It’s hard to describe what it’s like to see squid at nearly every turn in your day.
Busan is on the coast, so squid and small octopus show up on nearly every block in one form or the other:
– in the convenience stores (7-11, GS25, Family Mart), you’ll walk past six to ten types of squid snacks of varying shapes, sizes, flavorings, either vacuum packed or dried, in pouches or cans.
– walking to work down the street vending streets, women making paejeon have a stack of whole purple squid perched neatly at the end of one table
– in Daejeon, we ordered Paejeon and it arrived as a green onion pancake. Ordering paejeon here means you’ll get squid tentacles thrown in no extra charge (and I haven’t seen one street vendor that makes paejeon w/o squid)
– on the street, in a store, anywhere you’ll see stacks of dried squid that are pressed flat and crunchy
– other places, you’ll see aquariums in front of restaurants with squid and small octupus swimming or shooting around the tank
– advertisements for delivery services feature photos of delightful dishes topped with piles of raw squid tentacles
– you can order a dish that arrives with the tentacles still moving, as one coworker recently experienced. In class, my students described this specialty dish, adding “It’s very fresh.” yessss indeed
– supermarkets have dozens of squid snacks and packages of squid to bring home
– and restaurants serve squid and octopus in a dizzying variety of soups and other dishes
And oddly, my students have never heard the English word for ‘squid’!