There are no casinos in Yeongdeok, but few other places rival the gaudy, hyperreal simulacra of the infamous city in the Nevada desert. Clinging to the buildings on Yeongdeok’s waterfront are giant crustaceans in bright orange armour. The town seems to exist only as a monument to the King Crab, a tribute to the insatiable Korean appetite for this sea beast. Locals have dedicated their energy to maintaining the town’s reputation as one of the best places to get a crab fix. These garish facades team with neon lights to assault pedestrians, as each crab joint hopes to be more inviting than the next. People come to worship the crab, to eat of its flesh and drink of its blood. There are no other earthly gods here, with the sea’s bounty paying the bills for many Yeongdeok residents.
Judged by their weight, size and colour, the chosen ones are heaped onto a wagon and dragged off to an adjacent restaurant, where a steamer awaits.
We leave a table laden with debris and exit this King Crab carnival as it begins to light up the dusky port. Feasting will continue into the night.