Eat Korea: Saeng-seon-hoe (Korean Raw Fish Dish)

Eating out of Seoul, Sokcho in Gangwon-do

Eating raw fish is very common in Korea.

It’s not a daily dish though since it’s not cheap. Still, most of Koreans love eating raw fish called Sang-seon-hoe in Korean. There are a few Koreans who don’t like eating it if they didn’t have many chances to try this while growing. 


What’s Sang-Seon-Hoe different from Japanese Sashimi?

In general, Japanese Sashimi is sliced  thicker than Korean Sang-seon-hoe.

Also, while Sashimi is slightly aged at low temperature for a couple of days, Sang-seon-hoe doesn’t go through any aging process before being served. 

To give you a better idea, shall we take a look how Koreans order and enjoy Sang-seon-hoe?


Korean fishery market, Korean food
Harbor view of Dong-myeong-hang where the fishery market is located.


After the last Wednesday cooking class, I drove to Sokcho, Gangwon-do where situated in northern east coast of Korea with my mom and sister. When we stopped over at a rest area, I quickly looked up my list of place-to-go saved on my phone and decided to head for Dong-myeong-hang to buy fresh raw fish for dinner.

There are two reasons of my choice. First, this market is not too much well-known to the people from other cities. Second, the most of fish they sell is wild not farmed. This is essential as it determines the taste. Wild fish is chewier than farmed one and Koreans love things chewy. 

The information of Dong-myeong-hang doesn’t appear on English version of so use google translate and take a look briefly here. Dong-Myeong-Hang on


cooking class in seoul, korean cooking class
Street stores selling deep-fried seafood.


Just before getting the fishery market, there are some street stores selling deep-fried seafood like shrimp, squid and some small fish too. 

Cutting fish takes some time -about 10 to 15 minutes? -, it’s good to have appetizer here while waiting for your fish. 


korean food, cooking class in seoul, korean cooking class
Live fish tank of one seller.


How to Buy Live Fish

As soon as you get the fish market, you’re going to see many sellers and may pick a seller who looks nicer. The prices and service are pretty same. Tell your seller how much you’d like to buy then, he or she will start picking up some fish and will tell you how much you need to buy to eat enough for you and your friends. For some special fish and shellfish, you need to ask him to include. I wanted to buy an octopus to put in my instant Korean Ramen but gave up as they were still expensive. Octopus comes from the south sea so, in the east coast still expensive. 

If choosing fish is done, it’s time to move inside and watch cutting your fish. There are separate small stores that do the cutting job for fish sellers. As they are separate, you need to pay separately as well. Cutting fee is 10% of your fish price. In my case, we bought the fish of 40,000 KRW including see cucumber so paid 4,000 KRW for cutting. In this store, you can also buy dipping sauce and some vegetables to go with fish. 


korean food,cooking class in seoul, korean cooking class
This is what we had.


We had the assorted small fish and see cucumber and bough Cho-gochujang and wasabi for dipping sauce. 

Can’t wait to eat! After purchasing everything, you can go up the second floor where tables are set though, I choose to eat at my hotel room to enjoy it with some drink. 


korean food,cooking class in seoul, korean cooking class
Saeng-seon-hoe dinner!


How to Eat Korea Raw Fish

The very Korean dipping sauce, Cho-gochujang is sour chili paste. I love eating my raw fish with soy sauce and wasabi too but can’t miss Cho-gochujang! Plus, make sure to have lettuce and sesame leaves with some sliced garlic too. No doubt that I had a great dinner ever with Korean refined rice wine, Cheong-ju. Khya! (This is the sound Koreans make when they had a shot of drink. haha)

I have a video of live fish tank so will upload that too soon. 


Korean cooking class in Seoul




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *