You Want Some Kimchi With That Kimchi?

WARNING: There are graphic images in this post.  If you are sensitive to said images (Mom, I’m talking to you), I do not recommend reading this post while eating or right before you plan on eating.

Before I embarked on this trip, I accepted the fact that my diet would drastically change. No more green smoothies, protein shakes, spinach/kale salads, or Greek yogurt. Goodbye carrots and hummus.  Goodbye oatmeal. Goodbye regular bowel movements.

Instead, I’ve been eating rice, noodles, and what feels like all of the kimchi that’s been in existence in all of Korea, past, present, and future.  Seriously.  I’ve eaten more kimchi in a week here than I’ve eaten in my entire life.

And the kimchi supply never seems to run out.  It’s like Jesus feeding 5,000 people with bread and fish.  Except instead of bread and fish, it’s kimchi.  And instead of 5,000 people, it’s me.

The other night, my birthmom gave me (what appeared to be) a salad.  It was iceberg lettuce, carrots, apples, and grapes… coated with what appeared to be salad dressing.

I thought “yay! It’s salad(ish)”.  It has some fresh vegetables and fruit, and even though it’s covered in dressing, it’s better than nothing, right?

I grabbed my chopsticks and picked up a piece of lettuce.  I put it in my mouth and chewed slowly.  Ahhh.  That’s not salad dressing.  It’s yogurt.

She looked at me expectantly, hope glimmering in her eyes.

I smiled and nodded my head enthusiastically.  While it didn’t taste good, I really appreciated the effort she made to prepare a dish that she thought I would like.  I ate the whole “salad” to show her how much I appreciated it.

She made the same “salad” for breakfast the next day.

At least it’s not beondegi 번데기 (silkworm pupae).  I tried this a few days ago and was surprised at how soft it was.  I was expecting it to be very crunchy.  The flavor wasn’t bad but the texture was not my favorite.  It was like eating a soft grape; the inside was really soft and squishy and the skin was chewy.

Beondegi 번데기 (Silkworm pupae)

After eating the beondegi, I was presented with this plate of food.  The food on the left side is fish and the food on the right side is gaebul 개불.  I tried a few pieces; unlike the beondegi, the texture was harder and kinda crunchy, similar to what you think cartilage would feel like.


I couldn’t find a translation for gaebul with the dictionary on my phone so I had to wait until I could Google it.

Wikipedia tells me that gaebul is urechis unicinctus, otherwise known as the “penis fish” or “inkeeper worm”.  Here’s a picture of those little guys before they were cooked (at least I hope they were cooked):

Gaebul (penis fish)

What’s the weirdest or most interesting food that you’ve eaten?  I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

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10 Responses to You Want Some Kimchi With That Kimchi?

  1. Nothing i have ever eaten can come close to the penis fish…and now i can’t get them out of my mind! I once has a regular salad that tasted like wet dog…it was quite disgusting. And, I had no choice but to finish. It was a very traumatic meal

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mom says:

    Okay, that was absolutely disgusting! I am so in awe of you even trying those foods. I would be asking for the nearest McDonald’s or Burger King! You are amazing. I do not even want to look at the comments you are going to get because I will carry images with me all day that I do not want!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. D, Christensen says:

    You can buy canned silkworm pupae and fried silkworms (caterpillar like) are street food in Thailand. Very high in protein. I have raised silkworms off and on since the 90s, but not for eating. Enjoy you experiences. They will be memories for your lifetime. Debra at Edwards

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carolyn says:

    Cara, your mom clued me in to your blog & I must say that’s it’s AMAZING! I’ve tried blood sausage & pudding in England before anyone told me what they were. Needless to say I was completely grossed out! I’m with your mom on this one: I can’t believe you’re even TRYING this stuff. You’re made of tough stuff! Have a fantastic journey & I can’t wait to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kelly Hoffman says:

    Jay ate tripe and thought they were delicious noodles before someone told him that it was cow stomach. He was 18! I used to tease the kids when we would grocery shop and see tripe in the butcher case that I would cook them some. You are brave Cara to try all these new things. Way to go! Have fun!


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