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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

DaBu

If you’re looking for Japanese style sushi with just a dash of Korean, DaBu is the place. Situated in Samsandong, DaBu is the businessman’s (read expense account) sushi restaurant. The menu is more of an “A Course” ” Course” or “C course style” rather than piece-meal ordering by the type of fish. I was fortunate enough to go with my wife and one of her friends whose husband is an oil man. He spends 10 months of the year in Saudi Arabia working natural gas production and 2 months a year back here in Korea. Needless to say he carries a fat wallet and large expense account.

Our dinner hosts had already arranged reservations for the six of us, something that is highly recommended on busy weekend nights, or holidays which is when we attended.  We had a cozy room to ourselves, adorned with faux Japanese Samurai memorabilia. I checked out the Samurai sword displayed on the mantel and was disappointed to find it was only a wooden replica.

The food, however, was anything but replica. The chefs are certified sushi chefs and artfully arranged the dishes that were brought in in course after course. A salad course was first followed by the sashimi trays. The sashimi trays offered delicious slices of fish, shell fish and even the dreaded “Sea Penis.” Being the polite guest that I am, I ate some of  everything, even the Sea Penis which had the consistency of tire rubber but almost no taste. We were pleased that the restaurant offered by Korean style and Japanese style seasoning sauces. I am a fan of soy and wasabi while she loves the gochujang red sauce.

We ate far more than any human needs, but the courses kept coming as if they were feeding an army. Our dinner partners also kept ordering sake, which helped to wash down the food and increase my appetite. Perhaps because of the course and its price, perhaps we we ordered several bottles of beer and sake the staff brought in several trays of “service” – dishes not normally on the menu but are given as extras. Lobster sashimi was a service item as was a tray of 초밥 which is the typical slices of fish on a pat of rice one would find in a sushi bar. Topping off the meal was a course of soup laden with large hunks of whitefish followed by fresh fruit.

I was truly stuffed by the end of the meal, but kept “tasting” the various trays that were brought out. None of us wanted to offend the staff by not eating what they so lovingly prepared.

By the time we left, I was very appreciative of the proxy driver whose office is directly below the restaurant. No waiting, we just informed the man of our need for a driver and we were off.

Sashimi Tray

Lobster sashimi. Very small, but unbelievably tender and delicious.

Swordfish sauted in a soy-ginger sauce, tempura and fried fatty underbellies.

A mixed seafood pate on the right and in the upper left are Sea Penis, thankfully twisted to look not quite so...penis-y

To find DaBu, the simplest directions are to follow the south side Taewha River eastward. Go past the road to Lotte department store and the bus terminal and follow the signs for Ulsan Station.  Dabu is on the left on the corner at the first light.

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