Oh me, oh my. I absolutely adore going to fish markets when I'm in Korea. How could I not? Everything from the colors, to the smells, and the throngs of people rushing in and out. Oh – and one must not forget the bargaining! I was digging through my external hard drive, and found these photos from my most recent trip there in winter 2014. It's bittersweet thinking about South Korea, now that my parents have moved back to the U.S. It was a good four-year run, in which many summers and Christmases were spent eating my favorite food in the world.
These photos are from a fish market in Jeju Island, where my family rang in the new year during a week long stay. Squid and eel were a common sight. Squid I'm good with, but I still feel a bit queasy seeing eel, they're just so slippery and snake-ish! Of course, it tastes good, so I shouldn't really be so discriminating. ;)
Before seaweed and algae products became mainstream and touted as "superfood," Koreans had been eating this stuff for thousands of years. I guess it's hard not to as the country is a peninsula and seafood is inherently part of the core diet of many locals. Since I'm more used to eating the roasted (and salted) type, I couldn't get over these glistening beauties. It's clearly been harvested quite recently. Wondering how it will be prepared, mm mm mm. So good and healthy for you, too!
If you look to the upper far-right corner, you'll notice some orange porcupine looking critters. Those are sea pineapples (or meonnge in Korean). My mom is in love with these things. She always scans for them when we eat sushi, but they're not as common as other sashimi options. I've always respected people who have a deep appreciation for seafood, but that respect heightens when they eat more adventurous things. Salmon? Tuna? Child's play. I remember my mom eating sea cucumbers, which are also really odd looking, and her in absolute bliss over the crunchy texture. "It tastes like the ocean," she said. That always stuck with me. If you're Korean, you'll probably know how we describe foods with certain adjectives connoting the particular experience when you chew them. My mom loves food with texture, but she also loves its connection to the sea.
Roasted in advance. Dried fish, of many sorts, are quite popular to eat as a standalone snack. Yum!