A Dish To Know: Hwae Dup Bop

If you are a fan of sashimi and raw forms of sushi, read on. I need to tell you about hwae dup bop. This Korean-inspired sashimi dish seems perfectly suited for Japanese menus. Yet I rarely encounter it on any menu. Essentially it's a spicy fish bowl – one of the healthiest and most delectable “Japanese” dishes I know. And I would desperately like for it to become more popular.

Essentially it's a mound of sushi rice with dressed greens and seaweed on top of it. On top of those is are small portions of tuna sashimi, salmon sashimi, yellowtail sashimi, whitefish sashimi, cooked squid, egg and perhaps some other sashimi based on the chef's selection. Then it is garnished with kampyo, sesame seeds, a little fish roe and a bottle of spicy sauce. Yes, you make the spicy as spicy as you want. In my experience it's a suracha-like spicy sauce with some nice flavor and heat that brings everything together. The dish is a little like the more-popular chirashi, but has lots of greens and seaweed as well as the spicy element. Also the fish included is typically more basic, which I prefer. I’ve heard compare it to a fusion of chirashi and bi bim bop and I pretty much agree with that assessment.

Hwae dup bop is so tasty, with all the flavors and textures making every bite pop. It fills me up pretty fast and is a complete and altogether healthy meal even as a stand alone dish. I almost always get this dish when I visit Saica in Ann Arbor for Japanese food, but have rarely seen it elsewhere. I would love for this dish to become more popular and widely served, as it is one of my absolute favorites. I could eat it for lunch or dinner – or both! So start looking for it and asking for it yourself and maybe we can develop a little niche demand for this yummy, little spicy fish bowl.

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