Andong salted grilled mackerel has been the salty stubbornness of the regional masters for 400 years

김태인 기자l승인2022.09.27l수정2022.09.27 17:20

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Andong was an inland region, and due to its geographical distance from the seafront, it was not possible to taste fresh seafood. Therefore, the people of Andong transported seafood from Yeongdeok, the nearest seaside area, and this is where the origin of Andongan mackerel began. It is only a few decades ago that the people of Andong began to eat mackerel more than 400 years ago, but it is only a few decades ago that Andongan mackerel began to be known to the world. <PowerKorea> met Ryu Yeong-dong, the founder of Andon Gan Godeungeo.

▲ Andong Gan Godeungeo (salted grilled mackerel) / CEO Ryu Yeong-dong

Andong salted grilled mackerel has been the salty stubbornness of the regional masters for 400 years

The ganjabi is a Gyeongbuk Andong dialect of the word “ganjab”, which means a person who does the work of salting fish. The people of Andong ate mackerel from the port of Ganggu in Yeongdeok, which is about 80 kilometers far that normally took 2 days and 1 night to travel but it is now an hour’s drive away. Dawn at Yeongdeok Ganggu Port, mackerel was loaded into a cart and at dusk it crossed the Huangjiang Hill to arrive Chat Street Market in Imdong which was submerged by the construction of the Andong Dam. When it came to Imdong, the mackerel was on the verge of rotting. So people plucked mackerel belly, removed the intestines, and salted the empty abdomen. It was the birth of Andong Gan Godeungeo. 

The one who put Andong Salted Mackerel on the dinning table home and abroad

It was in 1999 that as the industry developed, the mackerel, which had been pushed into refrigerated and frozen, became an Andong specialty. When Queen Elizabeth of England visited Andong, Ryu presented Andong salted mackerel as a local specialty. He said “In the mid-1990s, when Professor Yu Hong-jun introduced Andong mackerel in his books ‘My Cultural Heritage Tour’, it slowly became known. When Queen Elizabeth visited Andong, I thought I might be a good idea to present it to the queen. In the old days, a piece of mackerel was always placed on an adult rice table, which was not only a side dish, but also an imbued with the adult reverence culture of Andong, which contained the Confucianism.” 

He branded Andongan mackerel as a regional specialty for the first time, exporting it to 10 countries around the world, including the United States, with sales of over 24 billion won. 

Andong Gan Godeungeo loved by Koreans

Since ancient times, Andong has been densely populated with historic settlements, which not only has cooperation and exchange been well established in various rituals, but it has also been regarded as an important virtue. Therefore, in the case of the people of Andong, there were many opportunities to eat mackerel even if they did not perform rituals in their own homes. This is because ritual food is essentially a shared food. 

Currently, there are 9 companies in the Andongan Mackerel Producers Association. The Andongan Mackerel Producers Association, which produces mackerel according to the standards, set to protect the reputation of Andongan mackerel by using only 100% domestic mackerel at least 21cm in size. Among them, the mackerel caught in the South Sea and the North Jeju Sea is the most delicious, and the mackerel from autumn is said to be the tastiest. 

He is dreaming of taking another leap forward to continue the more than 400-year-old tradition of Andongan mackerel. “In order to preserve and inherit the Andongan mackerel, we are making various changes so that not only the young and old, but also the children can eat it casually.” Through him, we look forward to his move so that Andongan mackerel can regain its old reputation and capture the taste buds of people not only domestically but also around the world.


김태인 기자  red3955@hanmail.net
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