Sunday, June 28, 2015

Anchovies Drying on the Pavement

A friend and I like to do coastal walks in Pusan and for several days we'll hike around along various places just enjoying the environment, the sun and the people we meet. This time we based our hikes around Songjeong Beach, a beach that is rapidly developing and is overlooked by the fine hotels on famous Dalmaji Hill. The beach has beautiful white sand and while we were there an annual surfing competition was taking place. Used to Waikiki, I didn't think the surf was high enough for catching waves but people were standing up and taking short rides. There was even a young kid out there with his golden retriever riding the front of the board. The beach is a bit northward of greater Pusan so it doesn't have the popularity (yet) that other beaches have. However, it is fast growing in fame and popularity. Already there are two festivals besides the surf competition held here: the Harvest Full-moon Seaweed Festival and the Songjeong Beach Festival.

Today on our walk north of the Songjeong Beach we came across some ajumas drying anchovies on rolls and rolls of durable fabric. The scene rather surprised me as I started to realize the production process before those tiny little fish appear as my side-dish. How fine would the net have to be to scoop up the tiny little fish and keep them from wriggling through? Since the net had to be so fine, what kind of other sea life was caught and what became of that larger life -- thrown back into the ocean, died, tossed into other containers to be sold at other markets? 

Obviously the fish need to be dried after catching them and, as they are so delicate, they must be painstakingly sorted, removed from sea debris like seaweed strands, and laid out to dry on these massive sheets. Looking at the fish production in front of us, I started to realize what intensive labor processing takes place so I can have a few fish with my rice.

These things are delicious but never until today did I seriously question the hygienic method of how they were prepared for my soup bowl.

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