Blood sausage may sound macabre to some, but I couldn’t stop pining over it after I heard about the Korean version called soondae. I realize this may shock some people who are used to seeing veggie friendly food on the site, so if you get woozy at the mention of blood, it’s best to click away.
Soondae is not your dressed up forcemeat artfully disguised by some garnish, some sauce, or even a fluffy mashed potato or two. The menu item that I pointed at was a dish consisting of a monstrous pile of sliced blood sausage, a few bites of pig ear, some slices of what I’m guessing was tongue, and a few slices of some liver-type meat.
The taste of blood in food is a hard one to describe to someone who hasn’t had it. It’s a mild, muddy taste and has a strange richness that sticks to your teeth. This may not be selling the delicacy to the squeamish, but it’s really not that bad. Soondae, the blood sausage, is actually a mixture of blood and clear noodles stuffed into a wonderful casing full of snap. The slices of sauasge themselves were pretty mild, but I think you’re supposed to gussy them up with the provided condiments: sea salt sprinkled with Korean chili pepper, or an extremely salty and tangy fermented shrimp paste.
The other slices of offal were similarly bland, but still had their own distinctive characteristics. The pig ear was rich and floppy. The liver had that iron-rich flavor. The tongue was probably the least offensive bite of meat, as long as the biter wasn’t squeamish about something else’s tongue being on theirs.
Included with my order was the usual array of panchan and a bowl of soup. The soup was quite good and when I looked around, I realized it was what most people were ordering, but maybe a more filling version. The soup had a deep, meaty flavor and its texture was exquisitely rich and a bit milky, like a tonkatsu broth, only not as salty.
Considering I ordered the ‘small’ version of the offal sampler plate (I’m assuming that’s what it was) and it was enough for three meals, I’ll probably either enlist the help of friends the next time I visit 8th Street Soondae, or order the big bowl of soup and stuff that everyone else who was dining alone seemed to have.
Eighth Street Soondae
2703 West 8th Street Los Angeles