*** Wal Mi Do has closed
*** Part 2 of this post can be found here.
I noted in my brief post on Sam's reappearance at Walmido, that Sam had told me to drop by for dinner and he'd have a "surprise" for me. So recently, I did just that. It turned out to be an interesting night. My previous experience with Hwe (Hoe - raw) type dishes has been Hwe Dop Bop, and the occasional Kimbap (a roll). During my previous lunch time visit, I had a fairly quick meal of Hwe Dop Bop, chatted with Sam and hit the road......
But early on this evening, I arrived, in a much more relaxed state. I took in the rather small sushi bar (7 seats), and the large tank of live seafood residing right next to it.
A few minutes later, a green salad, some edamame, and miso soup arrived. Sam clapped his hands together and said; "ok Kirk-san, are you ready?" At which point Sam walked out the side of the sushi bar, and back around the kitchen area, only to appear behind tank.
I started to say something about not bothering with the live abalone, it's not one of my favorite things, when I noticed it.... Sam, cracking up, said;" look Kirk-san, they know I'm coming, they're running away..." I made some feeble remark how quickly I'd get "out of Dodge" if I saw Sam's face peering at me through a piece of glass as well. Sam brought a little Octopus out of the tank, seething and wriggling out of the tank. After extricating it...or more appropriately removing his hands from the suckers of the baby Octopus, Sam placed in on a plate.
Sam told me, "I'll make it just the way I like it....salt and sesame oil." Ohhhhkay.....
You know, unlike the very talented and ever intrepid Eddie Lin(man, I love his writing), I don't seek this stuff out. But put it front of me, and I'll likely, with a few exceptions, eat it. It's a matter of respect and appreciation. Plus, Mom always said, "you have to try it once....if you don't like it, ok, but you must try it once....." Words of wisdom, if I've ever heard any. (Though I've paid sorely a few times over the years....)
Plus, Sam rambled on about his love for Sannakji, so you know I had to try it! I guess you could say, I've been "sucked in?"
And so here I was, beyond all the bad puns, peering at writhing segments of suction cups on a plate. The sesame seeds just made things look much more peculiar; pulsating, shiny, smelling of sesame oil.......
The flavor is very mild, and most of it came from the sesame oil and sea salt. Knowing the love that Korean's have for various textures, from the stretchy Naengmyun to the crust developed on a Dolsot (stone bowl), I can understand why they love this. It is the ultimate in a meaty-chewy texture, and it moves around in your mouth of it's own, semi-free will to boot! And if you thought peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth was problematic.......
It is a strange sensation.....you're trying to chew and swallow dinner, while dinner is fighting back in desperation.....it's the ultimate, "You kill me, I kill you right back" moment.
I did clean my plate......and only had to pull the little suckers off my teeth or the roof of my mouth a few times. I had a harder time separating the wriggling, pulsating segments. Not something I'll crave, but not terrible.
So, if you decide to have some Sannakji, tell Sam to make sure to get a "lively one"...and chew like heck! It is probably worth trying, and who knows, you may end up loving it. You'll never know unless you try it. And, I'm pretty sure that you can't get this anywhere else in San Diego.
If you thought this was interesting, stay tuned for part two, in which I learn a bit more about the differences between a Japanese Sushi bar, and a Hwe Restaurant. And we delve a bit deeper into the Korean love affair with chewy and crunchy textures.
Wal Mi Do
4367 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111