The Japanese call them niboshi.
Korean food blogs (the ones written in English anyway) refer to them as dried baby sardines.
They are slightly sweet, a little more than a little salty and very fishy.
They are also an essential part of most pan chan — the assortment of appetizers laid before you at the start of most Korean meals.
You will either love them or hate them. ELV and his staff love them.
As for Dae Jang Keum (DJK for short), unfortunately, those sardines and the ban chan (English spellings go both ways, no matter what Slapsie Maxie says), were the highlight of our meal. The daeji bulgogi (spicy marinated pork) was anything but, and the meat looked and tasted more steamed than barbecued.
Looking out the window we could see Tofu Hut right across the street, and after a couple of bites, we wished we had gone to our old reliable. Nonetheless, DJK was filled with fellow Korean travelers who seemed to be enjoying themselves, and The Food Gal® tells us it is one of her Korean-American friend’s mother’s favorite place to get her galbi on.
Perhaps they pegged us as wimps when it comes to this food, but if they had looked, they would’ve seen us polishing off those sardines like they were M&Ms. Maybe then they wouldn’t have served us a big, boring pile of steamed meat.
Too often, Americans (and Korean-Americans we’re guessing) get nothing but the same old, same old when it comes to Seoul food (like we did here). To see a level of cooking and presentation rarely experienced outside of the homeland, click here for gorgeous pictures of Korean Royal Court cuisine at its best.
Our meal above, including tip, came to $30.
DAE JANG KEUM KOREAN BBQ & TOFU RESTAURANT
3943 West Spring Mountain Road
Las Vegas, NV 89102