Joe’s Birthday/Makgeolli Tasting

For Joe’s birthday, he wanted to go makgeolli tasting, which I’d actually been wanting to do for a while because they serve all kinds of weird food with it. The weird food I’d been yearning for in particular was live octopus. I saw a video about this before I came to Korea and the intrigue and horror were too much for me to bear. I HAD to try it. As a kindred spirit, Joe was also longing to be grossed out. Makgeolli is Korean rice wine that is 6-8% alcohol. It has a slightly sweet taste, and I’m not actually a huge fan of it. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to get to get to the live octopus. You see, you don’t actually order the food that comes with the makgeolli. You keep ordering makgeolli and they just bring the food out. And you have to order a LOT of makgeolli before they bring out the octopus. Fortunately, we were up to the task. First, they brought us an unidentified meat with some warm kimchi. I really like kimchi, but warm kimchi not so much. The second round brought pig knuckles, which were pretty nasty. Then we got soup with a whole chicken in it. The chicken was pretty dry, but the broth was delicious. Then we got a squid frittata (pretty good), some fried eggs (I didn’t eat them – it was too normal), steamed mussels in broth (delicious), boiled squid (much better than it sounds),  fried prawns (head on and everything –  I can’t eat food with its head on), an entire fried fish (again, head on – couldn’t do it), duck with onion (the duck was good, onion by itself is not) and finally, the mother of all dishes – live octopus! They bring it out to the table and hold it over the plate and then just start cutting bits of leg off. And they just keep writhing. It’s fantastic. And surprisingly delicious. I fully expected to hate every minute of it, but I ended up going back for seconds and thirds. I was a little disappointed that it didn’t fight back as much as I’d wanted. The biggest struggle was getting it off the plate. I’m posting a video so you guys can see the awesomeness, but beware – it’s not for the faint of heart (or humor)!

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