A storekeeper in a Korean food market picks up a box to show me the tied up dried fish inside. There are similar fish ropes hanging all around her store and it’s not clear to me if they’re for eating or some kind of decoration. I try to ask the woman, but I don’t speak Korean and she doesn’t speak English. In an attempt to help me she points at various boxes while talking to me in her native tongue, but my blank expression tells her that I have no idea what she is saying and with that she laughs out loud.
As Asian food goes, fish on a rope isn’t really that weird at all. I’ve eaten some funky stuff while I’ve travelled through the region, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. Many times I simply don’t understand the menu, so I’ve learned to judge food by its general look and aroma. If it’s piping hot and smells tasty I’ll give it a try. That’s generally worked well for me, and believe me there is some truly awful smelling food in Asia. Fish Paste is one, but by far the worst yet has to be the aptly named Stinky Tofu that I encountered in Taiwan.
One dish I think I will avoid while I am here in Korea is Boshintang. Delicious as it may be, I am not tempted by that particular gastronomic delight because it’s dog meat soup. I’ll try anything once, but there’s something about the idea of eating ‘man’s best friend’ that just doesn’t appeal to me.