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Dr. Fish June 22, 2009

Posted by jorkat in Seoul.

Have you ever been in line at the coffee shop and looked down at your feet in disgust because of how dirty they were?

If yes, then how disappointed were you when you realized that there wasn’t any kind of podiatric services offered at that coffee shop?

Have you ever been late for a pedicure and/or foot massage and couldn’t stop for coffee on the way?

What if I told you that there was a place in Seoul where you could order a cafe latte, and then have all the dirt and dead skin removed from your feet for a nominal charge?


Now, how would you react if I told you that the method of removing this dirt/dead skin involved dipping your feet into a shallow tank of water with hundreds of small fish? And that these fish would make your feet cleaner and smoother then they have ever been by eating the dead skin right off your feet. Still interested?

This isn’t a joke. It’s called Dr. Fish and it has easily cracked the top 5 for most bizarre, yet oddly satisfying things we’ve encountered here thus far.

We had heard about it from a variety of sources but didn’t have the courage to go until our friends Meghan and Daryl (the couple that was staying with us a couple weeks ago) decided to visit one last time before heading back to Canada.  They insisted that we join them. Needless to say, we weren’t disappointed and will definitely be going back.

When you first walk into the place, you wouldn’t even know that it was anything but a coffee shop. In fact, most of the young patrons were there only for the coffee and to socialize with friends. After ordering a slightly overpriced latte by Korean standards (approx. $5), we paid the additional 2,000 KRW (approx. $2) for Dr. Fish’s services. I still don’t know where the name comes from, or if an actual Dr. Fish exists, but we were informed by one of our Korean colleagues that the fish aren’t actually Doctors. Thanks.

After enjoying our respective beverages for a few minutes we were summoned to a slightly elevated area overlooking the entire coffee shop, right next to the large main window outside. This is where the nerves kick in a little once you take your first peak inside the tanks. The fish are smaller than we expected, but there were lots of them. And they looked hungry.



If you’re feet are overly sensitive and easily tickled, then this activity probably isn’t for you. Once you get over the initial sensation and get past that fact that hundreds of small fish are gnawing at your legs, it can actually become somewhat relaxing. I couldn’t even look down at first and just kept telling myself that I was being tickled, after a few minutes I was fine and started taking more pictures and recording some video. Enjoy.

I was on the phone with my Uncle this morning and he asked me if I’d come across any million dollar ideas that I could bring back to Canada. Dr. Fish didn’t immediately come to mind but now that I think about it, maybe I should put together a business plan and get in touch with Tim Horton’s/Second Cup/Starbucks, if only just to see their reaction once they read my proposal. They’ll probably throw me out of their office, but my feet were cleaner and smoother than they ever have or ever will be again. That is until we head back again after accumulating enough dirt and dead skin to feed the medical professionals at Dr. Fish.



1. FLAPs - June 22, 2009

I just threw up in my latte. Thanks. You should have put your face in and got them to eat off the ugly instead (referring to Jordan obviously).

2. Dyson - June 22, 2009


3. Kasia Fink - June 23, 2009

I heard it’s already been banned in certain states, for health reasons. Darned Texans, always ruining it for the rest of us.

4. Sean - June 24, 2009

Amazing post! I recently saw it on one of those wacky news show segments talking about crazy stuff around the world. Mr. Breech (Pat’s Dad) was by far the most enthused person I ever took there – he was giggling like a schoolboy.

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