Pufferfish (or blowfish) is considered a delicacy in East Asia; it is also one of the most poisonous vertebrates in the world.
It’s commonly known by its Japanese name, Fugu; many people know it from the Simpsons episode where Homer accidentally eats a poisonous part of the fish.
We didn’t realise what it was when we went to the restaurant, we just picked a restaurant that was close by because we were short on time. It is a tasty fish, the sauce is very spicy but the flavour of the fish still comes through. The grilled version we had is very low risk for poisoning; blowfish sashimi is higher risk, some people specifically eat it for the tingling lip sensation that a small amount of the toxin gives.
We also reviewed the restaurant on the Pohang Restaurant Guide.
This weekend we went down to Busan for the Holi Hai festival. It is organised by ‘Indians in Korea’ but is very welcoming to all foreigners in Korea as well as Koreans.
It was located Haeundae beach. The festival involves dancing and throwing colorful powder around. It seems a bit strange to start this kind of thing late morning and wrap up by mid-afternoon. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were held later in the day. It was enjoyable and different nonetheless, though.
Since we were in Haeundae which is expat-friendly we were able to stop by an Irish Bar and get an all day breakfast. It might not be much to look at but it was delicious. It’s the first one I’ve had since leaving the UK.
A paper detailing some of the work that I have been doing in Korea has recently been published in Angewandte Chemie.
The paper describes how high affinity host-guest complexes can be used in proteomic studies to enrich target proteins. The synthetic host-guest complexes have similar affinity to high affinity complexes typically used in the life sciences (Biotin-streptavidin). Unlike the protein based complexes, the synthetic system can be dissociated under mild conditions simply by adding a higher affinity guest.
Christmas is a strange time in Korea. Around 30% of Korea’s population are Christian and Christmas is a national holiday, but it is not really celebrated in the way that the major holidays (lunar new year and Korean thanksgiving) are. Despite that, there are lots of decorations in the cities and the stores have lots of Christmasy merchandise.
On Christmas day we went to Busan to see the Busan Christmas Tree Festival and the Christmas lights. It was quite nice but far too crowded to really enjoy. I did get some pictures of the lights
Here’s a view from a 2nd-floor coffee shop that shows how crowded the streets were. They did have a very nice maple latte though and fortune cookies.
Some pictures from street level: