Jillian R.
I don't know why it took so long for us to finally head down to Chilseong Market. It's been a bit more than a year now that I've been living in Daegu - and the market is about 5 minutes by taxi or 15-20 mins walk from our apartment.

For the past year, every time we pass by the market in a taxi, as if on cue, I go "I really think we should come here one of these days".

One of the first things that come to view as one looks towards the market is a big kitchen supply store. Silver and gold colored steel basins and hundreds of ladles could be seen hanging outside (and all around) the shops. Yes, there's more than one shop.

(This one is only one of the smaller stores, there are about a dozen or so kitchen supply stores around the market area)

The main purpose of going there today was to get a muffin baking sheet. My last attempt to make some muffins failed because apparently you can't just pour the batter into those baking paper cups.

Anyway, asking for the sheet was quite...impossible. The store assistants couldn't understand what a "muffin" is. I tried saying "small cake" and drawing 6 circles (representing the 6 cups on a muffin baking sheet) within a rectangle, but I think I've made matters worse!

After a couple of stores we gave up. We looked around and couldn't see any, amidst the hundreds of different steaming trays.

(See, the boxes come in different sizes!)

They even have the Chinese food delivery boxes - but nothing for baking.

As we walked further into the market, things got more interesting. Just like everywhere else in Korea, all the shops/vendors were grouped together according to the goods they were selling. For example, if you see one pharmacy in an area of town, chances are, walk along the street and you will probably find at least three or four more.

The "ginseng section" of the market was really quite impressive. Most of the stores had heaping displays of ginseng of all sizes. These vendors would make a fortune selling these back in Malaysia; where people pay an arm and a leg for ginseng.

The "fish section" is probably best avoided by people who feel squirmish around worms and other slimy things. There were big tubs of eels, and longish fish which I've never seen before. Being a seafood lover, everything looked delicious. In fact, the Korean spicy barbecued eel is one of my favorites!

Before I could even wonder if the baby turtles were sold as pets, Eric confirmed that they were food. It breaks my heart that people would (still) eat baby turtles! One of the bigger turtles poked its head above the water and I wanted to bring it home with me - but then again, it might cost a fortune to buy.

Past those were more seafood stalls selling everything from sea urchins, octopuses, squids and various kinds of sea monsters and of course fish. For the first time since I came to Korea, I saw fish fillets! Not being able to speak Korean fluently definitely makes buying fish quite impossible. Once we bought some normal looking fish which was probably 99% bone - and was very, very fishy.

The "pig section" of the market was probably the most shocking. Every stall had a pig's head on display as if it was the most natural thing in the world. It wasn't even roasted, just a plain, um...pink-ish pig's head sitting in the middle of their stall(s). It freaked me out a little, although the knuckles and ribs they were selling sure looked appetizing.

Then came the best part of the day, we were about to turn around when we saw a little hole-in-the-wall kind of restaurant hidden behind some jackets and shoes (stall, that is!). At 5.30pm, every table in the bulgogi (beef) place was packed. Plus, the woman barbecuing outside was quite insistent that we try.

The smell was so good that we really didn't need much coaxing.

The restaurant reminded me of the Hong Kong noodles stalls, where everyone eats, pays and promptly leaves.

We didn't have to wait long, within minutes, side dishes were brought to the table.

(The Spicy Korean Salad is one of my favorite Korean dishes)

The charbroiled bulgogi turned out to be quite heavenly. Although now as I'm writing this I'm feeling pangs of extreme guilt due to amount of fat I've just consumed. Anyway, even the kimchi wasn't too sour, therefore tasted just right. I'm not a big fan of the brine shrimp and raw garlic and I must say I'm quite puzzled by how the Koreans could just dip the garlic in twenjang (spicy bean sauce) and eat it as if the sharp, garlicky taste does not bother them.

Anyway, the meal was incredibly satisfying.

Ahh, I almost forgot to mention that we bought something which we thought were shallots. Believe it or not, we can't find shallots here. Anyway, I was so happy that we finally found some. All the way home, we discussed what we would make with it - curries, deep fry some as garnish, we even thought we might cook and freeze some to use later on.

I thought they were rather peculiar looking shallots;

But alas! They weren't shallots at all! We have been duped! I mean, the woman at the stall told us what it was - in Korean. So it counts as being duped, right?

Facebook is an amazing thing I tell you, I later on posted this picture on my profile and within hours, the mystery was solved (credits to E--). Yes, it a prickly pear. I've never had one before, hence thinking it might be a small, unripened pomegranate.

Anyway, stay tuned, more adventure-trips shall be posted.
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