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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Adventures in Dining

There’s plenty here in Korea to write home about. Dining is surely not the least. I love Korean food. And being married to a very traditional Korean women, I eat it daily.  But even after fours years in this country I can be surprised.

I’m betting you haven’t seen one of these before. Unless of course you worked on a chicken farm or a chicken processing plant.

Any Guesses before I further describe this?

Any Guesses before I further describe this?

My wife, MyeongHee, and I drove up to downtown PoHang yesterday to visit one of her high school friends, SukHee. She runs a chicken restaurant and so while they talked I feasted on a couple of chicken dishes. We had fried wings and fried legs and the man dish was “Dak jjim,” a spicy soy-based sauce of rice noodles, veggies and chicken. I like this dish, although sometimes it can be monstrously hot and spicy. SukHee toned it down just a tad off of atomic spicy for me and it was just right – not too spicy, not too dull.

I was busy devouring the stuff while they talked and found a rubbery little piece of chicken. Figuring it for your average gristle, I took it out of my mouth. Upon examination, I discovered it to be one of those myths of Korean dining one hears of but rarely sees.

The above little morsel is “닭 똥집” (Dak ddong jib). Literally translated, this is “chicken shit house.” A slightly nicer way to put it is that this is where the shit lives in the chicken.

So, great, I munched on a chicken’s asshole. Not entirely, though, as I said I only ate part of it. But then I found more pieces. Here’s a better view of something I know you’ve never seen in your home country – a chicken asshole on a spoon.

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Mmmm, good! Makes you wanna run right out and get some of your own, doesn’t it? The entire dish wasn’t all asshole – there were plenty of pieces of tender breast and thigh chunks. I just left the assholes aside.

But if you’re the type that really likes this stuff, you can get all the assholes you want. I glanced at the menu board on the wall and saw this lovely dish.

닭 똥 집 - Fried Chicken Assholes

닭 똥집 튀김- Fried Chicken Assholes

That’s right, folks! For a mere 11000 won you can get a whole plate of fried chicken assholes.

Since we were visiting MyeongHee’s friend at her restaurant, I didn’t want to insult her by not eating her assholes which she so lovingly prepared for us ahead of time. (She knew we were coming and, this dish, which takes a long time to prepare, was piping hot and ready for us when we arrived). I simply gave the assholes to the dog.

MyeongHee eats while my dog, SaTang, wants more chicken assholes

MyeongHee eats while my dog, SaTang, wants more chicken assholes

A dog in a restaurant? No problem in Korea. Although some may object they would only do so among themselves. The Confucian style in Korea is to not cause anyone embarassment or to “lose face.” An old Texas phrase describes it well – they wouldn’t say shit even if they had a mouth full of it – or of assholes.

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