Larimichthys polyactis

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Also known 'Gulbi' in Korea

Small yellow croaker
Larimichthys polyactis.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Sciaenidae
Genus: Larimichthys
Species: L. polyactis
Binomial name
Larimichthys polyactis
(Bleeker, 1877)

Pseudosciaena polyactis Bleeker, 1877
Pseudosciaena manchurica Jordan and Thompson, 1911

gulbi, dried croakers

Larimichthys polyactis, called the redlip croaker, small yellow croaker, little yellow croaker or yellow corvina,[1] is a species of croaker native to the western Pacific, generally in temperate waters such as the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea. They are benthopelagic feeders that remain in shallow waters above 120 m but avoid brackish conditions. And the bottom of the water should be sand or mud. Individual males can reach 42 cm and common height is about 30 cm. Their body shape is almost rectangle. They have red lips, grey gold body, gold belly and light yellow fins. And inside of its mouth is white and a gill slit is black. In their head, there are the two hard pale white bones which keep balance when they swim, which is also used as a material of medicine. They can make a noise by moving their air bladder in order not to scatter. And they have a habit of leaping above the sea. In cold winter, they move to warm water, and they breed in February. The breeding season is from March to June. Usually they spawn 30,000 ~ 70,000 eggs. They usually eat shrimps, zooplankton, or sometimes small fishes.

Once an abundant commercial fish off China, Korea and Japan, its population collapsed in the 1970s due to overfishing.[2] Global catch has since rebounded, with 388,018 t landed in 2008.[3] Salted and dried, they are a food product known as gulbi (굴비) in Korean. Yeonggwang gulbi is a prized delicacy, selling for over $100 a bunch.[citation needed]

Stories about Gulbi[edit]

Origin of the name ‘Gulbi‘ 

In Yejong who is a 16th king of Goryeo dynasty era, Lee Ja-kyum let his daughter, Sundeok, become a queen and let their child, Injong, be enthroned.

Then, Lee Ja-kyum gave his two daughters to wife to Injong. He got strong through the marriage and rose to power. He also had an ambition to become the king.

Since that time Choe Sajeon put Lee Ja-kyum in the trap and exiled him. Lee Ja-kyum ate Yeonggwang gulbi in a place of exile. Finally he presented salted corvina which catched in Chilsan sea to king. And he never wanted to forgive and named it gulbi which means resist meaning(屈非:It means resist and sounds ‘gulbi’ in korean).

From then on, Yeonggwang gulbi was gone up on a royal table, and became famous and appeared in the spotlight.[4]

Yeonggwang dried yellow corvina is the most excellent choice in Beobseongpo served on the table of kings from the past. Croaker, at its spawning period, goes up to Yeonpyeong Island, and it is the plumpest and contains greatest amount of egg when it passes the coastal waters of Chilsan sea. It is caught, seasoned with Yeonggwang bay salt, dried with sea breeze, creating the best taste of its kind.[5] 

Manufacture of Gulbi[edit]

The basic manufacture steps are sorting, salting, weaving, washing, drying and keeping. In sorting, the fish Larimichthys Polyactis is classified. Then, the fishes are salted and weaved with rope. Drying the fish must be done next. Lastly, keeping and preserving gulbi is an important step. But each step differs from each other types of gulbi. Also, the order of the steps differs too. Traditional manufacturing and modern manufacturing differs. Traditionally, people had to preserve the fish for a long time, so gulbi had no moisture. Nowadays, the technology of keeping food cool-refrigerator has developed. So, gulbi doesn’t have to be dried extremely. Also, less salt is used, and the fishes are dried shorter.[6]

1.    Barley Extraction Gulbi

The Gulbi is usually manufactured at November to March. 7.27℃~-3℃ is adequate for manufacturing. First, sorting is done. The yellow croakers are sorted by size, weight. Salting can be done in 2 ways. Salt can be directly dropped, or the croakers can be washed in salt pond. After 8 hours, they are weaved by 20 units or 10 units. Then washing is done in clean water. Lastly, weaved croakers are dried with barley for 3~6 hours.

2.    Ocher Gulbi

First, a germicide, which is a combination of ocher, salt, organic acid and ethanol. Then the fishes are put in a salt pond. If the fishes are big enough, they are kept in the salt pond over one week. But usually, they are kept in the salt pond for 5 to 7 days. There are 2 ways to make salt pond. The salt pond can be water that salt has melted. Otherwise, the salt pond can be just a stack of salt. Then 1st drying should be done. After the salt pond, the moisture of the gulbi is dripped because of the osmotic phenomenon of salt. Too much drying by dripping of the moisture can cause loose of weight and make the gulbi stiff. So, gulbi should be dried in the refrigerator. The germicide is effective while drying the gulbi, because the gulbi is exposed to harmful germs by air. Then the gulbi is washed in the water for 1 to 2 days again. Then the 2nd drying should be done. The 2nd drying is done in a shade with warm wind. When the gulbi has adequate moisture, they are grouped into 10 to 20 fishes and kept in refrigerator. Then the ocher gulbi is finished.

