In the [TASTE KOREA] series of blog entries, The Krew members will be introducing various Korean food. We hope you get inspired to try these food that are unique to Korea!
For the first TASTE KOREA entry, Oh Hyun Sang of Team CCC introduces us to San Nak Ji, or the live octopus dish!
If you watched some Korean movies, dramas, or other videos, you might encounter the food that I am going to tell you now. It is a type of row fish but slightly different from the usual. I am so glad to introduce this to you guys because it is my favorite since I was elementary student. It is called San Nak Ji.
The name of the fish is just Nak Ji which belongs to the octopus family. As you can see from the picture above, it is a boneless animal that swims around the floor of the shallow ocean. When it’s alive, the color of the skin is usually brown. But when it is stressed, its color transforms into a camouflage in different colors.
When you order Nak Ji, you will be surprised to see it alive! Even though it is chopped into many pieces, Nak Ji will still move and the sucker part of the Nak Ji will remain strong. The scientific reason behind it is simple. Nak Ji’s central nerve is spread all over its body, so each part of the body can still move after it is cut. Now, it is up to you, how you will eat it. Sometimes, an owner will just mix it with sesame oil or it is simply served without any toppings.
Now it is ready to eat. If you are not good at using chopstick, I would recommend you to use the fork, because Nak Ji’s skin is slippery. Once you put it in the mouth, you will feel that it is not easy to swallow, because the sucker part of the Nak Ji tries not to get in your stomach. It will stick into the inner part of the mouth. That’s why sometimes there are a few unfortunate incidents which some couldn’t swallow it properly and end up suffocating. To prevent this to happen, you might want to eat it with soft drink. The carbon dioxide will help you to swallow it.
Anyway, there are a variety ways of eating Nak Ji. San Nak Ji is just one way of eating it. You can mix Nak ji with Korean traditional spicy sauce, Go Chu Jang, like in the first picture, or you can chop and put it into the Hae Mul Tang, like in the second picture. Nak Ji is really an interesting dish. Once you feel the movement in your mouth, you won’t easily move on from that feeling.