The Dish: Live Octopus
The Ingredients: ummm....live octopus?
Thanks to the mass production of guidebooks and travel channels, eating live octopus in Korea has lost some of its mystery. But let's face it: it still sounds gross. After a tour of the DMZ, we headed to the Seoul Fish Market and came across a lady selling small octopi out of a plastic washing basin filled with water. Making a gesture to our mouth with our hands indicating "can we eat that?", the old fishmongress with rubber gloves and boots happily nodded. We shelled out 4,000 inflated Korean Won (about US$3) for a pair of the tentacled creatures.
We brought the pair in a clear plastic bag to the second floor of the market, where a japanese-korean restaurant accepted our raw ingredients and offered to "prepare" them for us. Two minutes later, the chef delivered a plate of furiously wriggling tentacle pieces. We dug in, watching the pieces cling on for dear after-life to our chopsticks. Each bite was an adventure, the suckers latching on to my tongue or the roof of my mouth. We chewed ferociously to put them down, surprised at how good live octopus actually tastes. Like calamari, but with feelings.