Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cephalopod Redux

Ah the Octopoda. I had another run in with this delightful life form at a restaurant in seoul. My first experience was here. In this second experience, we went to a restaurant that was famous for this octopus dish. I only believe this because there were photos of the owner's numerous tv appearances over the years all over the walls. So we sit down with rami, my korean translator, and michael, one of the other artists in residency at ssamzie. rami mentions something about seafood and michael and i nod. Out comes a large flat pan that is piled high with vegetables, glass noodles and red sauce. You can't eat anything without red sauce in korea, so i suppose it's kind of redundant to mention it. The waitress stirs around the veggies a while and cuts the glass noodles into small bits. It all seems pretty standard fare when suddenly from behind her another waitress reaches into a bowl and WHOMP! She slams down onto the frying surface two whole live octopi. They are squirming and writhing around. We watch them flail and listen to them fry. It's shocking. we are speechless. The waitress pushes the octopi around on the fryer and buries them in the cooking vegetables, but the undulating cabbage shreds only emphasizes the fact that they are still alive under there. After a while she picks up the cephalopod with tongs in one hand and kitchen sheers in the other. The tentacles are cascading down like a chandelier and with a few quick snips octopus is decimated into a hundred little bits. it's over. we ate it. I think michael was a little too shell shocked to really enjoy it, but it tasted pretty good. I forced myself to eat as much as i possibly could. had to justify it dying for us.

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