Golbaengi Muchim 골뱅이 무침 (Spicy Sea Snail Mix w Noodles)
We had another nostalgic Korean dish last week when the wife requested something a little more exotic, a dish called golbaengi muchim (spicy sea snail mix/salad). Though I am not a big fan of this particular dish, its request alone signals that some sort of drinking session will not be far off (party time). In Korea, this is usually consumed as anju (side dish with alcohol) such as beer or the popular soju (distilled rice/Korean vodka). Sadly, I remember always having to order an extra side dish while my compatriots continuously tried to persuade me on this dish. But it was all in vain; I just couldn't (and still can't) get over the idea of eating odd-looking snails from a can. As for the dish itself, It is simple to prepare as long as you have the main ingredients: canned sea snails (aka whelks), vegetables like shredded green onions, onion, and cucumber, mixed with a spicy sauce (gochujang) and other seasonings. We included some cold somyeon (thin noodles) which really brings more flavor and texture to the dish. As with most Korean dishes, it can get a little spicy and sour (from the vinegar), so adjust the amount of red pepper paste and sugar to remedy this problem. Although I pass on the sea snails themselves (which is good news to the wifey), I do enjoy the spicy noodles with vegetables, which makes for a refreshing and satisfying appetizer with some cold brew.