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Various Autumn Seafood Festivals in Korea

Various Autumn Seafood Festivals in Korea


In Korea autumn is the season for festivals. At this time various festivals take place in different districts. Farmers celebrate their harvest and fishermen also arrange festivals for good hauls of autumn fish. From September to October there are large catches of crabs, king prawns and gizzard shads in the seas off Korea. And in many coastal areas a common scene is one of smiling fishermen pouring their catch out of their nets.
The south and west coasts of Korea have many indentations. At almost every turn of the coast there is a small harbor. And many of them have their own seafood festivals in the autumn. Many people have sweet memories of sitting in such a harbor and eating seafood in a sea breeze.          
The following are brief introductions to some of the autumn seafood festivals:-

*Anmyeondo Baeksajang King Prawn Festival: this is the best known seafood festival on the west coast. It takes place at Baeksajang Harbor in Changgi-ri Village (in Anmyeon, Chungnam Province), which is the biggest entrepot of king prawns in Korea. Besides the tasty prawns, the festival provides a good chance to appreciate the beautiful local scenery, especially attractive at sunset. This year the festival took place from September 24 to October 16.

*Namdang-ri King Prawn Festival: another king prawn festival on the west coat is held at Namdang-ri Harbor in Hongseong, Chungnam Province. This year the festival took place from September 10 to October 31, with king prawns freshly caught in Cheonsu Bay.

*Ganggyeong Jeotgal Festival: jeotgal (salted fish and sauces) are eaten as a side dish and also widely used as seasoning. For instance, it is added to many kinds of kimchi. The Ganggyeong Jeotgal Festival is held from the 20th to the 24th of October with more than 100 kinds of jeotgal displayed.

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*Masanpo Fish Market Festival: from the 1st to the 4th of September an annual fish market festival is held at Odongdong in Masan, Gyeongnam Province. This market festival concentrates on gizzard shad, which tastes best in the autumn. In the south coastal areas in Korea there are many jokes about the good taste of the fish. People say, for example, that “even a daughter-in-law who quits her family comes back for this fish in the autumn.” There are also some sayings stressing how much the fish is valued, such as: “One autumn gizzard shad is worth 3  mals of sesame seeds.” (a mal is a traditional measuring tool, and one mal is about 1.8 liters).                   

*Jingyu Sulsang Gizzard Shad Festival: this is another festival for gizzard shad, which takes place in Sulsang Harbor in Hadong, Gyeongnam Province. This year the festival was held on September 5 and 6.

*Palpo Gizzard Shad Festival: from September 12 to 15 this year Palpo Gizzard Shad Festival took place in Sacheon, Gyeongnam Province. Another saying about the good taste of the fish is that “a flounder is best in the spring and gizzard shad best in the autumn”. Apart from the fish, this festival provided the visitors with a chance to enjoy the beautiful sea views.  

*Myeongji Gizzard Shad Festival: this festival is held annually from September 24 to 26 at Myeongji Market in Gangseo-Gu, Busan. Busan is the biggest international port in Korea, and it is becoming familiar to more and more foreigners because of the annual international film festival (PIFF) held there. At the Gizzard Shad Festival raw fish and other fishery products can also be enjoyed.     

*Seocheon Gizzard Shad Festival: this festival takes place from late September to early October at Hongwon Harbor in Seocheon, Chungnam Province. Many side events were also arranged, including demonstrations of catching gizzard shad by hand, and collecting shellfish.

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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