Last Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) was the one to remember. I got to ride my bike along the east coast of Korean peninsula for a whole week. From Gangneung to Pohang, I soaked myself in beautiful coastline and got to try delicious seafood fare for every single meal. A trip of a lifetime, I might say.
Of many strange things I had since I returned to Korea, the lunch on second day of our bike trip would definitely go on top of the list. Ever heard of cubed snailfish or mulmegi (물메기)? In Korean, it literally means “water catfish”.
Apparently it is a thing here on east coast but I have never seen such weird-looking fish before. The face does resemble that of a catfish but its shape is what confused me. It’s like the fish is missing a body and only has large head and slim tail. Maybe that is why it’s named “cubed”? Nevertheless, the restaurants along the road to Donghae-si all had tanks full of these alien creatures. Something that is exclusive to this region. That means that I must give it a shot.
The soup is served.
The visual presentation is not so unfamiliar. It’s a kimchi soup with fish in it. The flavour of the broth is not too strange, either. Spicy and sweet.
What caught me by surprise was the texture of the fish–I finally understood the name “snailfish”. The flesh was so slimy it was like I was drinking, or more like slurping up the flesh. Strange feelings.
I could not get myself used to the extent of sliminess that I have never experienced before. Although I am quite ambitious when it comes to trying new food, it took me awhile to fight the fear. Unfortunately, by the end of the meal I still could not say that I enjoyed the mulmegi. I really liked the broth, though!
Lucky for me, we also ordered a plate of grilled fish as well. Easy choice, nothing adventurous, but most importantly enjoyable. I love grilled fish but it is difficult to cook them at home since it’ll stink up the place for hours. Better to get them fresh and charcoal-grilled at a place like this for cheap price.
After the unforgettable meal, we rode our bikes for awhile and found a perfect spot for a dip. The waves were strong and it began to rain but it was so much fun to swim in the autumn ocean where there is nobody but yourself. I plan on going back to east coast this year to finish the east coast bike route. Can’t wait until it gets warmer!