[Epicurean Challenge] Noodles mixed with pig blood, stuffed into pig intestines
By Im Eun-byel
Sundae is often described as the Korean version of blood sausage.
Though sundae appears similar to a classic blood sausage -- thick, black and glossy on the surface -- there is an obvious difference between the two when they are sliced up.
Upon cutting up sundae into edible pieces, bountiful glass noodles reveal themselves. Steaming with heat, the noodles are moist and full of flavor. They are stuffed into pig intestines to form the shape of a sausage. While the glass noodles are soft, the pig intestines are chewy, creating a clash of mouthfeel.
Traditional sundae must be coagulated in pig blood, meaning that the inside is filled with glass noodles and clotted pig blood. But this version of sundae can only be found at certain sundae-specialty restaurants.
The taste is exceptional, as the blood clots have a “bloody taste.” For those with a weak stomach, a salted shrimp condiment or dried radish salad are prepared on the side, to kill the odor of pig.
Rich in iron, the dish is believed to be helpful for those with anemia.
Sundae comes in numerous variations including those made with vegetables or sticky rice. The dish also differs in form depending on the region, a reflection of local specialties.
In Gangwon Province, ojingeo-sundae -- sundae stuffed inside a whole squid instead of pig intestines -- is a regional signature dish, as many squid are caught along the east coast.
Abaisundae originates from North Korea. The recipe is similar to the average sundae in general, but the slices are bigger. “Abai” means “big and filling” in a dialect from a region in the North.
A simpler version of sundae can be enjoyed as street food, usually accompanied with tteokbokki, stir-fried rice cake. The dish is easy on the wallet, usually priced between 3,000 won ($2.70) and 4,000 won. With a bit of salt and pepper, sundae serves as a tasty snack along with some slices of pig’s heart, lungs and ears.
As pig intestines and blood are too expensive for this type of sundae, most are made with edible artificial casing and just glass noodles.
Caption / Assortment of sundae (Im Eun-byel/The Korea Herald)