As a self-proclaimed foodie, trying out different dishes including exotic ones should be on my to-do list. Although, there are certain food that I’m not quite fond of, and to name one: dried fish (bulad). It feels like eating a handful of salt.
Balot or balut (developing duck egg) and durian are probably two of the weirdest food in the world. In the Philippines, not every Filipino is in favor of those two and I’m not one of them. I could eat both anytime, anywhere. Now, let’s see what Korea has to offer. This is my list, in no particular order, of the “weirdest” Korean food I’ve tasted so far.
NOTE: Please be warned that this post is not for the faint of heart. This is my opinion and is based solely on my taste buds.
1. Beondegi (번데기 / Silkworm Pupa)
The first time I tried it was way back in 2011 when Danny offered me a can of this nasty looking silkworms. The one selling on the streets and markets, either boiled or steamed is better, though. It’s crunchy and tasty. Well, it doesn’t feel like eating cockroaches or tarantulas. As a matter of fact, I haven’t and wouldn’t dare to try those, either.
2. Hongeo (홍어 / Fermented Skate)
“It is made from skate and emits a very strong, characteristic ammonia-like odor that has been described as being reminiscent of an outhouse.” [Wikipedia]
This is the stinkiest fish I have ever tried. It’s known to originate from Jeolla province. After chewing a slice, it caused a dire torment to my sinuses. I think I can tolerate dried fish better than this.
3. Yukhoe (육회 / Raw beef)
Before consuming this raw dish, a raw egg is usually added. If one isn’t sure about the raw-raw combination, one may opt for yukhoe bibimbap (육회비빔밥) – raw beef mixed with vegetables and rice. For the sanitation-conscious, be sure to know where to get the freshest meat.
4. Soondae (순대 / Blood Sausages)
Sundae? No, soondae [soon-deh]. The name may be spelled like sundae ice cream but it’s way too different from that. It’s mixed ingredients of sweet potato noodles and pork blood then, wrapped with pig or cow’s intestine. To add flavor, one may dip it on to salt or chili powder. It may look bizarre to some but I do like this dish. There’s also a soup version called soondaeguk (순대국).
5. Soemeori Pyeonyuk (쇠머리편육 / Pressed Ox Head)
I’ve noticed that this dish is commonly serve cold at funerals with yukgaejang (육개장 / spicy beef soup). It’s chewy, slippery and bland.
6. Gejang (게장 / Raw crab)
Another specialty of Jeolla Province. There are two kinds of gejang: ganjang (간장게장 / soy sauce-based) and yangnyeom (양념게장 / spicy-based). I prefer the latter since it tastes less raw than the soy sauce-based.
7. Sannakji (산낙지 / Raw Live Octopus)
Who would want to eat a live octopus that can obstruct the throat and may cause one’s death? Need more to say? In 2013, a South Korean woman died 16 days after eating a live octopus. Here are the links:
- Woman choked on live octopus as man acquitted of her murder
- Korean woman dies after eating live octopus
But what they commonly eat these days are small live octopus (jookkumi / 주꾸미) cut into bite-sized.
8. Jajangmyeon (자장면; 짜장면 / Black Bean Noodles)
It was weird at first. Although this is the least challenging to consume on this list, but an example of food that I would eat and never crave. The taste is quite undescribeable to some Filipinos including me. It isn’t sweet or salty, either. This dish is a typical lunch menu for delivery or serve at any Chinese restaurants in Korea. However, an unfamiliar dish to the Chinese. Usually, individuals who experience unrequited affection from their crushes eat this dish during Black Day (April 14).
9. Dotorimuk (도토리묵 / Acorn Jelly)
A typical Korean side dish which is a jelly that’s made from acorn starch. It could be a noodle dish in cold broth (dotorimuk guksu / 도토리묵 국수) great for summer, too.
10. Dog Soup (개장국 / gaejangguk)
A controversial dish that I haven’t tried nor will I. I’ve learned they have many different names to call it:
• mong mong tang (멍멍탕 / mong mong – dog’s barking sound, tang – soup)
• boshintang (보신탕) – invigorating soup
• sacheoltang (사철탕) – soup for all season
• yeongyangtang (영양탕) – nutritious soup
I need to know them all so that I can’t be tricked to eat some dog meat ever.
Chicken and pork feet don’t surprise me anymore. We also have those in the Philippines. hehe So, do we share the same opinion?