The ‘Extreme South’ Yellowtail Festival, which runs through Nov. 20, is an extremely (pardon the pun) popular festival with a creative theme relating to the eponymous fish (bangeo, in Korean) that changes year to year – something which travelers, foodies, fishing enthusiasts and locals can all enjoy together.
For example, one of the central events of the festival is bare-handed yellowtail catching… the fish being released into a large, knee-deep pool of seawater.
You grab a pair of waders and give jump in – but be warned, these fish are extremely agile!
And it wouldn’t be a festival without the food! There are plenty of yellowtail dishes (my favorite was the freshly sliced raw fish), but you can also try the soups, barbeque, and various festival snack foods like red bean paste filled fish-shaped bread, silkworm lavae, grilled sweet potatoes and more.
Speaking of the ocean, you can also enjoy a hands-on experience program where you catch/collect your own seafood products (shellfish, crab, etc.) and roast them up in a special self-service cooking area. This can be particularly interesting for the kids, who can see just prep is required for their seafood meal.
In that vein, the festival is designed to be educational. There are exhibitions about the local ecosystem, its history, and culture, as well as a demonstration of the production of fishing tools. The festival starts with a traditional rite, or gut, which is meant to secure the safety of the fishermen and haenyeo, Jeju’s women divers, who work in the ocean day to day.
There is also a daily farmer’s market with great deals on seafood, meat, produce, and more.
Did you know? The Yellowtail Amberjack is a relatively large fish which can grow to 180 centimeters in length and weigh 20 kilograms. It is one of three subspecies is the Asian yellowtail found in Jeju waters and prefers rocky reefs and kelp beds. These are precisely the conditions found around Jejudo and Marado Islands. Bonus: There are a number of other yellowtail festivals held in the region but these tend to be later in the season than Jeju. Two Japanese festivals are in the village of Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture, and on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, which not surprisingly are along the yellowtail migration route along Japan’s west coast.
Now, if you’d like to make the most of your time in and around Moseulpo, another option is to explore Marado Island. A ferry departs Moseulpo Port from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. for this small island (remember to make a reservation and to bring ID to show when you purchase a ticket!). The phone number for the Samyeongho Ferry is 064-794-3500.
How to get there: Moseulpo Port is about an hour’s drive from Jeju City. If you are taking public transportation, catch bus 750 from Jeju City Intercity Bus Terminal and get off at Moseulpo Port. Buses depart every 10 to 20 minutes.
The festival Web site (in Korean) has a complete list of events. We hope you get a chance to visit Moseulpo for yourself!
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