So far, it doesn’t feel like we are in a foreign country. Because we are with so many English speakers, it’s almost like we’re at summer camp with occasional trips to Korea town. I’m eager to get into the groove and really feel like we’re in a new place. But there have also been some funny fish-out-of-water experiences:
“You had me at fried dough.”
Spicy octopus was a food option on my flight into Seoul, but I decided I didn’t want to try octopus for the first time on an airplane and went for the safe choice: chicken.
I planned to make another semi-safe choice when we stopped for a snack at a rest area the next day. After perusing the options, I saw one of the guys in my group had something that looked tasty. “It’s kind of like a fried doughnut. But it’s not sweet,” he said. Sold. I headed straight for the stall and ordered my tagyiki. The little balls had two sauces on them and something that almost looked like shaved ginger but on closer inspection was fish scales. Not to be deterred, I dug into my not-too-sweet donuts. They were pretty good, if slightly fishy. I ate 5 of the 8 little balls and got back onto our bus.
“Oh, what did you get? a girl asked. “Takoyaki,” I replied, proud of trying something new. “I’m not sure what it is but I think these are fish scales on top.”
“Oh, those are fried octopus balls,” my seat neighbor informed me. So, yes. I turned down octopus on the plane so my first experience could be at a nicer restaurant, and here I was chowing down on octopus at a rest area. But hey, he had at me at “fried dough.”