One Woman and her Squid

Blogging challenges, South Korea

Today I’m taking you to Jagalchi Market, in Busan, South Korea, to one of the largest fish markets in the entire world. We’ll go first into the village-sized hangar where more stalls than you could possibly count are selling single fish, several fish, restaurant loads of fish to buyers who come here knowing that what they choose will have only left the sea a very few hours previously.

More interesting though are the stalls outside. Here are small-time stallholders who come with the family catch, in among larger set-ups who specialise in certain kinds of fish and seafood. I’d like you to meet this woman. She has squid to sell. And I can assure you they’re fresh. I know this because they’re still alive, and they spend their entire time breaking out from their surroundings to lope off down the street, until Our Woman in Pink retrieves them, until the next time … or until they’re sold and become somebody’s supper.

It astonishes me that there are any fish still left in the sea. Look at the header photo. These tiny dried fish are sold in vast quantities by any number of stall-holders, and garnish many of the dishes we ate there.

Everybody but us was there to buy what they needed that day. We contented ourselves with eating what someone else had brought and prepared as our wanderings came to an end, at a neighbourhood restaurant just down the road.

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Just One Person from Around the World

55 thoughts on “One Woman and her Squid

    1. I don’t like it: we’re desperate to see our new little granddaughter, preferably before she starts/leaves school. But the bigger picture probably means that we still have to be super-careful.

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  1. Wow, I am a fan of the ladies fuchsia and zingy green combination, even her rubber gloves are bright pink. I notice quite a few of the women in the other photos were wearing bright colours. Obviously, selling fish might be messy business, but why be dull about it.

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  2. What a fun market! Squids and octopuses are actually extremely intelligent and can do all sorts of problem solving, pattern recognition, etc. And the coolest thing is, they have a different intelligence than humans. Which means intelligent life has at least developed twice independently of each other on earth. Anyway, after learning about them, I actually don’t like to eat them anymore and I don’t think they should be kept alive in such limited space.

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    1. I agree about the being kept alive in limited space. The same was true of fish in tanks. And I’ve recently come to find out a lot more about the intelligence – quite remarkable – of squid and octopus. As you say, it’s a different type altogether, which I suppose is why it’s taken us so long to recognise it for what it is. I do still eat some fish occasionally, but I’m largely vegetarian these days.

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  3. Squid? Or octopus? I love calamari when it is battered and deep fried, but it is a very long time since I ate octopus. That market does look interesting.

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    1. Erm, I am a bit vague. I have a lovely Spanish memory from last year when a small child, alking home from school with his granny, was dancing ahead of her singing (in Spanish, of course) ‘We’re ha-ving octopus! We’re ha-ving octopus!’. I couldn’t imagine that on any English school run πŸ˜‰

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  4. Reminds me of our fabulous fish market in Olhao – such fun to go round and of course we buy! Not bought live squid yet, or eels – they have a lots of live eels on one stall in Olhao. Makes me shiver just thinking of them!

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  5. There’s nothing like a market for some great photo opps! This one looks fantastic, although my husband would baulk at the smell (he doesn’t like fish although he eats seafood). We had some excellent octopus one day in North Korea, when by the coast at Wonsan, and fish too, but generally there was little on the menu.

    One question – why is your SEO title ‘one man and his squid’ and the post title ‘one woman and her squid’? Did you start off planning to write about a man in the market?!

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  6. A great post, Margaret. You brought back some memories for me – like you I bought nothing, but thoroughly enjoyed wandering, and taking photos. I didn’t see any squid escapees though 😦

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  7. My Dad would go bonkers here – everywhere he travels, he looks for markets like these. He is a fisherman or a fishmonger at heart, I think.

    Is your Lead Photo (tried to click on it to enlarge, but couldn’t) of different sized anchovies?

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    1. They’re slightly different sizes, but not really enough to make a fuss about. How can so many be on a single stall, then the one next to it, and the one after that … ?

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  8. Oh, Margaret didn’t this photo just tell it all? SOOOOOOOO many fish! Do they actually sell all that in a day? I would not be chasing squid down the street……..But, I would love to see that market! I am not a big fish eater, but I do try to order and taste the local dishes…..When I was in France they raved about some little fish ( I can’t even remember what kind) and I decided to order them……They came with their heads and eyeballs and looked like minnows! I could not bring myself to eat them……The French lady at the next table asked me if she could have them as she and her family loved them! Over they went! I just continued to enjoy the wine and the view! Cady

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    1. Koreans love their fish, and that market was busy all day, with stocks noticeably diminishing with every passing hour. A lot lives in tanks (don’t ask) so can be sold over a longer period. Yup, the French love their fish too fins, heads and all! Hope you enjoyed a good break away from us all.

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  9. Amazing how many tiny fish are in each of those boxes in the top photo – I thought they were spices or plants at first! It must have been startling to watch the squids slither away! What an interesting trip!

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