The foreign language department recently went out for a department dinner. We went to Garak Market, a massive wholesale seafood and produce market. I had previously driven past it before, it's enormous and looks fairly overwhelming. Jamie and I have never ventured there as a tourist destination so it was exciting to be taken into it by my co-teachers.
I've been told you can buy produce there, but we only wandered in at the seafood stalls. Near to the venders is a vender resturant area. It pretty much consists of benchs all crammed into one area with signs hanging from the ceiling to tell you which vendor will be serving you. It looked confusing and not so friendly for those of us that haven't put as much effort into learning
Korean as we should have.
My co-teacher, Mika, had called ahead and we had a table all set and ready to go. The kimchi, baby seafood pancakes, tiny steamed clams, quail eggs, and soybeans were ready for our consumption the second we sat down. Shortly afterward, the waitress came over to ask us to come and choose our fish. I walked over with Mika and we chose the fish that looked most aggrieved at their situation so as to put them out of their misery more quickly (that and the price were the main considerations). We chose bass and cod. We were going to eat them as hweh, Korean for raw (and DELICIOUS!).
As we were waiting for the fish to be sliced and diced we were given MORE tasty treats. Lots of things from the sea. Everything was delicious! Super fresh. So fresh it was, infact, still moving. Here's a little video:
Yes, the raw (practically still alive) squid is delicious.
After all the raw fish and lots of other dishes we were given the rest of the fish in a soup with rice on the side. This is common with any meal in korea. After you are finished, you order soup and rice. Mika tells me the rice helps to settle the food in your stomach.
The soup was SPICY and hot! When you order the soup (any soup like this) , it comes practically boiling but just to make sure it says bubbling, you'll get a burner on the table so that your mouth knows no rest from the spice and heat. That just makes it more great. There were lots of unrecognizable things in the pot of hot but an equal amount of things that I knew. There was: fish heads, fish intestine (surprisingly delicious), turnip, bean sprouts, tofu, red chili pepper, fish eggs, potato and others. Since we had a fair amount of raw fish from earlier left over, we threw that in as well and flash boiled it. SO GOOD!
In the front is the raw fish, the center is our "rest of the fish" chigae (soup).
To be honest, I was full before the raw fish even got to our table. Every traditional style meal in Korea always starts with me thinking the same thing: Look at these tiny plates. I'm going to go home hungry. Every traditional style meal in Korea ends with me thinking the same thing: I have never eaten so much food in my life. And now they're giving me MORE RICE?!
I always forget that the plates are tiny but they are never allowed to be empty!
I love eating. Everyday I'm thankful that we are not picky eaters (thanks to mom and dad keller and mom and dad Lyon for not allowing that)!
Well, I hope you all enjoyed this latest post.
Interesting side notes about the raw squid:
It tastes super fresh. Obviously.
No, you can't feel it squirm in your mouth.
No, the suckers don't stick to your cheeks.
Yes, they DO stick to the plate.
Yes, the head and eyes were included in the plate and Yes, I avoided them.
I have heard experiences where the whole squid is put on a plate and people just snip off a piece as they want to eat it or just bite off a tentacle. I'm glad we didn't do that. I'm not certain I'm brave enough to kill my own food yet. And certainly not brave enough to torture it. I imagine it could live though losing a few tentacles.