KOREA TRAVEL EP.5 – Horse Meat Feast & Places to Eat, Jeju Korea (제주도)
What kind of things do you like to do when you travel?
One of my favorite things to do is eating authentic local dishes I’ve never had before. I like browsing through a row of restaurants to find good places to eat. I also enjoy snooping around local markets to find out what wonderful surprises come from the local nature.
I find it fascinating that you can experience the taste, or the terroir of the soil by eating the things that come from it. When you eat locally grown things, you are able to taste the weather and the very environment that you are visiting. On top of that, the burst of flavors make me squeal with joy.
I often find local dishes have a hidden wealth of history behind them. It is simply mind-blowing to learn about the story behind a simple dish which directly reflects the past and present, the environment and the culture that we live in.
We are in for a very special dining experience today, a horse meat feast, or rather a “course of horse”.
I had not known that horse meat was part of the culinary world in Korea until three years ago. A real food evangelical, my mother, was the one who had broken the news to me after her visit to Jeju with friends.
After hearing her account of the experience, I had added it to my list of dishes to eat. It pays off to have a family member who loves food as much you do.
This was my lucky day. My mom’s friend wanted to treat us to this exotic local delicacy of Jeju island.
Horse farming on Jeju started in 1276 when the Mongols brought horses to Korea by ship. Since then horses have been a cornerstone of life on the island. They have been used for food, transportation, and communication, during wars, and for commerce.
This vibrant red colored tartare was raw horse meat seasoned with soy sauce and Korean pear. It tasted a lot like prime quality tuna sashimi. It was lean, delicate, clean tasting, tender, and down right delicious.
It was followed with horse bbq with king oyster mushrooms, and then we finished strongly with a horse and radish stew. I loved that you could taste all the different cuts of the animal with various preparations. What a wonderful way to utilize all the parts of the animal without wasting anything.
Jeju island is booming with tourism. It’s not a surprise after seeing its natural beauty and the wealth of local cuisine and culture. So visit Jeju island, when you yearn for an adventure. You might find yourself awe inspired by its natural wonders as well some local dishes you’ve never even heard of.
This is the last episode of my trip around Jeju island. Next time I’ll bring you more tasty morsels from my trip to Kwang-ju province, the southwestern mainland of Korea. Thanks for watching. Stay tuned for the next chapter of this Korean Adventure.
Eat Real, Be Real
In this episode, you’ll find:
A horse meat feast, or rather a “course of horse”
Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market (서귀포매일 올레시장)
The Gopher’s chicken dance
Mouth watering Bibimbap
Heart warming stew