Monday, March 23, 2009

Brother Love at the Fish Market

A few weekends ago, SangKwun, Emily, Mark, and I went to the Norangjin Fish Market. Basically it's a huge fresh fish market. Quite a few seafood restaurants in Seoul get their seafood from here. But customers (like us) can also come to the market and choose fresh fish to take to the surrounding restaurants to cook for us.

We came here the first time with a work event and were blown away by how delicious everything was. So we decided to come back with SK and Emily.

This is the scene at the market. There are rows after rows of tanks of various fish, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, octopus, and things I've never seen before in my life. The first thing you'll notice is the seafood smell that hits you square in the nose. I'll be honest, it's not my favorite smell in the world. Fortunately the quality of the food makes it all worth it... There are men just like this waiting at nearly every turn to try to sell you something.

This picture gives you an idea of how huge this place is -- we took this standing in the middle looking one way -- so imagine the same thing going in the other direction.

We selected some prawn and crab for our dinner. They're pretty expensive in Seoul... crabs cost between W 60,000 and W 80,000. Cheaper than ordering in a restaurant, but definitely not inexpensive.

Once we made our selection, the salesperson pulled the food out and killed it right there. I can't watch that part, especially when they take a hammer/sharp hook to the fish... then they took the seafood up to the restaurant for us.

We started with these char-grilled prawns. Heavenly.

Next were these things. I don't know what they were and really wasn't a fan. They were a request by Emily. We learned that Emily really likes turtle soup as well. I will not be trying that anytime in the near future.

We got two crabs. Here's SangKwun breaking them down for us. Koreans are geniuses. They use sharp scissors to cut apart and to split the shells. Much easier than the cracker and tiny fork you get in the States!

Here's another shot of the food. The crab was my favorite part of the meal, though the prawns weren't far behind!

Then SangKwun ordered a seafood soup. It was spicy and had tiny little crabs in it. 

Here it is in the hot pot.

One thing about SangKwun is that he is SUCH the big brother and takes his role very seriously. I talked to some Korean co-workers and I guess in the Korean culture the older sibling needs to take care (and baby) his or her younger brothers and sisters. This includes everything from paying for the bulk of the stuff (SK rarely allows us to pay when we do things together), to making sure we're well fed. At Norangjin, SK was constantly peeling and deveining the shrimp for us. And when the crab arrived, anytime he got it cracked with a good piece of meat, he'd instantly put it on my, or Emily's, or Mark's plates. (Mark's plate less, probably because he could see that Mark was easily fending for himself in keeping himself fed.)

And after we were all sufficiently stuffed, SangKwun announced that we were going somewhere else for fried chicken and beer. Do Koreans EVER stop eating? SK's friend Beck met us, as well as Emily's 2 Chinese friends who were also visiting Korea.

Here's the group shot (minus Emily's Chinese friends).

Overall, it was such a fun night. Nights like this make me so glad we made the decision to come to Korea. I feel so lucky and blessed to have the opportunity to spend this time getting to know my birth family on the other side of the world.


Julia said...

omg the fact that SK is protective over you makes me want to squeeze him for us. he better take good care of you! and I love all the's making me drool.

Welcome back, Mark! Post pics soon!

Mom said...

Your trip to the fish market looked like a huge success and the meal that followed was enticing!! So glad you got to share it with Sangkwan and Emily! Aren't you the lucky one Kim, to have two great brothers; one here and one in Korea! So glad you returned with your visa in hand, Mark. Hope that takes care of any future problems.

Aunt Carol said...

I can't get over the size of the prawns and crab legs. Unless it's just the photo effects, they look enormous! When you get back here, you will have a challenge to find such abundant and decadent seafood, I'm afraid! I love the big brother story! You're a pretty lucky girl!