Ba Da Ma Eul

The best foods can be found at Michelin starred restaurants, but can also be found at little shacks like Ba Da Ma Eul.  The name refers to the general area comprised of a bunch of seafood stalls/tents, each individually owned and operated.  The specialty is fresh live seafood.  You literally pick out what you want and within minutes it goes from swimming in a tank to sliced up on your plate.  While all the stalls appear very similar, Area Codes assured us the one we patroned was in fact the best one.  It did seem busier than the others.DSC00558

Not sure how the grapes fit into the picture, but they were some of the best grapes I’ve ever eaten aside from the seeds.  There were a variety of sauces including soy bean paste, chili paste, gochuchang, soy sauce and wasabi, and sesame oil with salt.

The squirmy dancing octopus makes its appearance once again.  This was just as tasty as it was earlier in the day at breakfast.DSC00561

Live Shrimp
Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the killing.  The chef/owner held the shrimp up so I could bite through the pinned creature.  Biting into a whole still moving animal was way too creepy for me.  At least with the octopus, you know someone else killed it already and the writhing tentacles represent reflexes more than conscious life.  With the shrimp, my chompers ended it’s life.  When I tried to get more meat from the head, the antennae and pincers would thrash about.  It was too traumatic for me and I had to call it quits.  I don’t think I’ll be eating shrimp this way again.

So I’m not sure exactly what the next 2 shellfish like creatures were, but they were snappy and very clean tasting.  DSC00564



Sea Squirt
During the entire trip, The Annoyer could not hold back his hatred for sea squirts.  I’ve never had sea squirt before, but Area Codes is a fan.  This wasn’t the same type of sea squirt The Annoyer had before.  It didn’t have any putridness.  It was a little chewy and pretty clean.DSC00567

These tasted fine, but they were too ugly to truly appreciate.  I felt like I was eating boogery oceanic alien insects.  No thanks.DSC00568

Lobster Sashimi
The highlight of dinner was easily the giant lobster.  The tail was served raw and couldn’t be any fresher or more delicious.  I mostly dipped it in the soy sauce/wasabi combination.  It was perfection.DSC00569

The legs, claw, and body were lightly stir fried, which brought out its delightful and natural sweetness.DSC00570

I was so stuffed by this point.  I didn’t have the motivation to pick apart the body like The Annoyer.DSC00573

Seafood Ramen
More fresh seafood and the leftover lobster tail was added to instant seafood ramen to make it the most amped up and delicious version of instant noodles.DSC00574

Ba Da Ma Eul was a delightful departure from the traditional restaurants and BBQ joints we had been visiting.  It was nice to eat something totally different than grilled meat or seafood.  I probably could have done without all the weird snails and sea squirts.  I would have been very happy with just the octopus, lobster, and seafood ramen.  I’m definitely not eating live shrimp like that again.  You would think that the casual ambience, and questionable cleanliness (specifically the dish washing methods), would suggest the place was cheap.  It looked the part of a hole-in-the-wall establishment, but certainly did not come at the same price tag.    Still, for the quality of food we had, it was probably a good price.

10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome (factoring in uniqueness)
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here

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