In South Korea in the public schools, for a small fee, teachers are able to eat the same cooked lunch as the children do and usually it's pretty good. We always have a soup or stew, rice and three side dishes. Sometimes we even have a dessert like rice cakes or fruit. I have always HATED making lunch for work so this arrangement works perfect for me, even though sometimes the food is a little spicy or unusual - it's edible and to be honest after teaching for four hours I am usually happy to eat ANYTHING!
Last week I was eating lunch with my co-teachers and one of the side dishes was a spicy vegetable salad in the Korean hot sauce. I've had this salad a million times before and I was eating away when one of my co-teachers asked if I liked it, to which I said I thought it was ok.
She asked if I knew what was in the salad, which I had to admit I didn't really know and dread began to fill me as I though of the small chewy bits in the salad. The she told me the salad contained "river snail" which is very good for our health but many foriegner's don't like it.
Just when I thought, maybe she is confusing river snail with another English word she said, it is just like Escargot in France. So no mistaking I was eating a poor little snail - river snail is apparently hugely popular and I have most likely eaten it before. I did notice the chewiness in the salad but I thought it was just my old "friend" octopus or squid - not a poor wee snail!
Now I know about the presence of the river snail in Korean cuisine I can't help but wonder how many snails I have ingested over the past six or seven months.
I know snails are not the most beloved of creatures (especially for gardener's) but I have gone from being someone who would go to great length's to aviod walking on snails when going for an early morning walk or run to a person who quite little eats snails for lunch.
Korea can do strange things to a girl - I'm truely sorry Mr Snail!