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Food News

Seoul Octopus Day + The Relative Joys of Octopus Heads

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Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 4:15 PM

click to enlarge Officials at Seongdong District Office in Seoul at an "Octopus Tasting Event" - JOONGANG DAILY
  • JoongAng Daily
  • Officials at Seongdong District Office in Seoul at an "Octopus Tasting Event"

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? And how many octopus heads are probably as many as you should eat in a day? The answer to the first question, of course, belongs to the philosophers and the theologians. The second, at least according to the the Korean Food and Drug Administration, has a more concrete answer: Two.

Octopus heads purchased in Korea, says a report in JoongAng Daily, specifically the internal organs contained in octopus heads, were discovered by researchers from the Seoul municipal government to contain alarming amounts of cadmium, an element that is useful in the manufacture of batteries and vivid oil paint, but is also a fairly potent carcinogen. The city issued a warning. The price of octopus plummeted. Fishermen took to the streets. Protesting lawmakers brought a live octopus onto the floor of the National Assembly. The Korean FDA ruled that a little octopus was okay. The city government caved, making October 20th Seoul Octopus Day -- another important holiday we forgot to celebrate -- and served 1,800 portions of octopus bibimbap for lunch at City Hall. Everybody wins, except for the octopuses and the cancer prone.

In further news, I had three octopus heads for lunch today in Koreatown. But they were little ones.

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