Making every bite count

15 January 2007

from my Korea journal

I was rereading my Korea journal (home sick with nothing to do), and I found this list. I'm a pretty adventurous eater. How many of these have you tried?
I know that some of this info has already been included in my journal. However, I want to keep one list of all the new foods I've tried here.
*quail's egg. At a sushi restaurant last weekend, one of the namul (side dishes) included four speckled eggs. When I asked what kind of bird they were, Joon-Hui had to look it up. The dictionary said "snipe." Hmm... Snipes aren't real, I learned in high school. So I thought. quail. I looked up "quail" in the English/Korean dictionary. Yep. Quail. I tried one. They weren't bad, just like any other egg, but the yolk was milder. (And, I learned later that the word for quail egg is mae-chu-ri al. Learned that when I taught Bible school... don't ask!)
*poop pig. Apparently, there is a kind of pig "black pig" that eats nothing but human waste. The meat is especially good, they say. They were right. It is good.
(From Here's one for when you're feeling down. Cheer up. Life could be worse. You could be a Jejudo black pig. A long time ago, down on the farms of South Korea's largest and most southerly island, the ever-resourceful inhabitants came up with a raised-platform latrine system in which human waste fell directly into the family pig pen…and you know how picky pigs are about their food.)
*a whole fish. I still can't eat the eyes, but I ate a broiled about four inches long. I tried not to look at it as I ate it.
*frozen tuna. They can't really get fresh tuna here, so tuna sushi has often been frozen. Often times, it is served thinly sliced and still frozen. It's actually interesting. Many dishes are served ice cold or frozen here, especially noodles. It's quite refreshing on a summer day. *sea squirt. I tried a bite. It was sealike and crunchy.
*pig skin. (yep, they fry it on the grill at bbq places. Joon-Yui and Yong-sun made me try some. Not bad if it's burned!)
*dried squid. (seen at right drying on a rooftop on Ulleung-do) The kind that still look like an actual squid. It's pretty good.
*chok pal. Pig leg/foot meat. It is fatty and smoky, but not so bad. It's not great, either.

. they eat it with vegetables (shredded carrots, cucumber, cabbage, etc) and wasabi mustard. Tasty with the extras but flavorless and gelatinlike on its own.
*still-squirming squid. Americans limit their squid consumption to fried calamari. Koreans don't play around. They like their food fresh, ca veut dire still moving! One night, Joon-Hui came over with food. He brought squid hwae (sushi en coreen). Apparently, they are still alive when you order. Five squid (a whole family) give their lives so you can eat them. An hour after their deaths, their little tenticles still squirm. I was like a child, playing with my food! The suckers attached to my finger. Strange-y.
*squid-ink bread. (left) It was black, strange and not good. My boss bought it for us.
*snails. I think they were sea snails. Just like escargot, they were chewy and a bit slimy.

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