Where: South east tip of the Korean peninsula
Top dish: Sashimi octopus
Taste: So fresh it tickles your throat on the may down
Serving Suggestion: Swallowed alive with a dash of ink
Where it’s at
For some of the oddest sea food you will ever eat, head to Busan, a real sea town which is – apart from Seoul – the only other place in South Korea where you can let your hair down for a night out. It is a raucous melange of masts, loading cranes and buildings; honking cabs, trains and the throbbing air horns of passing ferries are heard; suited businessmen, deck hands, navy cadets and fishmongers mingle.
The best thing of all is that here you can find the famous Chalgalchi Fish market, a photographers dream, with rows of hawkers selling their oceanic fare. They sell masses of fresh fish, squid, and sea cucumbers here and visitors buy their dinner and take it down to a local restaurant where they prepare it there and then.
Raw like sushi
This is where the culinary drama begins. Many Koreans enjoy eating their fish as fresh as it gets – they call it sashimi – i.e. raw. In fact, with the case of their octopus it is very raw indeed. The octopus is fished out of the tank in which it has been merrily swimming, then popped straight into the mouth. Alive.
It’s supposed to be a healthy meal, but flailing tentacles are not to everyone’s taste and most Westerners tend to gag when the squid goes through its death spasms and starts shooting ink down their throats. Try it and see!
Busan Culture & Tourism
Official website for the city with maps, business & tourist info.
By Iain Overton