Bite This

Someone please alert my husband that this is what I want for Christmas: The unbelievably sultry Alex Kapranos, front man for snappy pop band Franz Ferdinand, has just burst forth with a book of eating essays, Sound Bites. The book collects together all of Kapranos’s beautiful, evocative food columns for the UK paper The Guardian, which chronicled his eating experiences as he toured around the world with Franz Ferdinand.

OK, so maybe I’m just a sucker for a pouty-lipped fella, but can’t you hear a breath of Alice B. Toklas in this posting from Korea?

We’re wandering round the market in Incheon, Korea. Jean tells me that it’s quiet today. The stallholders normally shout at you about how good their food is. Koreans are rather like Italians. We pass a stall loaded with dried fish—big ones staring from sunken eyes like marine mummies, tiny silver ones like metal filings in a sack.

Christine points at some microscopic shrimp. They are soaked in salt for a very long time so all the juice comes out, and the flavour is magnificent. We eat them with kimchi pancakes. I bring my face close to a bucket of clams in seawater. Semi-opaque tubes protrude from the shells; one gently breaks the surface like a periscope and shoots an arc of water at me.

Sigh.