This is a photo from the street in central Seoul, which is a business district with big skyscrapers and office crowds and little charm, and this half eaten roast pig on the sidewalk in front of an EZ Pop-Up Shelter. Impromptu pig roast.

As usual there was some festival going on in front of a bank. This one featured a hitherto unknown Korean tradition: belly dancing Korean women and a smoke machine to Korean pop music. Perhaps it goes well with pig.

We didn't eat the pig at this stand, though it smelled great.

Instead we took a break from a near-constant sushi diet (good for the dreams) and continued on instead with the the good fortune to randomly select a grill restaurant specializing only in eel.

I learned how to tell the differences between the pork and beef ones (some serve both) and the ones specializing in "sam gyeop sal," which is kind of like very thickly sliced bacon, quite good. But a place specializing in eel was new to me. (It turns out that if you can read signs, they are ubiquitous, showing you exactly how much this eyeball is missing).

Since eel is possibly the most delicious of all meats, and a favorite of both of us, it is clear that for this meal, the food gods were smiling upon us and Lil' Buddha (though she is not yet on the eel diet).

[I can never eat eel without thinking of the Tim Drum and the horse's head. More recently I read and can recommend this contemporary account of the eel business, which is interesting if eels are your bag].

These grilling places are all over the city, and especially thickly around Sinchon, Hongdae, and whatever the name of the neighborhood south of our place is called. They all look good. They are set up simply, with tables on the sidewalks with grills in the middle and food that is washed down by tables filled with people with oceans of beer or soju. Certainly a setting for a great meal. No matter where you are or what time, these places are packed. I can't figure out why this style of restaurant has not become the world standard for all restaurants.


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