There are many incredible dishes in the canon of Korean cuisine, but perhaps there’s one that stands at the top of the heap: Called ganjang gaejang, this lightly fermented crab is a specialty at Soban, a very straightforward, even spartan restaurant on the eastern edge of Koreatown in Los Angeles. At this establishment, the chefs prepare “flower” crab, a type of crab mainly found in Asia, and soak it in a complex marinade of soy sauce, mirin, aromatics, and even a healthy dose of medicinal herbs and roots. It sits for two days before it’s ready to be served just a tad colder than room temperature.
Eater editor and host Matthew Kang then dives deep into what makes ganjang gaejang so great, from the texture and the luxurious nature of the dish to its long complexity on the palate. It’s beguiling yet ultimately simple. Coupled with warm rice and a gorgeous layout of banchan, this hard-to-find specialty is, at least in Kang’s mind, the greatest thing to eat in the pantheon of Korean dishes.