Chilam Mountain Bear Eel Restaurant – 칠암산곰장어 (Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea)

Before embarking on our Busan adventure, I set a challenge for both my friends and myself: to step out of our culinary comfort zones and explore foods that we wouldn’t typically indulge in. Initially, I had only considered trying raw octopus, but as we got there, we decided to take our taste buds on an even more daring journey.

As we stepped out of the train station, the salty aroma of the sea was already hanging in the air, instantly giving Busan a lively, beach holiday vibe. It was a refreshing contrast to the tall buildings and fast-paced environment we were accustomed to in Seoul. After dropping off our luggage at our Airbnb, we wasted no time and headed out to explore. We wandered into a vibrant street with numerous shops and restaurants, and our culinary curiosity led us to Haeundae Traditional Market.

Given that it was well past lunchtime, the restaurants were relatively empty. Nevertheless, we were warmly welcomed by what appeared to be the restaurant’s owner, who extended an inviting gesture to us. We noticed that this eatery had made an appearance on Korean Television KBS My Hometown, piquing our interest even further.

From the menu, we decided to challenge our palates with two dishes: the Assorted Seafood (해산물모듬) and Grilled Scallop (가리비구이). The Assorted Seafood Platter featured four different raw seafood options: Sea Pineapple (멍게회), Spoon Worm (개불), Abalone (전북), and Sea Cucumber (해삼회). Alongside the seafood, a variety of side dishes arrived at our table, including green pepper, garlic, carrots, and a slightly salty mussel soup. Additionally, we were provided with two sauces, Ssamjang and Gochujang.

The Abalone (전북) proved to be quite a challenge with its dense and slightly sweet texture. Sea Pineapple (멍게회) offered a rubbery and bitter taste compared to the other seafood on the platter. Sea Cucumber (해삼회) lacked flavour and was somewhat slimy, finding a better companion in the Ssamjang sauce. On the other hand, the Spoon Worm (개불) was more palatable, featuring a sweet taste and a somewhat rubbery texture. If I had to pick a favourite from the seafood platter, it would be the Spoon Worm.

The Grilled Scallop (가리비구이) was a delightful choice, offering a delicious contrast to the entirely raw seafood. The scallops delighted our taste buds with their expected sweet and pleasant flavour. This dish became my preferred option out of the two we ordered.

In the end, The Chilam Mountain Bear Eel Restaurant (칠암산곰장어) didn’t necessarily offer an exceptionally extraordinary dining experience. It appears that people visit this place for the adventure of trying unusual foods. Nevertheless, it was a rewarding experience to step out of our culinary comfort zones and savour something new.

칠암산곰장어 (Chilam Mountain Bear Eel Restaurant)
Address: 1394-298 중제1동 Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea
Phone: +82 51-742-8218

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1 Response

  1. Eha Carr says:

    Wish I had been there! The scallops are beautifully served and I absolutely adore abalone which these days is rather expensive in Australia. Actually I looked at the name of the restaurant and did hope they actually served eel . . . I absolutely love it to bits be it smoked or jellie-0 this being the way I thought it might be served there – well, no luck but I think you ordered a very enjoyable meal!!!

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