22 (Mon) February 2010
Sundae & Ddeokbokki (WHAT)
from food cart
-Oksu (Joongang Heights Apts), Seongdong, Seoul, Korea-
Sundae (순대) is a Korean blood sausage. Consists of glass noodles stuffed into pig intestines, with pork blood as a seasoning, steamed. Served with coarse salt on the side. Often accompanied by tidbits of pig, such as liver, lung, heart, and the occasional ear. A staple at the ubiquitous, though regrettably diminishing street food carts scattered throughout the city. Usually sold at 2,000 won per serving, a price that’s been remarkably immune to inflation for at least a decade. A fancier-pricier version includes glutinous rice instead of noodles, sold in specialty restaurants, maybe as much as 15,000 won per plate. Hands down, I prefer the first kind, not only because it’s more readily available but also because it has a cleaner flavor and lighter texture than its spicier, denser high-end cousin.
Ddeokbokki (떡볶기) is a Korean rice cake dish. Consists of cylindrical rice cakes in a thick, sweetly spicy red chili sauce (gochujang). The name of the dish means “rice cake (ddeok) sauté/stirfry (bokki).” Some of the cheaper establishments will use cakes mixed with or wholly consisting of flour, which I actually prefer for the chewier texture. They’re the quintessential Korean street food, representing Seoul the way that hot dogs do for New York
Not a big fan of ddeokbokki per se, but I do prefer sundae with ddeokbokki sauce.
I live near Oksu (subway) Station, where several food carts are clustered near exit 4. Having lived in the neighborhood on and off since 1997, I’ve had ample opportunity to sample them all. The best one by far is the one closest to the exit.