Korea is nothing if not proud of its local foods. Every region of the country has its famous foods that are just from that area or are originally from there or are supposed to be best there. Often there’s a festival dedicated to that food there as well. This is great for travelers, as it’s easy to find out what is the thing to eat from any given part of the country.
Jeju Island is no different. One of its most famous foods is meat from the Jeju Black Pig. You will likely see on the menu 흑되지 (heuk dweji, or black pig). The meat is not black, it is simply a pig with black hair. Typically a bit of skin with black hair is left on the meat so that you know you’re getting the real deal.
You may encounter the term 똥되지 (ddong dweji) as the name for the meat. This literally means ‘shit pig.’ It’s called a shit pig because traditionally these pigs were kept in a pen just below the outdoor latrines. The pig was used to dispose of human waste – as in, they literally used to feed these pigs shit. When they ate them they decided this made them extremely delicious. So the pigs today are the descendants of these shit-eating pigs. However, they’ve not been fed shit since the 1960s so that shouldn’t make you too squeamish.
The restaurant we got the shit pig from at 함덕 (Hamdeok) Beach served it with a little dish of sesame oil and salt for dipping.
There was also the usual lettuce leaves, hot peppers, and various banchan. There was no gochujang (red pepper paste) which you typically get with meat in Incheon, but there was dwenjang (soybean paste) which you don’t get as much in Incheon.
The meat is very flavorful and definitely has a bit of different flavor than the average pork in Korea.
Verdict? Shit pig is freaking delicious. Jeff seems to agree.