As you move along the cost, it is normal to see tiny fisherman (and fisher-women too) hauling in a variety of shellfish, and selling them along the coast. My travel guides were locals who knew the area quite well. I was intrigued to see a tiny woman in a diving suit busy, with a set of bowls, several cutting boards, a knife and buckets of sea water scurrying back and forth. As I approached, she was shouting at me in Korean and pointing the various bowls, each containing a live creature from the sea that was unknowingly still moving around in a tiny plastic bowl, ready to be sold.
I was fascinated by all the activity. She never stopped working, just because we walked up. Then she did something that made my eyes pop out of my head. She quickly began cutting up one of the ugliest shells and forcing out the creature from within. She removed the guts, and super gross parts, and splashed some sea water on the remains to "clean the meat".
I looked at all the various bowls, buckets and boxes- there were many. I tried to recollect my Marine Biology course back the fall of 1990, but to no avail. I couldn't recognize a single variety. To make myself feel better, I pretended that these must have been some local, Asian variety of shellfish so naturally, I couldn't be expected to recognize any of them. Well that made me feel better anyway, but I digress.
Then she started slicing up that one shell fish meat with her cutting board and knife. Again she splashed some sea water on the slices. Then in quick, jerky movements, grabbed a plastic plate, and a few bowls. She poured out some Korean red chili peper sauce (from an old water bottle I might add), and whipped out a pair of wooden chop sticks. All was placed on a plastic table adjacent to her. My travel companions all ooed and ahhed, some money was exchanged and everyone dug into the plate of super-fresh mystery-shell fish meat on a dish. Now, for those of you who recall The Venetian Scare from a few years ago, know all too well that I have sworn off shellfish. So there was no way in hell I was going to eat this- never mind how it was prepared. I quickly (but politely) refused, citing my allergies to shellfish. It was, however a unique experience that I quite enjoyed watching. For the sake of time, here are a bunch of photos:
|these "grandfather" statues are all over the island|
|Fish cakes- were actually a sweet treat made of a bean filling|
|"Medicine Fountain Temple"|
Tomorrow I'll share some photos of a day cruise we took around the Jeju Island, with some beautiful photos of the rock islands and coast line. I hope you will be able to return again, tomorrow!