I have mixed feelings about eating crab. I like the taste of it, but I don’t like endlessly cracking open crab legs just to dig out a tiny morsel of meat. Others don’t seem to mind the chore as much as I do, especially the people of Yeongdeok, who have been putting on a festival every March for the past 13 years to celebrate crabs. This festival is the reason I traveled to Yeongdeok, but I believe the coastal scenery and fresh seafood will be the reason why I return to the area in the future.
While I was on the bus from Daegu to Yeongdeok, I passed by a couple of small beaches that I think would make a great place for a picnic. Being on a bus meant that I couldn’t just pull over and check them out. This is an unavoidable limitation of traveling by public transportation. So I made a mental note to do some exploring along the coast whenever I get my hands on a car.
The first place I visited after arriving at Ganggu Station was Ganggu Port (강구항). The walk from the bus station to the port was enough to impress upon me the importance of crabs to the area. There are giant crab statues everywhere and it seems every restaurant is a crab restaurant.
Out of curiosity I asked a restaurant owner how much the best crabs cost. I figured that if the cost wasn’t too expensive, I’d give it a try. However, to my complete surprise, the best crabs sold for 180,000 won each and the cheapest for 50,000 won each. Being so expensive I was compelled to ask how many people could share a 180,000 won crab. It turns out that it can feed two people who have a lot of money to throw around.
On the edge of the port there is an outdoor seafood market and an indoor market right beside it. This area was fun for me to look around because I love photography and everything seemed worthy of a photo. The outdoor market was loaded with people haggling for seafood and had a lot of energy to it.
My favorite part of my time in the port area was my brief conversation with some old Korean ladies selling seaweed on the side of the marketplace. When I told them that I wasn’t with the local TV news company and that my pictures of them wouldn’t make it on TV, they seemed a little disappointed.
On my way out of the port area, I decided that I would to try crab soup (대게탕) if the price was right. The price I was offered was 30,000 won, and since I really wanted to have the experience of eating crab in Yeongdeok, I accepted. I suppose one drawback of Korean food is that, many times, when you order certain dishes, you’ve got to order for two people and there’s no way around it. In the end, eating the soup confirmed my distaste for opening crab legs and my pleasure in eating the meat within.
At this point in the afternoon, I’d already had an interesting trip simply by wandering around the port. I wanted to check out the festival grounds so I walked there from the port. The festival grounds were located at Samsa Marine Park, about a 15 minute walk away.
The event facilities were quite small when compared to the other festivals I’ve been to. The basics such as a main stage, snack food vendors, and singing cross-dressing clowns were all there.
I wasn’t really impressed with the festival activities, especially compared to walking around the port while taking photographs or even simply eating the crab soup. I just don’t have much to say about the festival itself. Like I said at the beginning of this article, I went to Yeongdeok to check out the festival, but will probably go back in the future to enjoy the coastal scenery of the area.
Sitting at my desk and looking back, I can’t recommend the Yeongdeok Crab Festival because the event didn’t have anything particularly exciting for me. On the other hand, I can easily recommend a trip the region to enjoy the nature there. In fact, my next trip there will probably include a stop at the port to pick up some fresh raw fish and vegetables to eat as a picnic on one of the beaches that I’ll drive to in my car or rental car.
Korea Tourism Organization