The Korea Herald


[Epicurean challenge] New ‘rice thief,’ saeujang

By Im Eun-byel

Published : April 12, 2018 - 16:26

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Soy sauce-preserved crabs are called a “rice thief” in Korea, as people find it hard to stop eating when the succulent raw crabs are served. But there is a new contender for that coveted title -- raw prawns marinated in soy sauce.

Called “saeujang” in Korean, this delicacy is popular among foodies who sing praises of raw seafood preserved in soy sauce. 

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

To make saeujang, the prawns are soaked in a special soy sauce marinade, painstakingly boiled and cooled every 24 hours for three to five days. The process guarantees the freshness of the raw, preserved prawns.

The sauce flavors the prawns while softening their texture at the same time. A bowl of steaming rice is the perfect accompaniment, proving the saeujang‘s moniker “rice thief.”

The dish is served cold. The taste is sweet and briny, with a hint of spiciness if chopped chili is added. As the soy sauce’s salinity is considerably high, diners may have to reach for water frequently.

Though soy-sauce preserved crabs are considered more of a delicacy, some prefer the prawns as they are much easier to eat. Most restaurants serve prawns with the shells removed.

Though its looks could be shocking at first, the dish itself is not too challenging, considering that it is widely eaten around the globe in the form of sushi. But first timers may have to get over the discomfort of looking at the piercing eyes of the prawns.

By Im Eun-byel (