Some Examples of Korean Cuisine

Two steel chopsticks stab down into the dark, thrashing pool—a little black baby octopus is pinched between them and pulled into the air, writhing and wrapping its tentacles around the chopsticks—the octopus is dipped in a bowl full of red hot sauce and positioned before the gaping human maw—white square teeth extend themselves from the lips, and the octopus is popped inside—crushed, chewed, its slick oils squeezed out, and the suckers on the tentacles cling to the insides of the cheeks—and the bulb is gulped down, the whole thing slithering down the salivating throat.

So the story was related to me by a Korean who does not like kimchi.

She told me, over a pleasant meal of seashell soup which tasted vaguely of clams, and came with rice water as an appetizer—this is the water leftover from boiling rice—that blowfish are also eaten while still alive. Evidently the body is sliced up and eaten, fin by fin and gill by gill, while the head continues soldiering on through its last very dark moments of existence, and consciousness, and life.

This naturally reminds all literati of Johnny Got His Gun as well as The Cloven Viscount.

Later in the day I witnessed a man dumping a box full of squid into a squid tank, and then was told at yet another spectacular Korean dinner—consisting, praise the gods, only of beef and vegetables—that a different squid had been seen leaping out of its tank and crawling across the street in a desperate attempt to jump in the sea on the far side. Unfortunately it was seized by an angry old lady wearing a visor, a common sight here and there, though one must look down to see them, and thrown back into the thrashing tank of glaring squid.

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One thought on “Some Examples of Korean Cuisine

  1. Your description of the consumption of a living creature is fascinating and replusive at the same time. Kudos.
    But, even moreso was the plight of the tanked squid escapee…ahh, to sense the sea, freedom, and to be caught up by an ‘angry’ being from an alternative universe—that just ‘sucks’.
    –I thank the ‘gods’ that my Korean step-mother has NEVER dished up live creatures for consumption. Though I would NOT put it past her.

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