I eat brains
August 22, 2007 7:18 AM   Subscribe

[Zombiefilter] What was the small brain-like item in my bowl of Korean soup?

I just arrived in Seoul for the first time. Famished, I headed to the local corner sashimi joint. Among the dozen or so dishes was a soup served in a hot earthenware pot containing what looked very much like a little brain, about four inches in diameter, complete with what appeared to be a little brain stem. Upon giving it a little nibble, I found that it had none of the squishy livery texture and taste of pig brains, my only culinary encephalonic reference point. It turned out to have a rather pleasant firm texture and slightly fishy flavor. I've certainly never seen anything like this attached to any fish, though. What was it?
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A fish brain of some sort, probably. I had a similar thing in a soup in Japan and confirmed it was a brain from a fish for whose Japanese name I couldn't find an English equivalent.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 7:38 AM on August 22, 2007

It sounds like fish cake. There are lots of varieties and some look like mini brains.
posted by mphuie at 8:51 AM on August 22, 2007

4 inches in diameter in a huge fish brain, though... And I doubt it would have a firm texture.
posted by lain at 9:04 AM on August 22, 2007

is* a huge fish brain...
posted by lain at 9:05 AM on August 22, 2007

Seconding fish cake. Did it look like anything on this plate?
posted by suedehead at 9:58 AM on August 22, 2007

It's probably not gefilte fish, but I always thought it looked like brains. Maybe some sort of Korean alternative to gefilte?
posted by tastybrains at 10:12 AM on August 22, 2007

Did it look like this or this? The first thing that comes to mind is shirako, or fish sperm (milt). It's a Japanese "delicacy" that's often used in hot pots.

Had it once in a soup and can't recall the taste, but the texture makes me shudder to this day.
posted by QueSeraSera at 10:15 AM on August 22, 2007

Cod sperm sac.

I'm not kidding. That's what you ate.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:43 AM on August 22, 2007

Cod sperm is delicious, if somewhat daunting...then again, I have had worse things in my mouth. Tamasei Sushi on 24th Street here in San Francisco has it available occasionally.
posted by Mmothra at 11:13 AM on August 22, 2007

The texture of Shirako isnt firm by any means. Its more like pudding.
posted by mphuie at 11:16 AM on August 22, 2007

QueSeraSera and mr_roboto have nailed it. That second link in QueSeraSera's answer is identical to what I ate, which was surprisingly tasty. It did seem much too large to be a fish brain of any sort. I suppose it is really not any more strange to eat fish milt than fish roe.
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 12:59 PM on August 22, 2007

Fish sperm.

You were eating Maeuntang.

I actually had al-tang last night (fish eg soup), which is chock full of fish sperm and fish ovaries (?). Great food.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:10 AM on August 23, 2007

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