WEIRD FOODS: TRYING OUT SPOON WORMS (OR PENIS FISH) IN BUSAN – SOUTH KOREA

One of the perks of living & working in Hong Kong is the insane amount (not complaining) of public holidays we have! During the mid-autumn festival, I head off to Busan in Korea for a quick 4 day getaway.

One of the things we didn’t realise when planning was that it was also the period of “chuseok” which is a huge holiday in Korea, almost like a “Korean thanksgiving”. This ended up not being the best timing for us (tourists) to go visit because a lot of shopping malls/districts were closed for 1-2 days, or at least operating at more restricted hours.

During my time there we visited the local seafood markets (including Jagalchi market & Bupyeong markets) and even tried out some weird foods!

Busan South Korea Jagalchi Fish Seafood Market 부산 자갈치시장

Our guide invited us to try out live octopus (I actually first had live octopus when I was about 12) and also spoon worms (or penis fish) which are known as gaebul 개불 in Korean or “urechis unicinctus” (the scientific name).

The experience was definitely suuuuuper eery but if you click above to watch the video you’ll see how they turn from

THIS…

spoon worm gaebul Urechis unicinctus 개불 penis fish

to THIS….

Busan South Korea Spoon Worm Penis Fish 부산 Urechis unicinctus 개불

Eating spoon worms have definitely been added to the top of my list of “weirdest things I’ve ever eaten”… but I’m not opposed to trying more!

The experience of eating these weird and quirky seafoods (and knowing what they were) was only made possible because we had a tour guide (we booked via Klook) to guide us around and we even did a local Korean cooking class too! (More on that later.)

I wouldn’t have ever known that a spoon worm was able to be eaten like this raw… and also since octopus is more accessible in restaurants this definitely was a very interesting new experience!

2 comments

  1. Hi Yan,

    I’m currently putting together an online article about the coolest, most exotic things & places to eat in the world for swingersldn.com – an indoor golfing venue in London – and I’d very much like to include a bit about Korean foods – & specifically the penis fish in the piece. Would it be ok to use the image you have in this piece alongside the write-up please? And if so, do please let me know how to credit you (both as photographer & any website/instagram link you’d like)?

    If there’s someone more appropriate I should contact about this, I’d really appreciate it if you could forward this email on & cc me in.

    I very much hope you can help me out, & look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best,

    Julien

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