Coming to Korea and living by myself, getting food was a challenge, especially if I wanted a little taste of home. The first concoction I figured out to make was a shrimp po’ boy. The ingredients are readily available and are actually more convenient and cheaper than they were back home.
Start with the bread. It ain’t that bad here. It’s actually pretty good. These days Korea is full of bakery chains. Yes, they contain mostly monstrous concoctions of mayonnaise, ketchup and sugar, but the standard baguettes do well. And they’re really not that popular with the Korean customers, so there are always some sticking up in a basket. I personally like Paris Baguette’s garlic ones. This is just a simple small baguette we have here. I halved it and did a classic “hinge cut,” not slicing it all the way so it opens up like Pac-man.
Here’s the other convenience. You can find these pre-breaded shrimp everywhere there’s a freezer. They’re coated in panko bread crumbs, there super crunchy, and they’re quite affordable. Keep them in your freezer. They fry up best that way.
You don’t need much oil to fry these, just 5 cm or 2 inches deep. Heat the oil on medium to medium high heat, just until it starts to shimmer. Drop in half a dozen or so shrimp. They cook quickly. You don’t have to wait until they’re dark brown to take them out because they continue to cook and brown after they’re removed. Drain them on a collander or paper towels.
For veggies, I shave some onion and grab some lettuce or cabbage. If tomatoes are available I add them too. For a sauce, they have a mayonnaise out there with pickles in it–basically a tartar sauce. The mayo is a little tastier on this side of the world because they put MSG in it. If you don’t have a reaction to MSG, it’s perfectly fine in reasonable doses. For this sandwich, I had a bottle of “lemon tartar sauce,” which did the trick just fine.
I had some cornmeal on hand from a friend. I used it to fry up some oysters. It’s still very hard to find cornmeal in Korea, so it’s not necessary to do it for your po’ boy unless you want to. Just mix some cornmeal and regular flour (50/50) with a little salt and Cajun seasoning if you have any. Fry them up quickly as you did the shrimp.
For assemblage, I slathered the baguette with butter and toasted it. Then I laid down the onions and lettuce, the shrimps with their tails removed, threw on some tartar sauce and finished with some dashes of Tabasco.
Simple and good with a chilly beer.
More pics here.