Cycle 4 – Item 363
3 (Fri) January 2014
Ddeokbokki + Sundae
at Ssangdungine (쌍둥이네)
-Apgujeong, Gangnam, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
Sinsa Sijang (신사시장) is a market. Right smack in the middle of the supposedly prestigious Hyundai Apartment complex. Housed in a long ramshackle enclosure, assembled in 1977 when the apartments were going up, as a temporary structure until a proper commercial building could be erected, which was never to be. Rows of independent stalls hawking various food items and sundries, exactly as they did 35 years ago. Curious that the primary shopping center in one of the country’s poshest residential areas, where the taxi stand is lined with black luxury cabs, is so old school.
Ssangdungine is a food stall. Offers various street food classics, including ddeokbokki and sundae.
And while many of the fanciest restaurants in the entire country can be found nearby, this stall quietly serves up some of the best street food that Korea has to offer. I can say this with some confidence, as a long-time resident of Oksu, a neighborhood renowned for street food. Here, the ddeokbokki is so delectably sweet, mildly spicy, with perfectly squishy/chewy/rubbery flour-heavy rice cakes. The sundae is excellent, too.
W, who grew up in the apartment complex, her parents still maintain domicile there, introduced me to the place right after we got married. I still drop by whenever I’m in the neighborhood on In-Law related business. If MIL is preparing dinner, I sometimes sneak out for a pre-meal snack. This time, W and I made a special trip.
Alas, we were less than totally dazzled. The ddeokbokki had just been made, so the sauce hadn’t quite thickened enough, still somewhat watery. Conversely, the liver accompanying the sundae was overcooked, dry and crumbly. We ordered second servings of each, which turned out better, but we were kinda full at that point. Oh well.
Lying out on the counter for some reason, these packets containing the sauce base; in my experience, other places whip up the ingredients in the pan on the spot; but here, apparently, the recipe is prepared elsewhere, presumably in measured amounts to maintain quality; I should’ve swiped a couple.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)