Friday, August 30, 2019

are 관자 (gwanja) the same as 가리비 (garibi)?

I was looking for large sea scallops in my local grocery when I came upon these expensive little boxes of "frozen pensheel" (FYI, the exclamatory Korean at the top of the box excitedly proclaims, "Perfect for a single meal!"):

The yellow-font Korean states that these are "gwanja-sal," where the word sal means "flesh" or "meat." I had a vague recollection that gwanja was one word for "scallop," but since I couldn't see inside the foggy window of the box, I couldn't immediately tell whether I was looking at sea scallops or at some sort of whitefish cross-section. When I did a Google Image search on gwanja, I came up with sea scallops, but when I asked one of the shop ladies whether gwanja were the same as garibi (another word for "scallop"), she consulted a coworker and finally said no. I was nonplussed, having expected a "yes," and I assumed some sort of communication breakdown had occurred. Did the two Korean words refer to different species of scallops? Did one term signify bay scallops while the other term meant sea scallops? Or could it be that the shop lady's coworker was simply confused? Naver Dictionary wasn't helpful, either: look up gwanja, and there's no definition that mentions scallops.

The term "pensheel" was throwing me off as well. I did some more Googling and soon realized the word was a typo: the correct term was pen shell, which actually refers to a type of clam, if you trust Wikipedia and Google Image. However, if you do a Google Image search on "pen shell meat," you get scallops.

This was only getting more confusing. It didn't help matters that scallop-related terminology in English was also frustratingly perplexing. There are, it turns out, many varieties of edible scallops, including calico scallops. I know, from watching enough Food Network, that bay scallops are the small, sweet mollusks that look a bit like cute little marshmallows. Sea scallops are the large ones, and so-called diver scallops are also large scallops, but the term technically means "scallops harvested by divers," and they can range in size from small to large. The term diver scallop is often associated with larger mollusks because those are the ones that divers are more likely to take from the sea.

I'm going to put my foot down and say that gwanja and garibi are interchangeable terms. Google Image searches of both terms lead to the same shellfish (specifically, do Google Image searches on 관자살 and 가리비살). Sure, I could be wrong to think this way. Look up the French terms poule and poulet in Google Image, and you'll get pictures of chickens, but a poule is specifically a hen whereas a poulet is a generic term for a chicken.


Charles said...

This is one of those distinctions I learned back when I was doing technical translation.

가리비 refers to the scallop as a whole--that is, to the entire mollusk, and to a specific type of mollusk. 관자, on the other hand, refers specifically to the adductor muscle in the scallop (or any other bivalve). I have seen the terms used interchangeably, but they are not actually the same thing. The distinction matters if you are distinguishing between just the adductor muscle and the entire fleshy part of the mollusk (like you might see at a buffet if you get 가리비 on the half-shell), or if you are talking about the adductor muscle of another type of mollusk. Thus, the shop lady's coworker was actually right, as the adductor muscles being sold were not from scallops but from pen shell clams (or "razor clams," which is how I've always known them--never heard them called "pen shell clams" before).

Kevin Kim said...

So this is a bit of a poule/poulet problem, then, inasmuch as one term means one specific thing whereas the other term can mean that thing, possibly interchangeably, or it can also mean another thing. Thanks.

Kevin Kim said...

Pen shells look thin and tiny in those photos, but when you do an Image search for "gwanja-sal," those adductor muscles look as huge as sea scallops. Out of curiosity, I opened up a gwanja packet and compared the meat to that of a Costco sea scallop. They look almost identical, even when you cut them open, but they smell distinctly different: the gwanja-sal had a fishier odor, whereas the Costco scallop had the typically sweet odor of a standard scallop.