From live octopus to giant worms and bug larvae… Korea definitely has loads of unusual foods! You’ll be shocked to find out what kind of delicacies Korea has! Here are 11 Korean foods that might seem weird (or gross)… or even intriguing!
1. Gaejang (게장, Marinated Raw Crabs)
Instead of being cooked, these little crabs are seasoned in various sauces and eaten raw. Baby crab’s shells are soft enough to be compared to biting down on a slightly harder M&M shell and are very popular in Korea.
2. Haemultang (해물탕, Live Seafood Stew)
“Live seafood soup” may be a misnomer here; seafood is brought to the table raw, but is cooked in hot soup before being eaten. Adding the fresh seafood ingredients to the pot in front of the customers is a common practice for many Asian cultures.
3. Dotorimook (도토리묵, Acorn Jelly)
Although acorns are poisonous, cooking them can remove the toxins. Being abundant in Korea, acorns are cooked and powdered to make a jelly, often topped with soy or spicy sauce and vegetables. It’s often turned into a cold soupy dish, a delicacy most beloved during summer.
4. Hong-uh (홍어, Fermented Skate)
Skate is a fish that disperses uric acid through its skin, so fermenting this fish gives it a stench that reeks of ammonia. If you can get over the smell, it is said to be quite delicious!
5. Soondae (순대, Boiled Intestine Sausage)
Korean soondae is boiled intestine sausage, stuffed with various ingredients, like noodles, squid, or dried pollock. This is often paired with another popular Korean snack, tteokbokki (떡볶이, spicy rice cakes) because it tastes even better when dipped in the gochujang (고추장, red chili paste) sauce.
6. Bbundaegi (번데기, Silkworm Larvae)
While it may seem disgusting to some, these larvae are a popular street food in Korea, served hot & seasoned. If you can get over the fact that you’re eating a silkworm, they’re delicious!
7. Gaebool (개불, Live Spoon Worms – Penis Fish)
Another live delicacy enjoyed by Koreans are spoon worms, also known as “penis fish”: phallic-like marine worms that wriggle a bit on the plate. They apparently just taste like salt water & are sometimes consumed as aphrodisiacs.
8. Sannakgee (산낙지, Live Octopus)
This isn’t your typical raw dish. These little octopi are alive and squirm around while you eat them. They’re often served with oil to prevent the suction cups from sticking to your mouth or throat.
9. Sebalnakgee (세발낙지, Whole Live Octopus)
Sebalnakgee is a whole version of the live octopus. Often, it is wrapped around a chopstick and swallowed whole. The octopus squirms in your throat even after you swallow.
10. Bok-uh Dishes (복어요리, Blowfish)
You may have heard of Fugu, the Japanese delicacy prepared only by certified chefs. Bok-uh dishes are the Korean equivalent, but more common as chefs don’t need certification to serve the poisonous fish.
11. Teuksooboowie (특수부위, Cow’s Digestive Organs)
Yes, that’s right, this is a cow’s digestive system served to eat. Not one, not two, but four stomachs to try, all at once, the name of this dish literally translates to “Special Parts”. Reportedly, each stomach has a different texture and taste.