Haemul Pajeon: What Is It, Where To Buy, and How To Eat?

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Experimenting with food is a perfect way to better know your personal preferences. One way you can experiment is by trying a different culture’s cuisine. 

Korean cuisine is a great start since it’s versatile, and one dish you should try is haemul pajeon.

Haemul pajeon is a traditional Korean dish that includes scallion and other types of seafood. It’s a seafood pancake consisting of a variety of seafood like shrimp, squid, clams, and sometimes even octopus. Haemul pajeon is a type of pajeon, a scallion pancake, and there are other types of pajeon as well.

The rest of this article will cover what haemul pajeon is, how to eat it, and a brief conclusion.

What Haemul Pajeon Is

Haemul pajeon (해물파전) is a specific type of Korean scallion pancake. Pajeon comes from the words pa (파) and jeon (전). 

Pa means scallion, and jeon is a term referring to foods that have either been pan-fried or battered. In pajeon, this batter is often wheat and rice flour.

Pajeon is an extremely famous dish in Korea, and it’s growing around the world too. The pancake has a savory taste and you can identify it’s a scallion pancake by the visible scallions. 

You’ll see them scattered around the batter of the pancake.

There’s other types of pajeon available other than haemul pajeon. You can mix in different ingredients to get different variants. 

For example, the most recognizable Korean food is kimchi (김치). If you put kimchi in the scallion pancake, you make kimchi jeon (김치전). 

Where To Buy Haemul Pajeon

Since haemul pajeon is a meal, it’s harder to find than small snacks. You’re unlikely to see it at snack bars or cafes, so you should search for a restaurant while you’re in South Korea. 

Pajeon is a very popular Korean food, therefore you’ll find haemul pajeon in most restaurants.

Restaurant dine-in, take-out, or delivery are your best options. If getting it from a restaurant isn’t for you, then try going to a grocery store

In South Korea, you’ll find plenty of mix, batter, and or kits used to make not just haemul pajeon, but other types of pajeon as well.

Outside of Korea, there’s still many ways to get the dish. Like in Korea, you can go to a Korean restaurant and expect to find pajeon there. 

Check the menu online, or call and ask about the menu, before you go. You can go dine-in, get take-out, or order delivery. 

Although it’s much less likely that you’ll find premade pajeon at your local grocery store, there’s still a chance you can, so ask a worker to see if they have Korean cuisine. 

If not, then you can order the mix online or ask a Korean restaurant if they sell packaged goods.

If none of those methods work or appeal to you, then you can make pajeon yourself. 

You can either order the mix and then cook it with ingredients of your choice, or you can make the meal completely from scratch by using a recipe.

How To Eat Haemul Pajeon

Pajeon is a dish with many varieties. Although it doesn’t sound like it should have a lot of options, there are due to the different ingredients you can make it with. 

To eat pajeon, try changing up how you make it, and also how you eat it.

As for how you make it, you should choose which specific type of pajeon you want. There’s haemul pajeon, but you can expand your horizons and try something like dongnae (동내) pajeon, which has a lot of glutinous rice flour in it, making it more filling.

Changing the ingredients changes the flavor significantly, but how you eat it impacts your personal enjoyment of it too. T

here are two main ways it can be served. The first is serving it as an appetizer. Although it’s a big dish, you can cook a smaller portion.

On the opposite side of that, you can have haemul pajeon as a full meal. 

By full meal, that means rice, soups, and a whole table full of other side dishes. Korean cuisine consists of many side dishes to accompany the meal, so you should do the same.

Eating Haemul Pajeon With Different Ingredients

You don’t need to make drastic changes in order to get good results. Sometimes, all it takes is extra salt or oyster sauce to make the flavor much better. 

Or you can change the core ingredient. Haemul pajeon consists of seafood, so choose which seafood you want.

If you choose a squid pajeon over other seafoods, it’ll have more of a mild sweet taste. This type of pajeon is referred to as ojingeo jeon, or 오징어전 in Hangul. 

As mentioned before, there’s also kimchi jeon if you’re looking for a spicy taste.

Eating Haemul Pajeon As An Appetizer

As an appetizer, you can get a meal that’ll hold you over until your main course is ready. Haemul pajeon is best served hot since it’ll be crispy and give you the best texture. 

However, serving them at room temperature is another common choice Koreans make.

To make it as an appetizer, you’ll have to have a smaller portion. There are snack-sized portions of haemul pajeon available. 

You can find a recipe, or you can purchase a scallion pancake mix that will fit your needs.

Eating Haemul Pajeon As A Meal

Each meal of the day is important and special in its own way. Having haemul pajeon as a meal is a great idea to replenish your nutrients and provide comfort food. 

If you’re having it as a meal, be sure to make a bunch of side dishes with it.

In Korean food culture, side dishes are imperative. Oftentimes, in Korea, you’ll find restaurants that give you free, unlimited side dishes. 

These dishes are called banchan, or 반찬. They’re especially good if you need to feed a group of people.

The side dishes you choose should be plain and simple. You don’t need anything fancy to compliment the seafood taste.

For example, steamed vegetables are a great choice since they’re healthy, easy to make, and balance out the meal.

Some other side dishes you can try are: plain jasmine rice, stir-fried vegetables, braised beef noodle soup, braised pork belly, fish filet with chili sauce, stir-fried sesame beef, and sour and hot fish soup.

Conclusion

There’s a traditional dish in South Korea called haemul pajeon. It’s a seafood scallion pancake that’s made using various kinds of seafood. 

Shrimp, squid, clams, and even octopus are used to make these pancakes.

Made with wheat and rice flour, haemul pajeon is a famous dish that comes from the word pa, meaning scallion, and jeon, meaning a food that’s been battered or pan-fried. 

As for purchasing, you can buy haemul pajeon in Korean restaurants, online, or from a grocery store.

Eating haemul pajeon is simple. You can change up the flavors by using more sauce like oyster sauce or changing the core seafood ingredient. 

Also, you can change the portion size and have it as either an appetizer, or have it as a full meal with side dishes known as banchan.

About The Author

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Jason Park

Jason has been living in Seoul over 4 years and during that time, he has experienced a lot of the city's quirks and charms. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others who are interested in learning more about South Korea.

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