Turtles, Headcheese, Blood Sausage and Beans

A tourist said to me, “Koreans eat some F$%#ed up stuff.”

Well, it could be perceived that way if you don’t know the culture. Like my father said, “Food is food. Eat to live.” My father has a very unusual palate- an adventurous palate. He would tell us about how he would eat nightcrawlers and cockroaches and frogs in the jungles of Vietnam while we ate our boring macaroni and cheese and fish sticks at dinner. My sisters and I would say, “Gross.” And my mother would say, “Larry, stop it. We’re eating.” What was it exactly we were eating? Boring processed food that sucked all the life out of what was once filled with it. My father liked to eat food that-for him- was filled with life.

When we went to the store, his mouth would salivate over blood and tongue cold cuts that he would put between White Wonder Bread with a healthy swab of Miracle Whip. A mid meal treat for him was potted meat sandwiches. When he went out to dinner he sought snake, alligator, and any other sort of unusual animal available.

Warning…this part is kinda gross. When my sister Jill was a baby my father took her to check her diaper. While he was doing this- Jill, being a baby, she couldn’t verbal communicate, my sister tried to say something to Dad. She had something on her finger and she pointed it at my Dad’s face, and said, “Uh, uh.” My father, not knowing what she was trying to say, unconsciously put her finger in his mouth. Well, he found out he had to change her diaper for number 2 as well as number 1. He said it didn’t taste all that bad.

I wish my father could be in Korea to try all the strange wonderful foods here.



Turtles for Turtle Soup
Head Cheese
Blood Sausage

Daniel Gray

Daniel Gray is a Korean adoptee and entrepreneur that returned to Korean in 2005 because he wanted to try and find his birth mother and to learn about Korean culture. He started a restaurant review blog in 2007, www.seouleats.com, that became a local and international hit. He and his blog has been featured in the New York Times, Monocle Magazine, The Kimchi Chronicles, Bizarre Foods, Rudy Maxa, Olive Magazine, Euronews and much more. He now is a partner at O’ngo Food Communications (www.ongofood.com), which is a culinary tourism and consulting company that offers Korean cooking classes and restaurant tours to travelers. In 2013, he started Brew 3.14 Pizza Pub. His food tours, cooking classes, and restaurant are ranked as some of the top attractions in Seoul according to the website tripadvisor. He lives in Korea with his wife.

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