Three Things Thursday

Three more things….

Tasty street food

Tasty street food

… you can put in your mouth for nutritional purposes.

I’d just run 5.6km along the beautiful Yeoido Park running track beside the Han river. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the birds –  those who hadn’t had their tiny lungs frozen up on the inhale – were singing; life was good. We piled to the subway station lockers to change or collect warm gear and go for a coffee while we waited for the dedicated 10km-ers. Around the corner from our chosen meeting point was one of the ubiquitous street food tents offering charming morsels of warm delight.

“Guess what that is,” a hardy runsploring friend challenged me.

“Er, grubs? Bugs?”

I’d seen them before: dried out and in jars, or in similar steaming bowls. They looked pretty bug-like, and you can never rule anything out in foreign climes.

“Butterfly larvae,” she chirpily responded. Mmmm, appealing. The shells on the left turned out to be river creatures. It wasn’t made clear whether you eat the whole thing, but it would appear so. This is a culinary grey area I may teeter on the edge of until I work out where people are raking up butterfly larvae from and whether this is plundering some kind of eco-resource or I should just tuck in. Having spent a very pleasant afternoon at the Pilpintuwasi in the Amazonas learning about how hard it is for butterflies to breed and how short their lives are (basically once they work it out the Reaper comes to hand them their prize personally) it seems somewhat wasteful to go around eating their larvae. That’s the majority of a butterfly’s lifespan right there.

IFC mall’s gourmet food court

Happily, we were heading to the most fancy-pants mall foodcourt I’ve ever encountered for lunch, so I wasn’t forced to throw caution ( or ideals ) to the wind and bolt down any butterfly-grubs.

Just this evening, the very same friend took us to the fabulous Hanok House restaurant for some Korean kimchi jiggae (kimchi stew) with steamed kimchi and dim sum and, of course, plenty of side dishes.

The food was spicy and delicious, the setting very local with a couple of tables and chairs sandwiched away at the back but most people sitting on the raised and heated floor at low tables. Shoes left by the step, small cushions provided, and aprons for those who were going to really get stuck in to their food. It turned out I should have used one – they are also for those who are still earning their chopstick chops.

Korean-style dining involves main dishes to be shared and a whole bunch of standard sides: kimchi, noodles, a fishy beanpaste thing (badly described – it tastes great), rice, and small sheets of seaweed (to wrap the rice in). My chopstick technique definitely developed today with some helpful hints and dedicated practice. Still gets a ‘must try harder’ though.

After dinner we took a wander through an amazing food market currently gearing up for lunar new year at the end of the month. We were offered numerous tasters of snacks both savory and sweet before buying a sweet honey biscuit thing, the name of which I can’t remember but will endeavour to find out as it’s mighty tasty. We also made a number of stallholders laugh as I tried to pronounce the names of various products. Still a way to go on the language, too.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Steph
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 05:46:34

    Such culinary adventures!! (Though i would have had the same caution about butterfly babies)



  2. sf
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 10:45:53

    I’ve only tried those larvas twice. I’d much rather chow down the chow spread in the last pic. Yeah!



  3. backpackerlee
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 08:02:57


  4. Kang Ju-won (강주원)
    Jan 16, 2014 @ 22:47:47

    The stew looks mighty tasty. And I’ve just had dinner!



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