Are you a fan of Korean food? Would you try anything and everything when you visit South Korea? In fact, there are some peculiar and bizarre dishes that even the locals or you may hesitate before trying. Would you be brave enough to try these unusual yet delicious dishes?
1. Soondae (Blood Sausage)
Soondae is a Korean delicacy usually made by boiling or steaming cow or pig’s intestines that are stuffed with various ingredients. It is a type of blood sausage, and can even be found in recipes dating back to the 19th century in Korea! It is said to taste slightly liverish, and contain the iron-rich taste of blood. This dish is also often eaten in stews and soups to enhance the broth.
Where to eat: You can usually find this dish in markets or street food trucks. If you ever visit Jeonju, we would recommend a trip to the Nambu Market where you can find the Nammun Pisundae restaurant. It is said to be a famous restaurant that serves only blood sausage (in stew or by itself). We visited once and tried the stew, it actually tasted delicious as the taste and smell of blood wasn’t as strong as what we’d imagined. Packed full of ingredients, it’s worth a visit if you’d like to try this dish!
2. Seonji Haejangguk (Ox Blood Soup)
The Ox Blood Soup is said to be an effective hangover remedy chock full of nutrients! Cubes of congealed ox blood is added to the stew, often garnished with beansprouts and spring onion. It is said to taste slightly earthy and meaty as it adds a rich texture to stews.
Where to eat: You can find this dish in many restaurants, especially within the Jongno 3(sam)-ga neighbourhood in Seoul. What can be a better way to cure your hangover from soju, makgeolli and beer?
3. Sannakji (Raw Octopus)
This dish is a classic and has been receiving lots of popularity, so try it out when you have the chance! Just beware of the suction of the tentacles as they can still be pretty strong! Otherwise it is widely known to taste delicious with a bit of sesame oil.
Where to eat: Time to check this dish off your bucket list! One of the most popular places to try the freshest Sannakji would be at Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul. For first timers, it would be a dining experience you’d never forget – but trust us, it’s delicious!
4. Beondegi (Silkworm Pupae)
It is surprising to find out that this is actually a popular snack among Koreans. Many have been repulsed by the mere smell of this dish, and more so by its taste. They are usually boiled or steamed and served at street vendors or even sold in cans!
Where to eat: Instead of restaurants, you’ll be able to find this bizarre dish at markets and street food trucks. Try this at your own risk!
5. Hongeo (Fermented Skate)
Hongeo is made from skate and emits a very strong, characteristic ammonia-like odor. Don’t let looks deceive you. The smell of the fish is so strong that you might just lose your appetite even before trying it. That said, it is recommended to eat this delicacy with kimchi and bossam (steamed pork) due to its strong taste. It is said that Hongeo offers plenty of collagen too – can that be a reason for you to try it?
Where to eat: The most popular place to try this dish in Seoul itself would be the Hongeo alley located in Yeongdeungpo. Don’t worry if you lose your way – just follow the (ammonia) smell and you’ll eventually turn up at the right place.
6. Gaebul (Live Spoon Worm)
These peculiar-looking creatures are marine animals and are often called penis fishes. They are usually cut into bite-sized pieces, eaten raw and live. Gaebul is said to taste just like seawater and clams. Be careful not to get squirted with seawater while eating this (if they’re not cut into pieces) – and that’s if you’re even brave enough to try it!
Where to eat: For the freshest catch, go to Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul or Jalgachi Market in Busan. Warning though, it has to be eaten fresh right away!
Would you dare to try these Korean delicacies? Some of them are definitely not for the faint-hearted!