Sunday, December 10, 2006

Culture shock: Another dead whale...

I got quite a bit of reaction from the dead whale I saw last saturday (it was specifically a Finless Porpoise). Again, post your comments on the blog, or via e-mail.

This Saturday, I had a surprise visitor. A friend who teaches English in Masan wandered down to Geoje with some friends from Seoul and wanted me to show them around. We met up with my friend Jeff. We saw a few sights around Okpo and went in search of "Hway" (aka raw fish). After my experience a few weeks ago, I opted to not eat.

So, the usual suspects came out: the dish of raw oysters (out of the shell), some vegetables, etc. Then, we the water brought a dish of raw meat that we couldn't immediately identify. It was grayish, and had a good layer of fat on it. My companions tried it right away, but I abstained. No one liked the taste of it, so they put it to the side. My first thought was that the food was whale. But then I told myself I was thinking that just because of seeing the dead whale last week, and that whaling isn't quite legal, etc.
The Koreans said that it might be "black pig." I had never heard of black pig, and wasn't sure what could possibly make its meat such a dark gray color. When the waiter returned, one of the Koreans at the table asked him what the dish was. It was raw whale. I was right.

How many times does one get offered raw whale? So, I broke my self-imposed ban on raw meats and went for it.

What does whale taste like? It does not taste like chicken. The closest reference point I can make is maybe like an organ meat. This meat was definitely raw, but tasted a bit like cooked liver. I didn't have the chunk of fat that was attached to the piece of meat, but even so the meat was very fatty. It seemed to coat my mouth after eating it.

I'm still well (your welcome for not making a pun there), but we'll see if my health holds. Oh, and for you whale lovers, it should be noted that whales are only allowed to be caught if they are are accidentally caught in fishing nets, and is only allowed for local consumption (

External links:
Greenpeace Protests Whale Meat in Jangseongpo (about thirty minutes away from me)
Anders Jacobsens Whale Steak Recipe

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