Friday, June 29, 2012

Culture Terror: Amanda Eats Beondegi

Hidden away in the small, seemingly harmless town of Yeoju is a group of mysterious, and reportedly boisterous expats known as the "Yeoju Crew".

The Crew is a super exclusive society into which one must be initiated by performing the following tasks:

1) Physically living in Yeoju, or one of the surrounding towns
2) Playing nice with the other members of the Crew (failure to comply with this rule may result in your being ostracized from the (Facebook) group).  
3) Taking shots of Soju and perhaps enjoying the occasional alcoholic beverage

And the infamous number four....

4) Eating Beondegi, that is, steamed or boiled silkworms that have been seasoned and canned (Koreans really enjoy them as a snack, you can easily find them anywhere you go)

I was doing pretty well with the Crew until I finally hit number four last night. This blog post also could have been titled: How a Small, Ineffectual Dead Bug Almost Sent Amanda Packing Back to America. I don't really tell many people this because it's sort of strange, but I have a serious fear of eating bugs (that I can see, I know I know they are on all my vegetables) and even things that have multiple legs, especially if they have eyes that can stare back at me. I pretty much won't eat crab or lobster for this reason.

In the past it was easy to simply refuse to eat foods that freaked me out, but it was a bit unavoidable last night when members of the crew were holding forks with beondegi on them inches from my face. For about eight minutes and fifty seconds (I know this time because there is a video which I may choose to post a clip of later), I squirmed, squealed, sweated, and otherwise almost cried as I contemplated my impending fate. Peopled tried to offer words of encouragement: "It tastes like roast beef!" "It's like eating a peanut!" "Just f*cking get it over with!" most of which was useless in my near nervous break down state.

Finally though, after a couple shots of Soju, a count down, and what might have been a panic induced blackout... I ate it.  It took one bite, felt something squish, swallowed, took another shot of Soju, and wolfed down some french fries that were sitting on the table in front of me. Now that the task is complete, I will never again touch a beondgi.

Though I should probably thank the Crew since now I have truly conquered my worst fear and experienced serious not-for-your-average-tourist Korean culture. I will proudly announce to the world: I, Amanda Segal, who feels terror in the presence of tiny harmless bugs, ate one of those suckers. How does my stomach acid feel, biatch? 

Yeah, see those gross brown larva looking things...I ate one. Ew, I can barely even look at this picture right now.

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