Masan Nights

In the process of life in an Asian country it will almost certainly fall upon the hungry, the needy and such to venture out of the space they normally occupy in order to find something. Upon leaving the comfort zone it can quickly become apparent that the city we live in, while geographically small, can be spatially huge.

But, that aside for now; I wasn’t looking for anything in particular this day, yet stumbled across what I knew previously existed but had never really seen. After popping to Masan Nambu bus station on a particularly warm and sunny Wednesday to collect one girlfriend we hopped a taxi and tessurrected our way to Daewoo Dept. Store via the coastal mini-super-highway parallel to the industrial complex that very much puts me in the frame of mind of a Storm Thorgerson album cover.* Daewoo Dept. Store — I much prefer the contraction as it somehow fits the slightly clipped-feeling building much better — isn’t much if you want to get anything nice for under 500,000 won, maybe one glove, but outside as an addendum to the building, flush with the Dept. Store itself there’s a Krispy Kreme that has never let me down. The one by the Rotary in what is now the old Lotte Department Store was the protagonist in a story that I sometimes refer to as ‘that time that Krispy Kreme closes at 7 on a Saturday, which is really every time if you consider it out of the context of this, a story.’

We bought three original glazed donuts — more bang for your buck than any other donut in my opinion — and popped to the local meat supermarket that I knew was nearby. It was here that I realized that Pork Tenderloin (capitalized for importance, viz. to me) was available for the hitherto unknown low, low price of 700 won per 100 grams. For those unfamiliar with European measurement vernacular, that’s an ounce under a quarter pound. This represents value for money far beyond the KS Mart’s special pricing of 780 won per 100 (substandard, slightly battery farmed-looking — can you battery farm pigs? who knows) grams. So we picked up some for our tea. Wondering, though, how deep the rabbit hole would go, we wondered into the true gem of the surrounding area — and as you will remember, Krispy Kreme is close by, so this is a Statement — the Masan Fish Market.

You could describe this market as a collection of horrible things in which some nice things are hidden; as is the case with many ‘places of Cultural Significance,’ the main attraction here i.e. the fish is not the best one and certainly not the most olfactorily pleasant one in the market by some distance. For those inclined, there’s a wonderful selection of fish and other unknown sea creatures varying in shade from bisque to puce. Instead, after covering some distance and happening upon some cheap peppers, broccoli and the largest collection of unripe or rather completely green tomatoes I have ever had the displeasure to witness — it was as if the growers simply didn’t understand that tomatoes went red once they were ready to be eaten — we happen-stanced upon another butcher who while I didn’t realize at the time also offered a variety of beef both American and Korean and cheap pork. He, with 3 reprises of “bye!” directed us towards the chicken area of the market, because we needed some chicken breast.

We ambled over, looking at the pigs heads and their tiny teeth en route — I find it difficult to believe that any of these pigs could tear a man to shreds skin and bone all as per Snatch — until we found the stall Daegu Chicken. Now I am the first to suggest that one should never under any circumstances visit Daegu, but perhaps it’s time to exclude satellites of Daegu from that rule; maybe it’s time to move on from my Irrational Hatred of that place, [italicize]ceteris paribus[end italics]: Daegu Chicken in Masan Market offers the best quality and best priced semifreddo chicken I have seen in Korea. At 7,000 won for a generous kilogram — defrosted it weighed around 1050g which I am more than happy with — it poses for the 단박질 connoisseur an unrivaled deal this side of Costco.

The following day, I was so smitten with the chicken and pork Thai Green Curry the previous evening had produced that I conscripted my friend Patrick to accompany me to the meat haven hidden amongst the stench of dying fish. It was here that we came across the Goodbye Butcher for a second time while passing through the labyrinthian halls and it was here that we bought ourselves a slab of American beef with the fat cut out — don’t pay for what you don’t use — for roughly 12,000 won per kilogram. While this surely posed no threat to the time I refer back to as ‘that time I went to Home Plus and the beef was on sale anyway but no matter how much I got it all scanned through as 5,160 won on the self scanning machine,’ it stood up as a good deal even when re quantified within the Hall of Deals I had found myself in two times in two days. The bonus beef burger (x2) was the icing on the meaty cake.

In total, I procured the following on the second trip to the Platonic Meat Market:

6kg chicken breast

1kg steak

2kg pork tenderloin

for the serfly sum of 68,000 won. Hence I recommend it wholeheartedly for those looking for either a- A Trip To A Place of Cultural Significance b- to see some strange colored fish and squid and other things that maybe are sentient c- a delicious donut until 9pm or d- lots of meat for not lots of money. For those along for the Tour Of Exploration On Masan note this as your starter and bring a holdall or some such in order to hold all the things I [you]’ll be buying over the next few days.

Starter: 3 Original Glazed Donuts From Krispy Kreme (600kcal)

Buses 800 and 703 are the best options for the market while the 105, 102, 109 and 100 all traverse over there eventually.

*It should be noted that Storm Thorgerson, best known for his Pink Floyd and The Mars Volta album covers, passed away last Saturday, so rest in peace.

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