Korean Tuna Melt

Do you have any of those large Asian supermarkets? We have at least two that I’ve been two, Fubonn and Uwajimaya. They are veritable treasure troves of grocery shopping goodness. I’m equal parts torn about going in here hungry and not hungry. I know going in hungry is asking for trouble since there is so many things I want, but that deli area is so hard to pass up. So. Much. Poke. I want to eat poke by the five gallon bucket. Poke is like Hawaiian fish tartare. Aka raw fish. Delicious diced raw fish or other seafood. It usually marinates in various sauces [soy, shoyu, chili oil, sesame oil, etc] and can have add-ins of seaweed, garlic, green onion, and other fresh ingredients. Again, super hard to not eat it by the bucket full. The freshness of the fish contrasted with the bright flavors of the sauce and add-ins really hits the spot. We went to Uwajimaya last time after devouring a bowl of ramen at Kukai. I was stuffed, and yet we still ate a container of poke in the car like we were pressed for time, toothpicks stabbing each tender cube of fish and/or green onion, shoveling it in.

We went for nothing in particular, only to “walk around,” yet miraculously left with fish sauce, oyster sauce, a large bag of thai chilies, several packages of thai basil, and gochujang [Korean chile paste]. This is probably like going to Costco with less rolls of toilet paper. I’ve been lusting after a container of it it. Lady and Pups’ blog will do that to you. I want to make her chicken galbi ramen, cold and warm salmon scrambled egg rolls, and miso stewed short rib french dip, just to name a few. This stuff is the things my dreams are made of — my delicious, delicious dreams. When these tuna melt nigiri [rice balls] were made, I wanted them. I wanted them badly. I’m also lazy, so I made a sandwich. Tuna melt rice balls can become tuna melts rather easily. Sub bread for rice. It’s a vehicle for that deliciously salty and spicy tuna anyway. And cheese. Gooey cheese.

I kept adding and adding the chile paste. And adding more chile paste. It’s a delicate level of spicy that most people could probably handle. Even my sister. I wanted to go the extra mile with seaweed somewhere, either lining the bread or at least crushed into the tuna mixture, but I had to make due with a liberal sprinkling of gomasio — sesame seeds, sea salt, sea vegetables. Why? See the word ‘lazy’ above. The airy ciabatta rolls at the fridge New Seasons were a solid choice for what I was trying to accomplish here, but I can’t help but wonder if I would have pressed it somehow [cast iron on top of a skillet?] it would have been even better. Melty cheese via the broiler was more than acceptable.

Korean Tuna Melt

Inspiration: Lady and Pups


  • 2 cans tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 3-4 tablespoons gochujang
  • 1.5 teaspoons sesame oil + more for brushing the bread
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Gomasio
  • sliced colby jack cheese
  • ciabatta rolls

Makes 2 stuffed or 4 smaller sandwiches


In a large bowl, add the tuna, mayo, gochujang, 1.5 teaspoons of sesame oil, sriracha, and ginger. Use a form to mix everything together well. Taste. You may want more of something here depending on your tuna and your tastebuds.

Turn a broiler on high. Brush the cut sides of the ciabatta rolls with sesame oil. On the bottoms of the rolls, liberally spread a layer of of the tuna mixture. Top with cheese. Place those halves of the sandwich on a baking sheet and place in the oven.

Let the cheese get nearly melted and bubbly before adding the other sides of the bread to the pan, cut side up. If you don’t do this, expect super crispy bread [read: burnt]. Remove the pan from the oven and Sprinkle the cheesy side of the bread with the Gomasio. Place the top of the roll onto the cheese side. Devour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *