Dead fish = food

With a total of nine people we headed out for some fish for lunch. I was a bit hesitant about going, I haven’t been able to eat that well lately so going to a restaurant didn’t really grab my fancy, but I went anyways.


Seeing those two fish sticking close together in their afterlife reminded me of how I still haven’t tried to eat living octopus yet. It is supposed to be a delicatesse here in South Korea, so they only serve it few places and it is supposed to be quite expensive. I hope I will get around to trying it before I leave, but I am still a bit terrified at the idea.

Actually I have learnt quite a bit about Korean foods and eating habits while staying here. For example, I have learnt that some Koreans, mainly haraboji’s and halmoni’s (grandfathers and grandmothers) eat dog meat in the summer time. And all this while I had thought that they only eat dogs in China, oh my goodness, how wrong I have been. I got a bit intrigued so I dug for some more information, since I thought it was odd that I had never heard of it in Korea before. Turns out that between 5 and 30 % of Koreans have tried it at least once in their life but only somewhere under 5% eat it regularly during the summer. Interesting fact I think, and I price myself lucky that I now know that I should avoid any menu that has 개고기 written on it (pronunciation: gaegogi, meaning: dog meat).

Apart from that and the live octopus eating (that I already knew about before coming), I have also learnt that many Koreans like to eat spicy and warm foods during the summer. Of course Nengmyun (literally: cold noodles) are also commonly eaten during summer, but surprisingly very hot foods are equally popular. My friends have said that it is because Koreans tend to think that they will sweat the heat away, nope, that didn’t make sense to me the first time either, but I do, just like a Korean, eat hot in the summer anyways, and I can’t say that it doesn’t work. Some of my other friends have also told me that it is because of one’s Ki (spiritual energy or the energy that courses through one’s body). It is said that one’s Ki is cold during the summer and so in order to balance the Ki one has to eat hot and healthy foods.

Stop, stop. I was going on about food for so long that I almost forgot the small random happening earlier today. As we walked back from the restaurant towards Ewha a car pulled out of the Ewha underground parking-lot and the three of us took a halt (at the same time as a dozen Korean girls). It was a big white celebrity car and it flaunted ‘JYP Entertainment’ on the side (JYP Ent. being one of the big three in South Korea). The car stopped, the doors swung open and a young man jumped out, ran across the street and embraced …. a friend? I sure hope that it was a friend or that would have a been a very awkward hug-while-swinging-around-in-air. Two big bodyguards came running after him, followed by someone who looked like a manager. I have no idea who it was, I couldn’t recognise him (and that is a first) so I was quite puzzled by the heavy security and the fact that no other Koreans seemed to be able to recognise him either. At first I thought that he might be an actor (I am usually not as good at recognising actors), but I reckon that more people would have recognised him if that was case, my second thought was that he might be the CEO’s son, but if that was the case then the amount of security seems ridiculous. I’m still puzzled, and way too curious for my own good, but I’ve let it be for now.

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Thilde Kold Holdt

I am a novelist by profession, currently working an epic fantasy series about 7th century Korea. My epic fantasy trilogy about Vikings, the Hanged God, is currently being published. I have lived

enough different places that the most difficult question to answer is: "where are you from?" I am, quite simply, from the planet Earth, for I have yet to set foot on Mars. Someday, though...

© Thilde Kold Holdt