Picture taken with my Galaxy S phone

I’m always excited when, after living here for eight years, I find a great food that I had never had before.

Friends, meet Nakji Gguri.

It’s barely grilled octopus. Still rare in the middle while just kissed by charcoal flames. This particular kind was just rubbed in salt and sesame oil. So simple. So perfect!

We had this at a Jeollanam-do style restaurant called ShinanChon 신안촌, the Gwanghwamun location. The main purpose of our gathering was to have some Hongeo Hui and podcast about it. The Hongeo was just fine, but I think I’m getting my fill of it. In fact, my wife has noticed that my immune system tends to slack each time I gorge on it, seeing that I usually feel under the weather the next day. This restaurant also serves some decadent oysters in the shell, already shucked and sitting there to be slurped.

The octopus really stood out. I couldn’t get enough of it, and I am dreaming about it now.


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Joe McPherson founded ZenKimchi in 2004. He has been featured and sourced in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, CNN, KBS, MBC, SBS, Le Figaro, Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, Harper’s Bazaar Korea, The Chosun Weekly, and other Korean and international media. He has consulted for "Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain," The Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” Lonely Planet, National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, the PBS documentary series “Kimchi Chronicles,” and other projects in the UK, Canada, and Australia featuring celebrity chefs such as Gizzi Erskine and Gary Mehigan.Mr. McPherson has written for multiple Korean and international publications, including SEOUL Magazine, JoongAng Daily, The Korea Herald, Newsweek Korea and wrote the feature article for U.S. National publication Plate magazine’s all-Korean food issue. He has acted as dining editor for 10 Magazine and was on the judging panel for Korea for the Miele Guide.He spoke at TEDx Seoul on Korean food globalization, at TED Worldwide Talent Search on the rise of Korean cuisine, and in New York City on Korean Buddhist temple cuisine. The company ZenKimchi International organizes food tours for tourists and corporations and acts as a media liaison for foreign and Korean media and local restaurants and producers.
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