Caught-to-Order at Bada-Hwet Jip

Staff Writer
Seafood lovers watch their meals get caught and prepared moments before eating at Bada-Hwet Jip in South Korea

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Bada-Hwet Jip’s chefs are not your generic garde manger chefs in the restaurant kitchen — they are women divers in wet suits who literally hurl their nets through the air onto your table and crack open shells revealing glossy, fleshy oysters in front of your eyes.

The chefs of Bada-Hwet Jip in Jeju Island, South Korea, provide the freshest seafood dining experience possible, in which the customer places his or her order before the main ingredient is even caught. Food enthusiasts in Jeju Island enjoy the luxury of tasting uni, virtually exploding with freshness, minus the plating, kitchen prep, retail service, wholesale order, delivery, and so on. That is because Bada-Hwet Jip’s chefs are not your generic garde manger chefs in the restaurant kitchen — they are women divers in wet suits who literally hurl their nets through the air onto your table and crack open shells revealing glossy, fleshy oysters in front of your eyes.

"We called an hour in advance," said Lina Kim, a 28 year-old New Yorker and seafood aficionado. "Upon our arrival, we witnessed the woman diver climbing onto land with our freshly caught meal. It was the best piece of uni I ever tasted."

Driving along the sea, one could spot a queue of fish boats parked alongside the piers, bundles of seaweed drying on the roadside for later use in soups and side dishes, and women divers warming up on rocky banks before heading undersea to forage for shellfish. With food this local and this seasonal, it’s hard toreminisce about "fresh" seafood before traveling to this small island just south of the Korean peninsula.

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