It doesn’t come much fresher than this. You point to the thing you’d like to eat, from the array of squirming, wriggling shellfish and octopus on display; the lady scoops it out of its shell with her knife, slices it up and hands it to you on a plate. I’m sure it tastes delicious but there’s no way I’m going to try anything quite so squidgy.
Jeju is said to have three things in abundance – wind, women and rocks. The women in question are the divers, who put on wetsuits and gather food from the water around the island. The story goes that they were forced into this way of life because the men of Jeju Island were so lazy. People have told me it’s still true, but I’m not in a position to comment.
The women divers are a dying breed these days. Young women don’t take it up, unsurprisingly, and the ones we saw were doing a demonstration for visitors rather than for the economic value of the catch. Judging from the deep lines on their faces, they’ve lived a tough, outdoor, life.