Around midnight one April’s eve, Jermil and I found ourselves combing the streets of Geojedo for some eats. Many establishments had already closed, but we found a small Hof. (You might be asking yourself, what is a Hof? It’s a Korean-style bar or pub, and there are thousands of them in Korea.)
We couldn’t read the menu, but upon entering the hof, I spied a delicious stir-fry platter being served. It was everything I wanted: veggies, protein and a side of rice. Sold! Below I recount some of the dialogue that follows the hot stone stir-fry plate being delivered to our table:
X: (examining the stir-fry up-close) Um. That meat doesn’t look familiar.
Jermil: (looking confused) Yeah…what is that? You know what, I’m up for anything, I’ll try it.
X: (looking skeptical, but slightly relieved) Yes, good, you try it first.
Jermil takes a bite of “meat” and the look of nervousness turns to a look of disgust as a loud CRUNCH sound comes from his mouth.
X: Are you ok?? Are all of your teeth still in tact?!?
Jermil: That is not meat. That is organ.
Hmmm could it really be? We left the plate relatively untouched and ordered another item on the menu, which to our delight, turned out to be sweet and sour pork (tang soo yook). I returned to Seoul and told my students about my experience.
X: (desperately) What did we eat?!
Students: (buzzing, laughing) Ohhh X, some Koreans don’t even like that!!
X: (turning green) What was it?!?
Students: Chicken intestines!!!
Perhaps you have an appreciation for this culinary delicacy, but Jermil and I didn’t much care for 닭똥집. If there’s one Hof tip we can provide you with, it would be to avoid ordering 닭똥집!!!