A friend of mine recommended a Korean restaurant called “Together” which we frequented for pork hot pots and other late night fried goods. Their menu is mostly in Korean, so I naturally only could recognize a very small amount of the items, and one happened to be grilled mackerel. One day I got it and I never looked back.

Growing up, I really didn’t understand why my family enjoyed whole fish so much. Compared to all of the salty junk food that you eat as a child growing in America, steamed or broiled fish seems quite bland, and you have to deal with all of those little bones… so why bother?

It’s just an inherently gastronomic food. You have a contrast between the crispy skin and tender meat underneath. Mackerel is usually on the fatty side, so you’ll tend to get a really rich fat flavor, which you’ll then cut with a citrus component such as lemon. Different parts of the fish have unique textures… and if you get the head you can dig into some nice eye and cheek meat. There is a slight learning curve at first when you’re picking it apart, but overall it’s just a complete package that offers a balance of very extreme flavors and textures.

The best part is you don’t have to feel guilty when you eat mackerel since mackerel is known for having a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and protein.

I really think that a lot of us college kids in America overlook fish, and maybe we should have it more often as it’s not very expensive, nutritious, widely available at local restaurants, and it’s simply delicious.

I tend to see grilled/broiled mackerel at Korean and Japanese restaurants, which it might also be called “hokke.”

Locations in Austin that I know serve this:

  • Together Korean Restaurant on Lamar (next door to Thanh Nhi)
  • Korea House on Research Blvd.

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