Recipes of Gulbi[edit]

1)Grilled / Fried Gulbi

1 - Scrub the scales cleanly back and forth, then wash and wash the water

2 - bake on a hot pan or grill or fry in cooking oil 

2)Steamed Gulbi

1- Remove the scales, cut the snout and fins, crimp twice, and put out the two pieces.

2 - If you put the kelp on the bottom of the pot, the celery does not stick to it.

3 - Pour only enough water to soak the kelp and ginger gulp.

4 - Sprinkle pepper powder, sesame oil, sesame seeds in order.

5 - Garlic clove, blue, red pepper, and put garlic stalks are scattered a little bit, then close the lid, start at high boil, reduce the fire and boil for 15 minutes. 

3) Gulbi Hot Soup

1 – Boil sliced radish, gochujang with water in pan.

2 – If you finished process 1, wash thoroughly, and put the half – cut gulbi, chopped garlic, red pepper powder, slashed red pepper, bracken. Then boil until the radish get soft.

3 - Add onion and pumpkin, boil, and season with salt.

4 – Put slashed onion, red pepper and simmer it.  

4) Gulbi muchim

Rinse whole dried gulbi with bean curd and dip it into gochujang and eat it or eat it according to its taste (picked with sesame oil, seasoned soy sauce, seasoned red pepper paste)  

5) Gulbi Rice Porridge

1 - Wash gulbi thoroughly with brine, remove gills, internal organs and fins, and wash thoroughly.

2 - Put groomed gulbi in pot and boil whole. (Boiled water is used to boil the porridge)

3 - After cooling the cooked culinary stalks, it is salted.

4 - Pumpkin and carrots are sliced.

5 - Eggs are divided into white and yolk, respectively, fry each one with zidan, slice it.

6 - Put the rice in a pan, fry with sesame oil, boil the boiled water and boil.

7 - Put gulbi, pumpkin and carrot.

8 - Put in a porcelain bowl and put the zidan on the table. It is good to lightly add jujubes and parsley leaves. 

6) Gochujang Gulbi

Put Gulbi in the washing water of rice, remove the vinyl, cut its snout and fins. slice it equally into 5~6 pieces. Then, place Gulbi and gochujang every layer alternately. You can enjoy it for a whole year for a extreme – delicious side dish.

 Tips : How to cook Gulbi well[edit]

step 1 : storage frozen right after purchasing Gulbi.

Right after buying gulbi, you have to cut the fin off and put 3~4 gulbies to the zipper bag (the amount that you’ll eat by one meal). if you want the more chewy flavor, dry it in windy places 2~3 days and storage it the same way that I said before. 

step 2 : how to trim before roasting

most gulbies sold trimmed, and when you cook it, the scales separate from their body automatically. If the gulbi is small, cooking with not removing the scales make the flesh more solid and delicious. If the gulbi is big, it’s okay to remove some scales. Try not to make gulbi touch the water : touching the water reduces gulbi’s taste. 

step 3 : roasting on a grill

if you roast on a grill, the fish oils comes out and it roasts gulbi super delicious.. if you roast on fan or you use gulbi which was being frozen, you hav to use some oil(Not too much. the fish oil also comes out of gulbi). using the oil which does not contains much scent(like bean oil, or brown rice oil) is good.

if the gulbi is already seasoned, just roasting is the most delicious. if you want some extra seasoning, season it less. 

step 4 : if steaming or simmering...

If the dish contains soup, you have to remove fins and scales. if you use some alcohol before cooking, you can remove fishy smell. if it’s too salty or too fishy, put it into water with rice. it’ll help you to make a successful dish.[7]


  1. ^ "Larval anisakids collected from the yellow corvina in Korea". Kisaengchunghak Chapchi. 24 (1): 1–11. June 1986. PMID 12886102. 
  2. ^ Orleans (ed), Leo A. (1980). Science in Contemporary China. Stanford University Press. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-8047-1078-7. 
  3. ^ "Larimichthys polyactis". Fisheries Global Information System. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Yeonggwang County Office". 
  5. ^ "Yeonggwang County Office". 
  6. ^ "제 55회 전국과학전람회 작품번호 1621- 겉보리굴비의 제조 방법 및 산패 억제 효과". 제 55회 전국과학전람회 작품번호 1621- 겉보리굴비의 제조 방법 및 산패 억제 효과. 
  7. ^ "영광굴비의 맛있는 요리방법". 

External links[edit]