Wednesday, April 10, 2013

흑돼지 - Black Pig Barbecue

흑돼지: black pig. You can see the hairs still on the meat, as well as some of the ink from the authenticity stamp.
Jeju Island is famous for its black pigs. Their actual flesh is colored like normal pigs', but their hair is as dark as mine. In the past, they were raised on human waste, which I find rather disgusting. But today, black pig farms raise them more conventionally. To prove that a plate of pork is legitimate Jeju 흑돼지 (heuk-dweji), they stamp its hide with ink. As a consequence, at a traditional Jeju barbecue restaurant, you are not only given a plate of raw meat to cook on your own, but this raw meat has little black bristles and purple blotches on it. Even without prior knowledge of these pigs' traditional diet, it didn't seem so appetizing.

Fortunately, in Korea, meat is meat (고기가 고기예요), and as soon as the pork was grilled to perfection -- taking a bit longer than expected since the cuts were very thick and fatty -- I ate my fair share and enjoyed a fully satisfying meal. (I haven't been a vegetarian for such a long time now...) This special experience of a traditional island dish took place on the second day of the Fulbright Spring Conference. (I'm writing out of chronological order because... 그냥.)
Fulbright friends at a barbecue restaurant with a beautiful view: Ben, Luke, Ashley, Monica, Courtney, Hana, Katelyn, and Jason.

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