In the midst of describing his latest international journey – this time to PyeongChang, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Olympics -- Redskins tight end Vernon Davis is interrupted by quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Kevin O’Connell, who spots him by the stairwell in the team facility and welcomes him back to Ashburn.
“I’m pumped!” O’Connell says.
“About what?” Davis replies.
“The curling!” he exclaims. “I watched it for three hours the other night.”
This is now a common expression for Davis to hear (especially this week as the men’s team will compete for the gold medal after beating Canada on Thursday). Since he was named an honorary captain for the U.S. Curling team during the 2010 Winter Olympics, Davis has developed more love for the sport and has helped promote it over the last eight years – manifest most recently in a Cheetos commercial – while getting more teammates, coaches and NFL peers involved.
As part of his trip across the globe, Davis understandably took in as much curling as he could thanks to the World Curling Federation, which hosted and chauffeured him around the city for a week. And when Davis wasn’t spending time cheering them on, he was busy working with Yahoo Sports, hosting a series of videos with athletes and restauranteurs to document his time abroad.
“[South] Korea was pretty amazing, just the culture and the entire environment,” Davis said. “The way they eat, the restaurants they have out there, it was just awesome. Different, but awesome.”
Returning with a wealth of experiences, Davis said he enjoyed the opportunity to play interviewer for a change. He spoke with three members of the Jamaican women’s bobsledding team (“Oh they were cool. They were intense,” he said), met with the U.S. bobsledding team and took in a women’s hockey game as well. But the fun hinged on his dining experiences.
In other words, Davis spent the majority of his week in South Korea on a food tour, tasting a variety – a real variety – of the country’s delicacies and learning more about its culture. The social content that Yahoo Sports and Davis shared relies heavily on a soundtrack of his reactions, some skeptical and some in love. Stops included various town markets, where Davis tried sea worms -- the weirdest thing they made him eat, he said – and barbecue restaurants, which required him to eat while sitting cross-legged.
“We had to sit on the floor to eat our food so that was different,” Davis said. “They just gave you the plate, the utensils were totally clean, it was very legitimate, chopsticks everywhere you go. The other thing that I found fascinating was their fish is like, dry…They don’t really gut it out or anything, it’s just dry. Everything’s just dry and they just hang it there.”
The barbecue was a highlight meal, but Davis also raved about a breakfast item.
“Korean pancakes. Those were phenomenal,” Davis said. “They’re just like bread, like a piece of bread and it’s sweet, not like our pancakes, more like white bread, and they stuff them with like cinnamon, chocolate. Like a crepe, but it’s more flat. Once it’s cooking on the skillet they stuff it with cinnamon or whatever. It’s amazing.”
One video features Davis interviewing a man who has dedicated his life to brewing the perfect cup of coffee. Davis had a translator to help with the questions and answers, but used his phone to help with more casual encounters and taking taxis back to his hotel throughout the rest of the week.
To split up the trip back home, Davis met his girlfriend in Dubai, where they spent several days, before returning home. After all that food, he was ready to get back to the gym.
As of now, there is no confirmation if sea worms will become incorporated into his always-evolving diet. But if you need a hangover cure, Davis has got you covered, too.