Dongbu Live Fish is a small, family-run hwal uh restaurant tucked away in the back corner of a strip mall, says degustateur. "In Korean culture, hwal uh refers to the centuries-old practice of serving thinly sliced portions of fresh raw meats or fish. Upon walking into Dongbu Live Fish and seeing the large irrigated saltwater tanks stocked with live fish, mollusks and crustaceans, I knew that I was in good hands."
Their signature dish is live halibut sashimi. A small order of hwal uh halibut sashimi—at $65—is more than enough to feed two hungry people.
Within minutes of ordering, your table will be laid out with an attractive array of quail eggs, sea squirt, and sea snail. "The sea squirt and sea snail were sublime, ocean fresh, right from the tank," says degustateur.
Then you get a ton of different little dishes: a delightful sashimi salad, hot crab with mussel, hot salmon with mussel, and a mixed cold noodle platter with tangily great baechu kimchee. Then: an intense platter of broiled mackerel pike.
Finally, the sashimi platter arrives. "The sashimi was very thinly sliced and elegantly presented atop a saran-covered bowl of ice. ... Rarely have I enjoyed sashimi so fresh," says degustateur.
And finally, you get maeuntang, a hot, spicy pot of soup made from the fish bones and leftover bits of halibut. This, says degustateur, is truly a wonderful dining experience.
Dongbu Live Fish [San Gabriel Valley]
18785 Colima Road, Rowland Heights