Sunday, July 5, 2009

Busan: Jagalchi Market

It smells fishy...

One afternoon, M and I had lunch at the Jagalchi Market (자갈치시장). It's a famous landmark of Busan where ajummas (40+ married Korean women) sell all sorts of fish and seafood caught that morning. Once we stepped out of the taxi, we could smell the fish and salt water.
Lots of different types of seafood on display~It's Korea's biggest seafood market.Located right next to the port where all the seafood comes from.Ew... on the groundBaby shark for sale?
Undercover areaThey had some strange creatures... I have no idea what this is... looks like a fat frog leg sticking out there hah
Watching their women work kk.I read that flatfish sashimi was delicious so, after using my cell phone's e-dictionary, I went searching for "kajami", pointing to every flat fish and asking the ajumma if it was "kajami". Quite a few sold it - I've never bought fish other than salmon before so I didn't really know how this would work or how much a fish should cost. Once I found it, I pointed to one and asked how much it was. The ajumma said "o chon" (5,000 won). So I say okay... and then she starts packing up the whole pile!! Shocked, I quickly clarified with her that I was only going to pay "5 chon" and she happily reassured me.... what was I going to do with all that fish?! I mean, I love fish but there had got to be over 10 in that bag!
So we brought it to a store to have it sliced up. You can do that in Korea - just go to a store with fish in hand, and they will slice it up for you as sashimi or whatnot. Silly me - I had plum forgotten that sashimi needed to be totally fresh - like the fish had to still be alive and swimming 5 minutes before it reached a platter! So the shops refused to serve it as sashimi, saying it would make me sick so I had all the fish grilled on some 2nd floor.
kk... I love fish but it was a LOT! This was part of our 1st batch... had 3 more batches come afterward. It was sooo delish though~~ I got my fish fix!
You can find these dried seafood snack stands in busy places in Seoul, too.
Rats... I was quite excited to try live octopus on this trip down to Busan but I didn't have anyone to share the dish with. Live octopus is considered a delicacy. There's a Korean movie called Old Boy where one of the character orders a live octopus and eats it... whole... it's really quite amazing -- watch HERE. Of course, eating it isn't as extreme as in the movie. The servers cut the baby octopus up so the tentacles are still squirming around on the plate. You pick it up with your chopsticks, dip it lightly in soy sauce (there may be some other sauces, too), and eat! Make sure you chew, though! There have been several deaths each year as a result of not chewing enough and choking. Here's a video on the "Art of eating SanNakji"!

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