One of the places I visited in South Korea this summer is a little Southern county named Taean(“Tae-Ahn”), located in Choongchung province. Famous for its unpolluted air, beautiful beaches, and national parks, Taean is a popular tourist attraction in Korea. I luckily had an opportunity to go there to visit one of my aunts this summer.
What I look forward to the most when visiting Taean (well, other than seeing my aunt) is its beautiful beaches and the incredibly fresh seafood. Along the shore, there are fresh seafood markets with the widest variety of fishes and the wildest sea creatures. During my visit, I saw some of the weirdest looking sea creatures that I never knew existed, and I was able to taste some as well!
A typical seafood market would have tanks and buckets in front, displaying its freshest catches of the day. And about fifteen to twenty markets just like it would be lined up along a pathway along the beach. It almost feels like the weekly farmers market we have here, except everything is seafood. People would walk along the shore, peeking through each bucket to see things like live crabs, clams, scallops, and sea urchins. When they spot what they want, they have two options: 1) have it cleaned/trimmed and take it home to cook for dinner, or 2) have it prepared right there in the market and eat it. Most markets also run a restaurant inside, allowing people to enjoy their seafood in the most fresh way possible. Since everything is fresh, you can have it served raw, but some people would rather have it cooked. I personally think having it steamed without any seasoning is the best way to have fresh seafood.
That day, I tried some of the things that I had never seen before: sea cucumbers, cuttlefish, and sea slugs. And I had them raw, too! Guess I was feeling a little adventurous hah. They were a bit more fishy than I expected them to be, but I didn’t mind it too much. My favorite out of those was the cuttlefish, which is basically like a smaller version of a squid. Along with the raw seafood, I also had freshly steamed clams, scallops, and crab, which were just amazing. Again. The best way to have seafood.