Korean restaurant offers tasty freshwater snail stew

Photos by Chihon Kim
Photos by Chihon Kim

Korean restaurant offers tasty freshwater snail stew

by Chihon Kim
Stripes Korea

Though I thought the local specialty of Dangjin would be seafood since the area is adjacent to the western ocean, the delicacy in this small city is actually freshwater snail.

Why is freshwater snail the specialty of Dangjin? Thanks to the fertile and wide farming land in the area, the freshwater snail is in abundance and is the preferred ingredient for soybean paste stew instead of clams, shrimp or meat.

In 1970, workers at a big construction site near the Sapgyocheon Seawall in Dangjin had a taste of this special dish, and gradually its popularity spread throughout the country. Now it is the most representative food of Dangjin.

Located just a 5-minute drive from the Sinpyeong Brewery, Ureongibaksa, specializing in freshwater snail, is drawing foodies wanting to get a taste of this delicacy for themselves.

Though their signature menu item is Ssambap (leaf wraps and rice), which comes with rice, steamed freshwater snails, ssamjang (sauce made of doenjang, gochujang, sesame oil and greens) and fresh veggies, I chose the Doenjang-jjigae (7,000 won, or about $6.05) for lunch. Of course, this traditional stew also had lots of tasty freshwater snails.

The Doenjang-jjigae was not salty or spicy and had a savory flavor. This stew was delicious. If you’re looking for something new to try, Ureongibaksa is the place to go!

Address: 499-1 Doseong-ri, Sinpyeong-myeon, Dangjin-si, Chungcheongnam-do
Hours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (winter season)
Contact info: 041-353-1555

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