The only rule I applied to this list was that I must have tried the food, even just a little. So as much as I disagree with eating dog meat, I didn't partake, and you won't find it here.
5. Dried Seafood
To be completely honest I've come to enjoy squid in a variety of foods. It makes for some interesting side dishes, and deep fried in batter is also surprisingly tasty. However, dried strips of fish, squid, and other seafood does not agree with me whatsoever. My stomach does flips when I see kids sharing a bag of squid legs. I think I hate all dried meats. What is it about a jerky that makes everything reek? Koreans seem to love chewing on strips of this stuff and they even sell it as a snack at the theater.
Also dried fish seems to pop up in unexpected and unwanted places. You might find dried anchovies in your bag of peanuts, and tiny dried shrimp inside unassuming corn snacks. I just can't support that.
Woah, what's wrong with instant spicy noodles, you ask? Okay, let me explain. Ramyeon itself is a cheap and delicious meal. It may have about a million grams of sodium, but what instant food doesn't? What I find curious is that ramyeon is sold at virtually every local restaurant. And it's not like they're selling some homemade recipe, they literally open a bag, boil it, crack an egg into it, and that's it. And people must love it. Plus I see people eating ramyeon everywhere anyway: at school, at home, at the park, on the sidewalk, in convenience stores, while hiking, you name it ... and still they order it at restaurants? "Oh man, I'm tired from a long day at work. I can't possible cook for myself and boil this. I think I'll go out and have someone else boil this for me."
And trust me, I get it. It's a cheap meal; it's comfort food. In Canada we restrict our Kraft Dinner eating to basically home and college. Nobody thought to sell it at a restaurant. Why is ramyeon a Korean food I won't miss? Because it's served perpetually here, and I can easily recreate the conditions of noodles and hot water in North America.
This is one of the most popular snack foods in Korea, sold by street vendors everywhere, and adored by children and adult alike. It's made with plain rice cake, fish cakes, and other ingredients broiled in a broth of gochujang (red pepper paste). I know I said I like rice cakes on my previous list, but you have to understand that gochujang oppresses all other flavours. This is good example of a flaw I find in many Korean dishes, where a slathering of gochujang leaves the food a burning red pile of spice and salt.
I've given this snack a fair shake. I've tried it multiple times hoping to "acquire a taste". It never happened, and I'm still left wondering why children happily munch it down, sweating profusely and gasping from the spiciness.
Chicken and pig feet are commonly sold and eaten in Korea. I've been to many a market and seen piles of each. I didn't eat much of either, I can assure you (it was more of a mistake actually). A foot seems like the sort of part you should throw away; not deep fry and serve with beer. I wonder if some people believe that all the best flavours of an animal travel to its feet with gravity?
Actually people have told me that eating chicken or pig feet is very good for your health. I've been told that eating dog meat can increase your stamina. Whenever someone tries to feed you something questionable, you can bet they'll have something to say about it's healthful benefits. Foods that are bad for your health are delicious, and apparently foods that are good for your health have toes. Ugh.
1. Beondegi (Roasted Silkworm Pupa)
Another popular (what!?) snack food you can find sold on the street. Usually steamed or boiled in a wok of its own juices the .... you know what, I need a minute.
Where was I? Right.... bugs. Okay, so as you can probably tell from the list I'm open minded enough to give most foods a shot. I figure it's a bit of life experience, and an interesting way to haunt all my future meals. I tried the silkworm pupa with a friend on a two way dare. How did it taste? Well, exactly as bad as I imagined. Look at the picture yourself and imagine how it might taste. Guess what? What you imagined is exactly correct!
I will not miss beondegi in any way, shape, or form. And I disliked it so much, I would be happy to banish if from the realm of food completely.