Travelers love talking about “comfort zones” and “getting out of” that zone — it’s not something I tend to say. Yes, I attempt to do things that I wouldn’t otherwise try if I wasn’t traveling, but usually there’s a good reason for trying it. I now know that I do not enjoy Khmer massages despite it only costing $5 (seriously, my body felt better before the massage, which was after that 40-mile bike ride). I also now know that fugu sashimi is not worth the money.
I’ve previously mentioned that there are foods that I won’t try — I have my limits; I’m not Andrew Zimmern and I don’t get paid to try all this stuff. In Cambodia, I saw plenty of tarantulas and little snakes on sticks that I didn’t want to touch (or pay $1 to photograph). Once again, I’ve met my limit here in Seoul. I already knew that Korea still ate dog meat — mostly in the winter because it supposedly keeps you warm — but I didn’t expect to see so much of it in Seoul.
Fortunately, this was not as awful a sight as I saw in Hanoi. I lost my appetite while wandering around for lunch one day as I came across a line of restaurants with piles of roasted dogs — heads and all. And while in Saigon, I avoided ordering the “grilled unicorn leatherjacket,” not because it sounded weird, but because I didn’t want to pay $20 to find out if it tasted like a leathery rainbow.
Back when I lived in China, I was taken out for dinner one night to a restaurant that had a large sign advertising hot pot of cat and dog. I was assured that we would eat the goat hot pot (I still hope that’s what was in the pot).
Korea doesn’t seem quite as crazy about their pet dogs as Japan (that’s probably a good thing as I some of those dog costumes were disturbing). There’s not acupuncture for dogs like I saw in my Tokyo neighborhood; however, they do sell beer for dogs in Seoul.
Where do you draw the line on trying different foods in a foreign country?