Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There's something fishy in Busan

The Jagalchi Fish Market is a cultural experience in itself, it is filled with so many sights, sounds and smells that vistors easily get consumed by the place for a couple of hours.

It is the largest fish market in Korea and when I say large I mean HUGE. There is a massive outside market where all sorts of fish (already dead) and other fresh produce are sold and then there is the indoor market where all the fish is sold alive.

For those of you who love the flavours of the sea (like we do...hmmmmm) this market is for you and for those of you who are fussy about the fish you eat then this place is also for you because there is such a variety of seafood that you are bound to find something you like.

 We were expecting to see meat there that shouldn't be there, like dolphin, but to our pleasant surprise we saw none. The only out of place fish we saw were two small sharks, which had obviously been accidently caught in the fishermen's nets. Furthermore, they didn't fly off the shelf like we expected because when we went back to the market a few hours later, they were still there. So I guess Shark meat isn't as sought after as I thought (I am purely basing this assumption purely on this one incident).

There were many small restaurants around the market which fried up their fresh fish with an array of delicious smelling spices. Other than ordinary fish, one of the most common items we saw for sale were octopi, but there were always alive and always trying their best to get out of the bucket of water they were being kept in.

Other common items included dried quid, sea urchins, giant crabs, small turtles, and sole. All of these were also available to be eaten at the fish market and you could decide just how fresh you would like it. Outside they had set dishes but at the indoor market you could walk past tanks of live fish, choose the one you like, watch them chop off its head and go upstairs and have it prepared the way you like it (whether that is fried or raw is up to you).

If you are animal lover and like to remain ignorant as to where you food comes from and how it is killed ten you might need to do some mental preparation before you go to the market because you WILL see one or two things that just don't sit well with you.

This is also the cheapest seafood you will find in Korea because the market is on the harbour which means that there is a constant supply of fish coming in! However, they will try take advantage if you are a foreigner so have your wits about you.

Like I said earlier though you can also buy other items at the market, such as giant green chillies (you never know how hot they will be. They are either sweet and make for a delicious snack or they are piping hot and ruin the rest of your meal and your next morning, if you know what I mean)

Despite the great prices and variety Oliver and I didn't eat at the fish market that day because we had had a bad experience at a restaurant the night before where live octopi where thrown on a grill right in front of our eyes.... But looking back it is one of our greatest regrets that we did not eat at the market and we are already planning to go back to Busan simply to eat at the market. I think it is a cultural encounter we deprived ourselves of!

Either way, the fish market is a great place to go and explore, even if you don't eat any fish, just walking around the harbour and market are a real treat!!!!

Post by Claudia


Shane Van Cott said...

Terrific post, one of several I'm reading on your blog in preparation for my upcoming trip to Busan. Thanks for all the vivid details and recommendations.


Claudia Forster-Towne said...

Happy you like it :)

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