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Koreans don’t eat frog legs – they drink them!

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.

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ jefferyhodges

    I’ve never eaten an entire frog, but as a kid in the Ozarks, I ate frog legs, also squirrel meat, and venison, of course. I never had the opportunity to eat racoon, possum, or turtle, though my cousins and uncles claimed these were tasty, and I was open to trying them.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    Venison = awesome. Frog, ehh.

  • cm

    I think Oriental medicine (Chinese traditional medicine), has much to do with the beliefs that these animal parts like dog meat, cat juice, frog juice, snake liquor, bear galls, and others, all have medicinal value. I think the best way for these animal rights organizations to fight the animal abuses, is to debunk the Oriental medicine as little more than unsubstantiated pseudo science.

  • http://adamsawry.wordpress.com Adams-awry

    United Manchester?

  • robert neff

    Adams-awry -

    Thank you for pointing out my mistake – correction made.

  • PekingMan

    Robert, you’re lucky they didn’t insist you had ‘one more for the toad’…

  • Q

    What’s the difference between the frog-eating barbarians and the assailant “civilized” men?

    “Over-sentimentality, over-softness… and mushiness are the great dangers of this age and this people. Unless we keep the barbarian virtues, gaining the civilized ones will be of little avail.” — Theodore Rosevelt, 1899

  • keith

    They shouldn’t eat or drink endangered things, it’s just stupid. I had frog leg curry when I went to Bali and it was quite tasty, but they’re certainly not endangered on Bali. There are millions of the bloody things. So many that they kept me awake a couple of nights with their noise, it was like trying to sleep at a music festival if you’re camped near the techno tent!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa
  • CactusMcHarris

    So, just how many wooden drawers and such are in a well-stocked hanyak?

    One of the first words I found (after learning to use the dictionary) was ‘the penis of a sea bear’, so right then I knew I had a career in looking for words no one uses.

    I never thought to ask when I was there, but one of those drawer sections would make an awesome button cabinet for my wife.