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Choking Horror: 82-Year-Old Korean Man Suffers Heart Attack While Consuming 'Live Octopus' Dish


"Choking Horror: 82-Year-Old Korean Man Suffers Heart Attack While Consuming 'Live Octopus' Dish"

In a shocking incident in South Korea, an 82-year-old man experienced a heart attack after choking on a piece of "live octopus," known locally as san-nakji. The unique dish, considered a delicacy, involves serving freshly severed octopus tentacles that are still wriggling on the plate. The incident, reported in Gwangju, a city near the country's southern tip, occurred when a piece of san-nakji became lodged in the man's throat, prompting a distress call to the fire station.

First responders rushed to the scene and found the man in cardiac arrest. Immediate CPR was administered, although the report did not specify the outcome of the life-saving efforts. San-nakji, while translated as "live octopus," is, in fact, prepared with the octopus killed before serving. However, the freshness of the dish is such that the tentacles' nerves remain active, creating the illusion of movement on the plate.

This local delicacy, often enjoyed in South Korea's coastal areas and seafood markets, carries a unique cultural and culinary significance. It made its way into popular culture when featured on Anthony Bourdain's CNN series "Parts Unknown" in 2015, where the famed chef sampled the dish and interacted with its distinct texture.

Despite its popularity, san-nakji has made headlines for tragic incidents, with reports over the years of diners choking or asphyxiating on the tentacles. Notably, a case dubbed the "octopus murder" unfolded in 2012, where a South Korean man was initially sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly killing his girlfriend, claiming it was a san-nakji accident. Subsequently, he was acquitted by the Supreme Court in 2013 due to insufficient evidence.

This recent incident serves as a reminder of the potential risks associated with unique culinary experiences and prompts discussions around the safety and cultural context of such traditional dishes.

In conclusion, the distressing incident involving an 82-year-old man suffering a heart attack while consuming 'live octopus' in South Korea sheds light on the potential risks associated with unique culinary practices. San-nakji, a local delicacy known for its freshly severed and still-wriggling octopus tentacles, carries cultural significance but also poses hazards, as evidenced by the recent emergency response in Gwangju.

While the dish is named 'live octopus,' it is crucial to note that the octopus is killed before serving, though its tentacles' nerves remain active, creating the appearance of movement. The incident underscores the need for caution and awareness when partaking in unconventional culinary experiences, especially those with potential choking hazards.

This event also resonates with past cases of diners facing serious consequences, either through choking or, in more extreme instances, asphyxiation. Notably, the history of the "octopus murder" trial further complicates the narrative surrounding the safety of this dish.

In contemplating the risks and benefits of such cultural delicacies, it is essential to consider both the culinary allure and potential dangers associated with traditional practices. The incident prompts a broader conversation about ensuring safety in culinary experiences and highlights the responsibility of both consumers and establishments to strike a balance between cultural authenticity and the well-being of individuals enjoying diverse and unique dishes.