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By Way of Korea

South Korea   |   New York

A Korean food blog and travelogue inspired by

an epicurious New Yorker's journey around South Korea


East Sea Specialities: Yeongdeok Snow Crab & Squid Soondae (Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province)

Updated: May 21, 2019

Upon returning to Hoenggye on a night bus, I caught sight of a steady stream of steam out of the corner of my tired eye. There hadn’t been much excitement yet in this sleepy county, so a dimly-lit food cart that I was sure I hadn’t missed before was an eye-opening discovery.

Approaching the cart, I could make out the familiar spider-like silhouettes and orange-red color of dae-gae (snow crab). Just out of the steamer, they were lying helplessly on their backs with their legs up to the sky. According to the sign, these crabs had traveled here by way of Yeongdeok, a county in the North Gyeongsang Province of South Korea. Yeongdeok dae-gae, in particular, have highly regarded since as early as the Joseon Dynasty, during which they began being offered on the king’s surasang (royal table).

More steam could be traced back to an old man’s work station, where he stood silently over a cutting board slicing up the body of a squid which appeared to have been stuffed like soondae. He was, in fact, making ojingeo soondae* – a specialty of the Gangwon Province for which the body of a squid is used as the casing instead of a cow or pig’s intestine.

As thrilled as I was to have found a new source of regional specialty foods, I hesitated from buying anything (I had had a buffet dinner prior to boarding the bus). I knew I'd come back. But the next few times I had hoped to see the crab cart in Hoenggye, I didn’t, and I was never able to try its wares. In later months, I’d finally have my fix of ojingeo soondae at Jumunjin Fish Market. And since then, I’ve tried a few different varieties and noted that each was prepared differently. Sometimes I wonder if the soondae from the old man’s cart could’ve been my favorite.

*a detailed post about this dish will follow when I get to my Jumunjin Fish Market series!



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"If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel - as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them - wherever you go."

Anthony Bourdain's unmatched relish for adventure and humble approach to food, cultures, and humanity left an indelible impression on my younger self. Imparting on me the courage to veer into the unknown, he inspired me to embrace my vulnerabilities and seek adventures and growth beyond the comforts of home.


In July of 2017, I boarded a one-way flight to Seoul, South Korea. Within the first week of arrival, I signed a lease for an apartment and by the end of August, I had accepted a job offer that relocated me to Pyeongchang and Gangneung, where the Winter Olympics were soon to be held. From there, I had the rare opportunity to explore much of the greater Gangwon Province's beautiful mountainous and coastal regions and their distinctive foods. Once or twice a month, I'd return to Seoul or travel to an unfamiliar region to poke around alleyways, markets, and mountains in search of more good eats and adventures.


By Way of Korea is a storytelling project inspired by the food, places, and faces I encountered throughout Korea. By sharing my fondest memories, notes, and images of Korea, I simply hope to play a small part in piquing greater curiosity about Korean food and culture in my readers.  My content will heavily spotlight, but not be limited to Korean food and culture. 

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