Sam’s Sushi near Humphreys a fish fanatic's paradise

Sam’s special menu Photo courtesy of Sam’s sushi
Sam’s special menu Photo courtesy of Sam’s sushi

Sam’s Sushi near Humphreys a fish fanatic's paradise

by ChiHon Kim
Stripes Korea

Sitting on the hill of the quiet corner of Anjeong-ri Village near the Camp Humphreys, Sam’s Sushi could be easy to miss. However, plenty of people are having no problem finding Sam’s as I learned during a recent lunchtime visit to the crowded restaurant.

The intimate establishment, which opened in April, is not a typical traditional Japanese restaurant. Sam’s specializes in Americanized sushi rolls like California rolls and offers delightful Japanese cuisine with fusion twists. Yeong-bok Baek, an owner and chef at the restaurant, also runs the Sam’s Sushi branch in Palm Springs, Calif.

Sam’s dining room is clean, has a cozy vibe and simple design, with black being the main color. I sat at the sushi bar for single diners and I ordered Sam’s Special for 14,900won (or about $12.52). The visually stunning food Baek and his crew serves up that I came across on social media a few weeks ago, led me this restaurant.

The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and treat all visitors like family. But I thought I must’ve walked into the wrong restaurant since the server didn’t know where I was ordering from. After a while, I showed the food photo posted on their Facebook page.

According to the server, the special menu is from the California branch and they posted the photo of the food on a trial basis in Korea. I started to dig in as soon as the colorful dish was placed in front of me.  The taste was a little bit different from what I expected. It was my mistake that I didn’t ask what the diced fish on top of the rice was before ordering.  It was a bit spicy to me as the tuna was thinly coated with sriracha hot sauce.

As an ordinary Korean, I have no problem with moderate spicy food, but I kept drinking water to cool down my mouth. Luckily the soft guacamole with rice helped offset the burning sensation.

Except for that diced spicy tuna (the spiciness of the sriracha sauce was knew to me), it was a great dining experience. The miso soup that came with the chirashi sushi was tasty, and the food presentation and the rest of the dish were delightful. The creamy crab meat with a slightly savory flavor, buttery raw salmon and other ingredients were matched well together.

If you love spicy food, this fresh offering from California is right for you. If you don’t, I recommend you opt to other items that have no spicy tuna since they boast a vast mix of popular sushi and fusion dishes.

The sushi menu is quite extensive, featuring American sashimi platters, chirashi-style entrees and more specialty rolls than one can count. Sam’s also has many modest non-sushi items, which includes deep-fried pork dumplings called Gyoza (4,000 won), baked green mussels (7,500won) and more.

For drinks, they serve soda, beer, wine and several types of sake that go with raw fish. They also have a kid’s menu which includes chicken/beef teriyaki, shrimp tempura, and California rolls (4 pieces).

Unsure of what to order? According to Ali Raze, who manages the restaurant, Rainbow, Red Dragon, Philadelphia Experiment and Rock and Roll are the restaurant’s most popular California roll selections. But be aware, the spicy tuna goes on top of the Red Dragon and Philadelphia Experiment.

Check out this great little restaurant that is already packing them in.

kim.chihon@stripes.com

Sam’s Sushi

Address: 96, Anjeongsunhwanro 222beon-gil, Paengseong-eup, Pyeongtaek-si
Operation hour: Mon – Thu 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri – Sat 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sun 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Phone: 031-691-0160
Price: range moderate

Come here, please.
E-jjo-geuro oseyo.

Did you see that?
Bwasseoyo?

What time is it?
Myeotsieyo?

It’s very cold today.
Oneul manhi chupneyo.  

What a beautiful day.
Oneul nalssiga jeongmal joh-neyo.  

It’s a hot day outside.
Oneul bakki neomu deowoyo.

I’m very hungry.
Neomu baegopayo.

This is delicious.
Igeo jeongmal masissneyo.  

This is so much fun.
Igeo jeongmal jaemi isseoyo.

It’s nice to see you.
Bangapseupnida.  

Are you hungry?
Baegopayo?

What do you want to eat?
Mwo meokgo sipeoyo?

Can we go now?
Gado doelkkayo?

I’m very tired.
Nan neomu pigonhaeyo.  

This looks like fun!
Jaemiisseo boyeoyo!  

Thank you so much.
Gamsahapnida.  

It’s time to go.
Ije gayahal siganieyo.

– ChiHon Kim, Stripes Korea

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