Rock octopus is one of the commonly loved seafood by Koreans thanks to its chewy yet clean taste. Homigot rock octopus caught offshore of Pohang City in particular has a strong presence among octopus lovers. Homigot is a place where cold current meets warm current brining abundance of fish and marine products thus often called ‘fishing ground’. <Power Korea> met Lee Myeong-duk, the president of the Homigot Rock Octopus Cooperative.
Story of rock octopus
The Japanese during the colonial era brought all marine products, especially abalone and sea urchin, caught offshore of Pohang to Japan for incomparable quality. Homigot rock octopus grows on eating these abalone and sea urchin. As a result, Homigot rock octopus is rich in taurine and helps detoxing and recovery from fatigue. As Homigot has strong current, the rock octopus living here is strong.
It is said that female divers in Jeju eat an octopus in spring before diving into the sea and scholars in olden days also used the ink of octopus to write letters alongside eating it; in the Andong regions, octopus is an important item for wedding and ritual. Knowing this very well, the Homigot Rock Octopus Cooperative was formed in 2008 to spread excellent quality and taste of Homigot rock octopus to the people nationwide.
Lee Myeong-duk, the president of the Homigot Rock Octopus Cooperative, was born and lived in Homigot, Pohang, for the last 63 years. He secured US$355,239 from the government and US$88,809 from Pohang City and opened the Homigot Rock Octopus Center in 2017 to sell not only rock octopus but also a variety of marine products in the region such as snow crab, abalone, mackerel, winkle, halibut, saury and sea mustard.
Homigot rock octopus tasting
As the president of the Homigot Rock Octopus Cooperative, Lee has been proactively engaging in spreading excellent quality and taste of Homigot Rock Octopus. He already has scheduled himself with 50 marketing events this year including the one to be held in November at the National Assembly for promoting rock octopus, and half-dried herring, another specialty of the region. “Most Homigot rock octopus is sold to Seoul and other areas thanks to its excellent quality and taste” said Lee.
Winning 2018 20th Award of a Proud Korean who makes Korea Honorable
Lee started to engage in regional activities by joining a youth club in 1996. He led the movement against building industrial waste landfill in the region with his wife who was brought into custody as a result. His hard work and contribution eventually was paid back by being elected as a city council member in 1998 and he pushed forward creating Homigot Sunrise Square by securing US$1.5 million shared tax and another US$6.8 million from North Gyeongsang Province, Pohang City, Daegu Bank and Daeah Group. Now, the square is visited by yearly 2 million people.
He also made contributions to New Millennium Memorial Hall, four-lane road between Guryongpo and Homigot, waterworks and sewage treatment plant from which he was reelected as a member of the city council. He then released a book <Daebo Rural History 2006> after 4 years of research and writing and received the 2002 Korea Provincial Government Awards in the category of environment in recognition.
Furthermore, he bridged to set up a sisterhood between Homigot (Daebo 2-ri) and Ttangkkeut (Songho-ri, Haenam County) to promote exchanges between people in the eastern and the western parts of Korea. Quite recently, he has suggested running a pleasure boat for tourists to see around the Homigot area and creating a multifunctional fishing port to promote tourist industry in the region.
Currently, Lee is serving as the executive secretary of the North Gyeongsang Village Enterprise Association. He is the first one who received the Forever Homisuin from local residents and he also won the 2018 20th Award of a Proud Korean who makes Korea Honorable held by the Korea News Press Society.
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