dong Gangjang Gejang Street in Seoul. For first-timers, we recommend choosing a menu that has a mix of both soy sauce and spicy marinated crab.
Gejang menus are quite expensive, so try to enjoy every bit and piece of the crab meat. Instead of picking at the meat with chopsticks, hold the crab firmly in your hand and chow down. Most restaurants encourage this eating method and provide plastic gloves to keep customers’ hands clean. The technique is to grab the legs in a way so that the crab’s body part is held up, making it easy for you to suck in the crab meat. Before you know it, the salty sweetness will stimulate your taste buds.
Once you’re done with gejang, crab shell bibimbap awaits. Called geddakji bibimbap in Korean, this particular dish consists of spicy marinade and crab gut sauce served in a crab shell. Take two to three spoonfuls of rice and mix it with the prepared sauce, using the shell as your bowl. The ideal amount of rice is two thirds in comparison to the shell size, but you can control the amount according to your preference. Mix well before eating.
You can’t say you’ve tried Korean-style gejang unless you’ve tasted both ganjang gejang and yangnyeom gejang. Unlike ganjang gejang, yangnyeom gejang uses spicy red sauce to add flavors to the crab, a recipe not found anywhere else. It's a bit messier, but the eating method is the same as for ganjang gejang.
- A food well worth your money
- Ganjang gejang and yangnyeom gejang are quite expensive compared to other Korean foods. Prices vary depending on region; in Sinsa-dong Ganjang Gejang Street, the price ranges from 70,000 won to 100,000 won for two servings.