There are dishes in the world that are undeniably recognizable. Such foods consist of the hamburger, spaghetti with meatballs, and even sweets like cake and ice cream are recognized around the world. The real question is what happens when you’re presented with an unfamiliar food? Well, you either stare at it in shock, refuse it, or eat it. Possibly, all three at the same time!
- Gaebul (개불)
While not the most attractive plate, gaebul, or spoon worms, is a marine animal that's earned the unique nickname of “penis fish.” It's eaten raw and usually cut up into pieces, which can be either bitten or taken in one bite. In a popular video of K-pop group EXO's appearance on Yummy Yummy, the host is presented with gaebul, and makes a shocking statement by saying she is “reminded her of her son,” to which Kai bursts out laughing.
- Soondae (순대)
Soondae is not extremely elegant and beautiful, and yet, it doesn’t look horrid either. Soondae is blood sausage and it comes in various forms. They are very popular street food made by stuffing pork, blood, glass noodles, and rice into a casting. Many say they’re very mild tasting, but out on the streets of Korea, they are typically served with a hot sauce or sort of dipping sauce. Alternatively, they can be served with rice, or even be put into savory dishes such as ramen.
- Beondegi (번대기)
Beondegi is silkworm pupae which are essentially boiled or steamed in their own juices and served both at street vendors and even in convenient stores in cans. They are readily available and can be found everywhere in Korea. It’s worth a try with a cold glass of beer!
- Chicken Feet (닭발)
This dish is probably not what you’d expect if your friend said they ordered chicken for you. A versatile dish, it can be served in any form from boiled to fried, and even shish-kebabbed. Now, you’re probably wondering just how to eat this considering it doesn’t exactly have as much meat as the chicken breast or thigh contains. The most common ways are either to pop it in your mouth whole and eat it as you would a snack, or to suck off as much meat as you possibly can then discarding the rest of it.
- Sannakji (산낙지)
The most famous food, sannakji, is fresh octopus that has been served for the guests while it’s still wiggling around. The cause of this is purely muscle spasms, but it’s still quite a sight to see your food moving before you place it in your mouth. The dish is served in a multitude of ways, from bite-sized tentacles to the whole octopus, but that’s up to the restaurant you decide on venturing to. Sannakji has some really amazing health properties as a good source of iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and several B vitamins, as well as some omega-3 fatty acids. Eating fresh octopus is best, and can decrease the chances of heart disease, as well as cancer and depression.
Which one would you try? Let us know in the comments below!
Written by Ryann Ellis