Most of the Busan cuisine isn't unique to the city. There's Dongnae Pajeon but it's nothing special. To make the most out of Busan, you gotta get down with seafood. It's a coastal city, and the freshest seafood is right where you'd expect- Jagalchi Market on the South coast.
Most of Jagalchi is industrial fishing docks or fish market. Walk up and down the narrow aisle of fresh catch and breathe in the fishiness. Keep walking to the right and you can have your pick at a dozen stalls frying up fish. Get to the end and be rewarded by the sight of skinned eels squirming in unimaginable agony and a chef frying flounder with his bare hands.
All of these stalls within the market offer fresh seafood cooked sparsely or not at all. If you go left however, the market ends with a huge building on the right. Hundreds of fish mongers peddle their lively catch on the lower floors. Pick a fish or sea creature and they'll weigh it, price it, and serve it to you upstairs. It's expensive, and mostly served raw.
Less than fifty meters to the left of the big fish market building is an open seafood shack that needs no name. It's run by three older ladies, The Fates we'll call them, just cause. Truth be told, if you want to find The Fates, you'll pass by several similar open grill shacks with ajumma beckoning you to come in. Radiohead said it best: "There's always a siren, singing you to shipwreck." Don't fuck those sirens.
I ate here four times in June, ordering the Jo Ge Gui, shellfish grilled over coals, each time. They serve you mussels and clams as an appetizer while they prepare the main course.
These are cold and lightly sauced. Not too salty or spicy, though there are bits of Jalapeno. The second appetizer is a bowl of mussel, onion, and leek soup. I've found that Koreans don't heavily flavor their mussels, and that's alright for an appetizer.
Enough of that, right? Onto the main course.
That's real butter you see there, and on the left, that's no Georgia O'Queef painting, that's some
real life sea cunt abalone that's about to get eaten.You get so much variety here, and the ladies will help you cook, cut, and flip the meat. I've only gotten the conch shells here once, those little guys are like rare pokemon.
The Fates run a family friendly establishment.
They've conjured a sauce that brings out all the flavor of shellfish without being salty. The brown base leeches the juice of the onion and peppers, producing a balanced flavor that isn't overpowering like soy sauce. It adds aroma, flavor, and moisture to the meat without overstepping its bounds, leaving the flavors of the shellfish in complete balance. This sauce knows its place better than a Muslim wife with three black eyes.
As if all that wasn't enough, the meal isn't over when you finish the shells. They bring out a pot of sujebi, hand-pulled strips of dough, boiled in a thin soup with seaweed and sesame. They've brought out additional shellfish with mixed vegetables and mushrooms and octopus salad as well. They like to keep you guessing.
Price range: With 4 or more people, just 10k each. What a steal.
Tips: It's better to undercook the shells than overcook them. Try cooking a few in shitty beer and see how you like the taste. A French person taught me that.