Cycle 3 – Item 227
19 (Sun) August 2012
at Byeongchon Sundae
-Icheon, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with DJ, AHY + KIT, CJH + KKH, HCY + HSE, JD + YI, YYH + LHS
Sundae Guk is a Korean dish. It’s a soup (guk) with Korean blood sausages (sundae). At the better restaurants, the sundae is hand-crafted, ideally on the premises, stuffed primarily with rice and more seasonings and blood (the black stuff), making it denser, mushier, moister, stronger in flavor than the cheap mass-produced mostly-noodle sundae found at food carts on the street. In addition to the sundae, the dish usually comes with bits of other offal, such as liver, lung, heart, etc., as well as head cheese and ear – some places may include testicle, tail, tongue, teeth, eyeball, brain, and bile duct, for all I know. The broth is typically dark and spicy, heavy on the garlic and aromatics that simultaneously complement the pieces of pig and mask their pungent aromas. Sundae guk is regarded as something of a delicacy, enjoyed by many but not everyone, not exactly rare but certainly not found in just any restaurant on the corner.
On the drive home from the cabin, we saw the sign and decided to drop by for dinner. Typical of roadside restaurants, the vibe was totally casual.
The sundae guk was pretty good. Although I’m a huge fan of sundae itself, the soup not so much. Here, the broth was milky white, derived from pork bones. Looking somewhat like seolleong tang, it had a clean flavor without a hint of unpleasant porkiness, as is often the case. Then again, I asked them not to include any of the animal miscellany described above. They didn’t compensate by adding more sundae, so my order came with just 5 pieces of sundae, not enough to stink it up. 6,000 won for the bowl, that’s 1,200 won per piece. At least it wasn’t spicy, which was good for the kids.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)