What’s Nonmegi Maeuntang?
Nonmegi Maeuntang is a boiled spicy catfish stew that uses live catfish and lots of hot pepper in a broth made from kelp and radish. This spicy soup’s abundance and affordable price makes it one of the best local dishes. One particular variation of adding wheat flakes to the soup offers a deeper tasting broth in harmony with the soup’s other ingredients. Immediately following the IMF financial crisis, this soup became a "new style of hot pepper fish stew from Daegu", which dared to challenge the traditional hot fish stew. Hailing from Bugok-ri, Dasa-eup, Dalseong-gun, Daegu, this soup has enjoyed great popularity as an inexpensive hot pepper fish stew featuring catfish bred in rice paddies. (reference from: http://www.greenstel.or.kr/eng/sub04/sub04_01_4.asp)
I went to Bugok-ri, Dasa-eup, Dalseong-gun, Daegu where the whole village sells Nonmegi Maeuntang. Among them, I will introduce you the original Nonmegi maeuntang place in the village today.
The original field catfish maeun-tang of Son Jung-Hun is the only Restaurant that has Wonjo(meaning “original”) on its restaurant sign board. The restaurant was named after the owner Sonjoongheon. He was the first one who started to raise Megi(Catfish) in paddy field and played a large role in making the village as a Nonmegi Maeuntang village. Hailing from the village, the soup has been loved by all Daegu citizens.
When you first enter the restaurant passing the automatic door, you can get a little bit confused since the restaurant looks like a residence. The house has been converted into restaurant and you will notice it’s a restaurant when you spot a vending machine and kitchen.
This picture is inside of the restaurant. You can see the kitchen on the upper right side of picture and it looked very clean and well organized.
Side dishes were all fresh and well seasoned, however the Sliced Radish Kimchi was too strong.
Following the side dishes, Nonmegimaeuntang was served after a while. It was full of glass noodles, fresh veggies and a huge uncooked catfish.
You should quickly stir the seasoning in order for the seasoning to penetrate deeper. The broth’s color turned into red after stirring.
This is Jepigaru(made from Jepi fruit), which adds rich flavor to the Nonmegi Maeuntang. It tastes a bit spicy and has a strong scent, but it helps to get rid of fishy smell.
The broth has thick and hearty flavor, not too strong and too salty. You can ask to pour more broth if you need. The flesh features its firm texture and it doesn’t have fishy smell while other freshwater fish smells fishy. That’s why people who don’t like smelly fish also can eat Nonmegi Maeuntang.
Why don’t you walk along the paddy field to enjoy a delightful rural scene after eating Nonmegi Maeuntang.
Click for detailed information of the restaurant including direction.