According to Reuters (March 5. 2012), a Korean organization named Frog Friends (I am not sure but this may actually be the group Toad Friends) is trying to get Manchester United Park Ji-sung to join their efforts to help save frogs and other amphibians in Korea. According to the article:
Park is South Korea’s best known soccer player and said that his father had fed him frog juice to boost his stamina.
“If Park joins our campaign to stop the practice, it would correct people’s misperceptions about eating frogs, believing it will raise their stamina,” said the lobby group.
Good luck with that.
“I do not know if it is just coincidence but after it was revealed… that Park eats frogs as a means to boost his strength, the number of cases of illegal poaching of frogs and toads residing in mountains has increased,” campaign organiser Park Wan-hee was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency on Monday.
I found this comment on the page of an evironmentalist who visited Korea rather odd – “I was happy to learn that Koreans do not eat frog legs” Not sure about the leg part but I do know that Koreans – at least in the past – ate whole frogs.
Many many years ago I went to Andong city with a Korean friend and was surprised that there was no real place to drink. We finally found a pochang macha (tent that sold drinks and snacks) where I was the only foreign customer and we, my friend and I, were the youngest people in the place by at least two decades. I had just started learning Korean and my friend barely spoke English so our conversations were basically done by hand signals, body language and a couple of dictionaries. Like many people who first arrive in Korea – I was determined to have an open mind and try whatever food was placed in front of me.
My friend ordered for us and soon we had our macholi and, much to my surprise, three whole boiled frogs – complete with innards. My friend grabbed the frog by the face and plopped it in his mouth. I still remember the frog’s flaked skin on the sides of his mouth and the expectant looks of the assembled old Korean men – all wondering if I would eat one. I did. The frog literally exploded in my mouth. It took a lot of macholi before I could wash that taste out of my mouth – most of it supplied by those old yangbans in that tent. I don’t think I need to add, but I will, that the third frog was consumed by my friend.
I still occasionally see dried frogs in the markets in Seoul and every time I do it reminds me of my first and last experience of eating frog.