The Dish: Soondae blood sausage soup
Where to Get It: Seoul Soondae, 4231 Markham Street, Annandale; (703) 642-2220
What It Is: Korean blood sausage is unlike its cousins British blood pudding, Spanish morcilla, and French boudin noir—all of which have a denser, richer texture and taste. Soondae (or sundae) is just as dark, thanks to the blood, but vermicelli noodles and glutinous rice lighten the texture.
What It Tastes Like: By itself, soondae is like a cold kitchen sponge: bland, porous, bouncy, and almost gummy. That is, until you lift a piece from the bowl of sizzling, hearty pork broth chock full of offal, cabbage, and a generous dollop of spicy gochugaru hot bean paste. Then it becomes an explosive vortex of flavor that’s so addictive, it’s hard to resist finishing the entire bowl—except that it’s almost too filling to finish.
The Story: Soondae is a traditional food in Korea, created out of the need to utilize the whole animal and waste nothing. It’s such a popular street food, and a whole micro-neighborhood has sprung up in Seoul called Sundae Town, a cluster of restaurants serving soondae in every way—steamed, fried, in soups, and in stir-fries.
How to Eat It: Enjoy the soup with banchan, a collection of small dishes such as kimchi, spicy tofu, bean sprouts, spinach, and spicy radishes.
Photo by Mary Kong-DeVito