Tuesday, 2 February 2010


Today, I fell in love (again)... Her name is Yeongdeok, and her specialty is snow crab.

After my classes were over, Mr. Young offered to drive Jess and I out for lunch in a small coastal city we’ve heard of, but not yet had the chance to visit. We gladly accepted, and took off on a forty-five minute road trip to the coast. Were we in for a treat…

A lot of people ask me about my favourite places in Korea. Well, this one has earned its place at the top of my chart. Let me explain why.

1) Yeongdeok is in a prime location for travel in Korea. It’s connected to several major highways; therefore every corner of Korea is easily accessible from here.
2) It’s the perfect size. It’s definitely not a village like our own, but it’s also not a metropolis. It has a “small town” feel, with some of the comforts of a major city (grocery stores, bars, shopping, entertainment etc…).
3) It’s absolutely beautiful.
4) Their local specialty is crab. I love crab.

We arrived at a restaurant that Mr. Young has been to before with his wife (it’s apparently the best crab restaurant in the area). A very friendly old woman greeted us at the entrance and escorted us to our private dining room on the far end of the restaurant. My jaw almost hit the floor as I walked inside. I’m no Shakespeare, but I’ll try my best to do the scene justice…

The first thing that I noticed was the far wall (or lack there-of). In its place was a huge window, overlooking the East Sea as if it were an animated painting. Huge waves crashed into the rocks below, and in the distance, several fishing ships dotted the horizon. On one side of the restaurant was a small fishing port with old buoys, nets, and rusted barrels strewn all over the ground. On the other side was a picturesque wave barrier and a couple of fisherman braving the cold ocean spray at the end of a jetty. This was the first of two moments that day in which my breath was taken from me...

We sat down, and the waitress immediately entered the room with three giant snow crabs on a platter. She proceeded to cut them up for us (so that we could eat them without making a mess) as another waitress served us our many side dishes (seaweed, mussels, clams, salad, kimchi, sardines, peppers, radishes, and eggs) and a nice glass of pumpkin soup.

After we had finished with the crab legs, all of the shells were quickly whisked away, and in their place were three “bowls” of greenish-coloured mixed rice. The “bowls” were the giant crab heads, and the mixed rice contained a variety of spices, vegetables, and all of the crab innards (the “guts” as you may say). Needless to say, we feasted like royalty.

Mr. Young has extended his generosity to Jessica and I on countless occasions. He’s constantly trying to spark up conversations, he’s always in a happy mood, and he doesn’t hesitate to go out of his way to show Jessica and I something (or somewhere) new to expand our “repertoire” of Korean experiences. Clearly, lunch was on me. Well, this was the second moment that day in which my breath was taken from me…

At the cash register, I misunderstood the lady regarding the cost of our meal. I initially heard $46, which was quite the bargain considering what we had eaten.

Sadly, I was wrong. The total cost of our little lunch date: $146.


Mr. Young (and his son “Little Ben”) were very thankful for the meal, and decided that we should take a quick walk down to the crab museum to digest.

The museum was small, but like everything else in the town, still very pleasant. There were a lot of little models depicting fishing techniques, some historic pictures of what the town looked like before/after the Korean War, and some interactive displays (which Little Ben took a liking to).

After our museum tour, we walked along the coast to take some pictures as the sun set in the distance. At the end of our walk, we took a quick trip to the famous crab market for some “window shopping”.

I’ve never seen so many crabs in my life. There were hundreds of tanks filled with thousands of crabs from all over the world. The most popular were from South Korea, North Korea, Russia, and Japan, but if you wanted crab from somewhere else, this was certainly the best place to find it. We zigzagged our way through the market under constant assault from the stand-owners to buy their crabs (which were all deemed as “the best in South Korea”).

It didn’t take very long before the assault completely tired us out. We decided to call it a night, and headed back home.

- Ken

1 comment:

  1. Im sure he meant well and you filled his belly maybe after many hours of hunger.