Thursday, June 08, 2006

if hot dogs could live, breathe, feel...

UPDATE, February 10, 2011: Welcome, visitors from the Czech Republic! I don't know why you're all suddenly here, but I appreciate the visits. I hope you'll stay and check out the rest of the blog, and maybe even become "Followers" of the Hairy Chasms. Thanks again!

UPDATE 2: My thanks to the Czech reader who solved the mystery for me!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I blogged about a marine animal that reminded me of a living condom. I was fascinated and disgusted when I first walked past a local seafood restaurant and saw a tankful of these bad boys squirming blindly and forlornly about the bottom of the tank, looking for all the world like discarded dicks pining for their owners.

I had no idea what the creatures were called in either Korean or English, but on Tuesday night, during my hike back from Namsan Tower, I saw a seafood restaurant that had the creatures in a tank out front. I called over a gent who looked like he worked at the restaurant and asked him what those nasty-ass things were.

"Gaebul," he said (개불).

I saw a sign saying Gaebul, W10,000. I asked the guy if that meant one gaebul for W10,000.

"Ten for ten thousand won," he said.

"How do you eat them?" I asked. His reply was longish, and I didn't understand everything he said. I guessed that he was saying you could eat them raw, so I asked him, in my simpleton's Korean, if that's what he'd just said.

"Yes; just slice them up and eat them. There's nothing inside them," he replied. That would appear to be the case. Gaebul look perfectly boneless. I think they're molluscs.

"Great," I said. I smiled, bowed, and quickly left.

[NB: Boneless creatures do have their charm; I'm an ardent fan of golbaengi, for instance: those are big, fat, badass snails. One golbaengi-jip (snail resto) I know serves them with chewy noodles in sweet/spicy red sauce (jjol-myeon) with julienned vegetables atop the whole mess. You get some delicately cooked and rolled scrambled egg on the side to blunt the spiciness. Fan-damn-tastic dish, easily rivaling spaghetti with meatballs.]

I'll have to keep gaebul in mind if I ever get into a car accident where my schlong gets sliced off. They'd make a fantastic replacement. Graft one on and it's all good, baby.

Gaebul tend to be pink and squirmy. Like slugs and octopus tentacles, gaebul can lengthen their bodies or scrunch up. They seem to spend a lot of time probing blindly about. They conjure up all sorts of vulgar imagery-- not merely disembodied dicks and living condoms, but also animated hemorrhoids and tormented souls forced to live a blindworm's life. Think I'm kidding? Here's a series of photos I plucked off the Net.

In this first picture, a gaebul rises out of the beach sand. The effect is almost... well, clitoral. Rub the sand seductively, and a gaebul will appear.

The next pic shows a bucketful of the little bastards:

Next, we've got this closeup shot of your next meal. Ladies! Hands out of your skirts! Stop that NOW!

The Latin designation for the gaebul is Urechis unicinctus, a vulgar-sounding phrase to match a vulgar-looking creature. A Yahoo Korean dictionary link is here (your browser needs to support Korean and Chinese script; the URL includes some Hangeul).

Gaebul are apparently far more popular in Korea than in the anglophone world: a Google Image search of Urechis unicinctus netted me only three photo results, at least one of which was from a Korean site. But the search for "개불" in Korean led to the following pile of images.

Eat 'em up!

As a matter of fact, I think I've eaten gaebul before. This image, which I plucked from among the Google Korea results for gaebul, looks awfully familiar:



R said...

Those things are nasty. They just taste like fishy, salty snot.

I give them two thumbs down.

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

These things may be the female anatomical part that you claim, Big Ho, but one of those in the third photo down is definitely tending towards the masculine.

Maybe gaebul are like female hyenas...

Jeffery Hodges

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Anonymous said...

Actually they're pretty good with the right kind of sauce...but they have to be cut up's not like you just take one in your hand and bite one end of it (that would hurt to watch)A little chewy..reminiscent of sea cucumbers (they may even be related for all I know)