The Pinnacle Shopping Center on Tobacco Road in Hephzibah, Georgia, is not on a sightseer’s map of the Central Savannah River Area. But if you are hankering for bulgogi or yaki mandu, the center’s Hosanna Fish Market, wedged between a beauty parlor and a nail salon, is a place you need to know about. Even those with little interest in Korean specialties should put this remote hole-in-the-wall on their to-eat list if they like inexpensive, expertly fried seafood in the most casual surroundings.
As the name says, Hosanna is a fish market, its fillets laid out in the open on a field of ice. On the wall behind the fish is a hand-written menu offering a dozen different fishes that can be fried and served on a plate (actually, in a Styrofoam clam shell) with cole slaw and crinkle-cut French fries (ho hum) or, for $1 extra, shrimp fried rice. The fried rice, made to order, is luxuriously oily and rich, and while the little bits of shrimp are minimal, its flavor is a delight.
I like fried flounder, which comes as a coiled-up fillet with delectably crunchy crust and an ample ribbon of buttery white meat within. I also like shrimp, which can be paired with any other available fish on the menu. They are modest-sized with firm flesh well complemented by their seasoned coat.
To the left of the fish menu on the wall, two little signs advertise bulgogi and yaki mandu, which are Korean standards, the former a great heap of marinated and pan-fried beef, the latter yummy little dumplings. Both are wonderful, the bulgogi a swirl of slightly sweet, peppery umami, the yaki mandu crisp-edged and packed with savory meat, onions, and spice. Alas, kim chee is no longer available to go with the bulgogi. The proprietor was very apologetic about this omission, but explained that the spicy fermented cabbage was welcomed by his Korean clientele; however its aroma chased away too many fried-fish customers.