I like to consider myself a pretty reasonable person, and I pride myself on the fact that I’ll try just about anything food-wise. Since my arrival in Korea I have eaten things that I only could have imagined before: octopus, squid, hot things, slimy things, fish things and mushroom things. While on Jeju Island we spent a lot of time sight seeing and I have beautiful pictures to show for it.
We worked up quite an appetite on Friday and so when a cute little by-the-sea restaurant beckoned, we went in. We ended up ordering a fish dish which once again resembled soup, and the side dishes of rice, kim chee, radish and some bean thing. “Don’t complain”, I said to myself several times. What I wouldn’t have given at that point to have had a nice steak and baked potato in front of me…Oh well, the file fish was not bad and the side dishes were delicious. Well, the bowl in the middle of the table had a plethora of things in it to tempt the senses: file fish, pumpkin, stringy looking mushrooms, onions and sliced potatoes, all floating in a spicy red broth. But wait! There were two huge fish heads in there as well! That did NOT look tempting.
My first mistake was in popping a giant green bean into my mouth – it was, in fact, the hottest pepper I have ever chowed down on. Who knew? I almost died from the heat. Daniel insisted that the rice would tone down the heat and it did. Therapeutic rice. Next I took some of the fish soup into my bowl; it tasted not too bad…but then I bit down on something that was white but so foreignly slimy I started to panic. The expression on my face must have said it all becacuse I think Dan was starting to worry. “Fish fat”, he told me. I answered him, “Pass the damn rice. It’s the only safe thing to eat around here”.
That experience was pretty much the end of my Korean food adventure. What can I say?
At the moment it is 3:30AM and I have been traveling for a little over 24 hours. I’m tired and hungry. Therefore I am sitting at a Tim Horton’s restaurant at Halifax airport while waiting for Dave to pick me up. It is cold, stormy and blustery outside but the toasted bagel with cream cheese and large coffee in front of me never tasted so good.