Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dear Stomachs,

Consider the opportunity to contemplate a table of uniquely bizarre foods while gazing upon the Yellow Sea. On one dish is a pile of squirming octopus tentacles. On another plate you see something that was once alive and may still be, but now it resembles a Cadbury cream orange goo. On yet another plate you discover sometimes writhing strips cut from a disturbingly phallic sea worm. Nearby is a bucket of enormous, live shrimp on ice. The man next to you casually snatches one out of the pail, snaps off its head off and peels it in one motion before dipping it in a red sauce and eats it. If seafood is not to your liking, on another day you might find yourself in town with Western friends eating grilled sheep or cow intestines while cautioning your dinner-mates about the intact "cream-filled" ones. This is the life of the writer of Eat Korea.

Eat Korea strives to be a guide to the amazing and sometimes bizarre world of Korean and expat food. In this land I found useable blankets, ear-muffs and coffee mugs taped to cereal boxes at Lotte Mart. I picked boiled silk-worm pupae out of a dixie-cup at a green-tea festival nestled in the verdant slopes of a tea plantation. I enjoyed the most amazing noodle soup on the planet under the grime dripping tarp of an outdoor restaurant hidden under an overpass. Heads and all, I ate dried, tiny fishies dipped in ketchup while standing on a mountain top. I was invigorated by the flesh of "man's best friend." And I even tasted a fresh apple and seaweed salad during an unexpected stay in a Korean hospital.

Eating in South Korea is always an adventure. But you do not have to explore blindly. Whether you are thinking of visiting the country, moving here or even if you already live here, Eat Korea is your guide to the adventure of Korean cuisine (But primarily in Pyeongtaek).

Yes, sometimes it is moving. But go ahead. Meok-aw 먹어 (Eat!) !

Michael T.S. Farrell

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