The Korea Herald


[Epicurean challenge] Step above steak tartare, yuksashimi

By Im Eun-byel

Published : April 5, 2018 - 17:25

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Yuksashimi is a dish of sliced raw beef. It is considered a challenging dish, even for many Koreans, as one has to get over the uncomfortableness of eating raw meat.

The dish became trendy on social media in the early 2010s, attracting the younger generation, and today raw beef eateries are filled with young people taking pictures of the food for online posts. 

Yuksashimi (Photo by Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald) Yuksashimi (Photo by Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald)

While the National Institute of Korean Language asserts the food should be called saengyukhoe, as the word “sashimi” is a Japanese word that could be replaced by a Korean equivalent, the dish is mostly referred to as yuksashimi.

Yuksashimi is served in a slightly frozen state for freshness. It has to be eaten before the defrosting starts. Diners dip the meat slices into chili paste sauce mixed with sesame oil. The dish is usually accompanied by traditional Korean liquor soju.

As the meat has not been cooked, its color is strikingly red. But the texture is very tender and, surprisingly, one can sense the sweetness of the meat after considerable chewing.

In comparison to Korean beef tartare, or yukhoe, the sashimi’s texture is more delicate, as the part of the beef used for yuksashimi is tenderer. While yukhoe’s overall taste depends strongly on the sesame oil and accompanying slices of pear, the meat’s freshness dictates yuksashimi’s taste.

Gwangjang Market in central Seoul is known for its “Yukhoe Alley,” where raw beef eateries line both sides of the alley. One will be surprised to see the stacks of raw meat piled in front of the stores when passing through.

By Im Eun-byel (