Koreans love to eat fish. Fish in all forms. Fish whole. Fish with bones. Teeny tiny dried silvery fish. Giant hacks of long skinny fish. Fish ground up into microscopic pieces and sprinkled in every single dish, for that one-of-a-kind! surprise! fish flavor.
I had to accept this if I ever wanted to eat in Korea. And I now expect for everything to taste like fish. Rice? Why not? Soup? Duh. Omelettes? Of course! Because Koreans love to eat fish.
What I did not expect is that Koreans love fish on a whole other level beyond food. Koreans love fish like some people might love a newborn baby monkey at the zoo, or possibly even a human baby.
Surfing channels the other day, I flipped right past a man bent over on the shore of a lake, holding a baby bottle full of white stuff, feeding a mess of very eager koi fish.
Yes, I flipped right past it. About four channels later, my brain caught up to what I’d seen and said, Dude, what the hell?? I went back and sure enough, there’s a Korean family, standing on the edge of a little pond, squatting over a bunch of big koi fish, nursing them with baby bottles of milk.
Seriously..what the hell? Since when do fish eat or drink milk?? Since when do fish give a shit about anything besides fish food? Who started doing this? And why???
I couldn’t really believe what I was seeing, and of course, the great thing about this craziness on Korean TV is that I don’t have the privilege of understanding because I don’t speak Korean. I’m sure this nonsense was being explained; I assume it was something along the lines of, “Reactive Attachment Disorder patients are encouraged to bond with the fish, as fish are incapable of showing any sort of affection or love that might frighten or distress those patients most fearful of an emotional connection”.
Since the narrator wasn’t helping me, I did some mental deductions of my own. Fish aren’t cute and so I cannot relate to the desire to love them. They don’t love you back. You can’t cuddle with them. To pamper or nurse them in anyway is futile. So there must be sort of sciencey reason why the Koreans are feeding the fish baby bottles…
Wrong. In response to my scientific musings, they showed the fish drinking the milk from under the water. With each little sip, they expelled a big puffy white cloud of milk from their gills. The milk goes right freakin through them! So this already strange, strange behavior is made even more ridiculous by the fact that they do not appear to retain any of the milk. Maybe just a few nutrients. So then why else?
Use your critical thinking skills, Megan! What other animals are bottle fed? Monkeys, goats, baby tigers. Why are they bottle fed? Well I guess baby mammals are bottle fed to replicate nursing from their mothers. Okay.. but…fish don’t do that…
And we’re back to, “Whyyyy?” I suspect if I spent some time with Google I might be able to find a few answers. I also suspect that I would find none of them satisfactory. Eating alarming amounts of fish here makes sense to me. We’re surrounded by the sea and it’s easy. Lovin’ up on a fish with a baby bottle though, that’s some weird shit.