When I was a child I adored Jwipo (쥐포) so much. It was my favourite snack in the world.
Grilled Jwipo is sold on the street occasionally nowadays but it also used be sold at cinema snack bars as well. There was an episode when I went to see “Jurassic park” with my friend. I found that the snack bar was selling some grilled Jwipo, so I bought one just before the movie started. However as I finishing the one I had in my hand, I wanted to have some more. I ended up continually going backwards and forwards to get more Jwipo during the whole movie. I think I nearly ate about 10 or more of them (It was my second time watching the movie, for the record). It felt like I went to the cinema to eat those Jwipos instead of watching the movie, yet since then I don’t have any memories of eating Jwipo.
The other day, Zenkimchi wrote in his post that Jwipo is one of the strangest foods he had ever had, and that reminded of me how I fell in love with it at one time. So when I went grocery shopping the next day I instinctively grabbed Jwipo. The packet I bought only had 4 disks of Jwipo but it was extra big size for 3300 won (US $ 3.50)
I just baked them on a gas burner on medium heat. It was slightly salty and sweet, but fishy. It also was quite chewy. My jaw got sore a bit later. In general, it wasn’t as delicious as I remembered but it was a good snack.
Later I looked at the back of the packet and there were a couple of cooking methods recommended by the manufacturer. The first and second methods were for making spicy seasoned or soy sauce seasoned Jwipo as side dishes, which I will cover some other time. The third method was grilling Jwipo on a frying pan with some butter and the forth method was microwaving it slightly and using some Gochujang (Korean chili paste) or mayonnaise as a dipping sauce. The forth one is a common way to serve at a drink bar as well.
Jwipo is made out of filefish (dried, pressed, and seasoned). Once there was a rumor about filefishes that they are nearly extinct in Korea because of the massive consumption of Jwipo by Korean people. I have no idea if that is true or not.
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