Fish Markets

I really do have some catching up to do here. Korea was a great experience and I’m looking forward to writing more about it but as long as Matt and Robin are around, spending time with them comes first! Robin managed to sprain an ankle yesterday but she’s determined to keep on going so they’re off on a day trip to Kamakura today and we don’t have to leave for work for a while yet.

While we were in Busan, we visited the Jagalachi Market, Korea’s most active fish market. There were fish of every description as well as crabs, squids and other creatures crowded into plastic tubs. Richard found it fascinating but I didn’t much enjoy looking at row upon row of writhing tubs of sea life waiting to meet their demise! If I want to see living sea life, I’d rather wander the tidal pools or visit an aquarium.

Yesterday morning, the alarm woke us at 4:40 a.m. so we could make an early morning trip into Tokyo to visit Tsukiji Fish Market, the world’s biggest. In comparison, it was enormous. Fish weighing a total of about 2140 tons are sold there each day. When your only real contact with tuna has been the little cans on the grocery store shelves, seeing the giant fish being cut up was probably the most interesting sight.

We wandered around the stalls that sell directly to restaurants, retailers and other buyers. I found it much more enjoyable than Jagalachi, mainly because the fish were already dead!  They were frozen or packed on ice. In general, other than the fact that many of the workers were smoking, it also appeared to be much more sanitary. In fact, I’m rather suspect of the food handling standards in Korea.

After wandering through the market, including the agricultural section and the outer market where one can buy a wide variety of cooking utensils, we ate breakfast in one of the tiny restaurants that cater mainly to the traders. Unlike North America, where certain foods are considered suitable for breakfast and others are not, Asian breakfasts seem to consist of the same foods as their other meals. A typical Japanese breakfast would consist of fish, rice and miso soup. While we tend to prefer a western breakfast, we ate sashimi (raw fish served with rice) yesterday! I had crab which I knew I would enjoy and sea urchin which I had never tried before. I also had a bit of Matt’s tuna and tried a few of Rich’s fish eggs. We all ate tiny stuffed squid. It might be a good thing that I didn’t know what those were until after I ate them but they were very tasty!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Deb
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 07:01:09

    I am with you Elaine, I am certain I would have been grossed out by the market with living fish awaiting certain death!

    Reply

  2. Norma Doody
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 11:02:11

    Have you seen the Asian market in W.E.M.? They, too, carry live fish crowded into tanks…hard for me to imagine selecting something living to EAT. Could make a vegetarian of me!!!!!

    I am so much enjoying your adventures and your “take” on the differences in cultures.

    We are enjoying watching some of the Olympic Games right now. The weather has been so hot that sitting inside with fans blowing has been very appealing!

    Reply

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