San Nakji – Sik Gaek

19 Oct

I have watched Koreans eating live octopus on TV a couple of times. A couple of months ago, we watch Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations visit a place in Flushing Queens where the prepare live octopus several ways. We knew we had to try it!

We went with friends Julie and Dave (and the kids) and made the trek out to Sik Gaek (16129 Crocheron Ave, Flushing, NY 11358, (718) 321-7770). When you walk into this place its like you are suddenly IN Korea. The tables are close together and picnic table style. The decorations, the waitstaff and the really loud Korean pop music are all fun and festive.

When you first sit down at your table, they bring you fried eggs and steamed eggs and dduk bok ki. Not your typical ban chan. We waited around for service until we were informed that there is actually a button on the table where you can buzz for your waiter!

We ordered live octopus two ways. The first plate of live octopus was just simply cut into small pieces and put on a plate with slices of hot pepper and garlic. It came with hot pepper and sesame oil dipping sauce. Its really hard to grab with your chopsticks, but using your fingers is somewhat out of the question because the octopus will literally crawl up your hand. It tastes like fresh raw seafood. It is not smelly, but it is slimy. The tentacles grab the roof of your mouth and tongue. Its chewy, so you have to really chew hard to get it to stop moving and be able to swallow it. Its more of a fun dish to eat than being really tasty. It really isn’t as gross as it sounds. It costs $19.00.

Next, we ordered san nakji jungol. They bring a large pot to your table and put it on a burner. Inside, there are clams, mussels, calamari rings, noodles, vegetables, a conch and on top, there is a severed whole lobster. And it is still moving. And then the waiter comes back and puts two whole live octopi on top. He turns up the flame and the whole thing cooks your food alive. The octopus and lobster twitch and squirm until they are done. The waiter comes back, cuts it all up into bit size pieces with scissors and you enjoy a hearty seafood stew that is nice and spicy. The jongol is a lot of food, you can probably feed 6 people with it. It costs $80.

Matilda thought the restaurant was pretty fun. Its not very kid friendly. The food is all really spicy. But they DO have high chairs. We had to leave eventually because it was so loud, it gave her a headache.

Thanks to Dave for making the awesome video!



5 Responses to “San Nakji – Sik Gaek”

  1. Camille October 22, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    Oh, God, I can’t believe you did that. I can’t even bring myself to watch the video. The horror! It seems so inhumane.

  2. Janey October 23, 2009 at 6:42 am #

    Note to self, do not show Camille the chicken killing video.

    I would allow that the lobster part was not very nice, but the octopus, I am pretty sure does not have the brain to know what is going on.

  3. Pedant October 29, 2009 at 8:51 am #

    Other way around, actually. Octopuses are one of the most intelligent creatures of the sea – e.g. can improvise tools to move obstacles or get to food. Lobsters, on the other hand, don’t even have a brain.

    But regardless, this looks delicious.

  4. Andy December 22, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    That’s disgusting. I’m no animal rights activist but, dude, ew. Food should not attempt to escape once it’s on serving platters.

  5. Christine nelsen January 11, 2010 at 12:30 am #

    Geepers! I can’t even believe that you did it… no regurgitation? No disgust? I could never… like from some movie… You are truly brave and open and crazy!!!!!!

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