There Will Be Blood Sausage. Soondae — Korean Blood Sausage. Koreatown, Los Angeles.
Soondae Bloody Soondae.
There’s a new gold rush on in Southern California. But, what shimmers in the eyes of these 21st century prospectors is not gold or oil. It’s blood — pig’s blood. Splattered all along the Western Avenue corridor and coursing through the main artery of Koreatown are several Korean pig blood sausage specialty restaurants or soondae houses. Each and everyone one of these pig plasma parlors are here to cash in on the blood lust. And there’s a lot of it in Koreatown. Soondae restaurants are very busy. Monday through Sunday, it’s always a good time for soondae.
Soondae, for the most part, is like a standard blood sausage — pork blood and filler are stuffed silly into a sausage casing. But, instead of bread, meat or oatmeal, a thick cord of skinny glass noodle (and possibly a little bit of barley) is worked into the casing. Flavor enhancers like garlic, green onions and undisclosed seasonings are mixed with the somewhat neutral flavored pork blood.
Playing escort to soondae are a coarse chili sea salt and a stinky but sensational fermented micro-shrimp dipping sauce. These condiments really breathe life into the delicate taste of pork blood. The spicy salt brings out the soondae’s sweetness. The stinky shrimp sauce is actually intended more for the pork offals, usually intestines and liver, which come with the soondae plate. But, the shrimp sauce gets soaked up nicely by the noodles in the sausage, so it’s ideal for dunking soondae even though it’s not meant for it.
Soondae guk is the soup variation of the blood sausage dish. Basically, it’s the soondae platter dumped into a mild pork broth. Steamed white rice can also be added into the broth for an even heartier meal. However, the soondae itself is significantly boosted in taste because of the broth. The glass noodle drinks up the soup until bloated — like Daniel Day-Lewis savagely slurping an imaginary milkshake — and holds it in for a flavorful burst when eaten. Soondae’s multi-layered texture is an appealing aspect as well: the snappy firmness of the casing gives way to the slippery noodles and the mealy pig blood. You feel me?
I sampled two of the soondae houses in the K-town soondae district. One is a street food stall called Cham Cham Cham, located in the Koreatown Galleria food court. The other is Western Soondae in a strip mall about a block or two from the Galleria. The only difference in the two that I noticed was Western Soondae’s tossing in of some bonus pig tongue with its soondae soup.
About a dozen soondae houses sit along and around this area of Koreatown. With names like Han Kook Soondae, Seoul Soondae and Western Soondae, these restaurants aren’t hard to locate. So if you’re lusting for some blood, it won’t take much effort to get some. And if you find yourself accidentally wandering into one of these places, you can be sure...THERE WILL BE BLOOD...um, on the menu. Yeah, I said it.
CHAM CHAM CHAM
(Koreatown Galleria Mall)
3250 W. Olympic Blvd. #314
Los Angeles, CA 90006
543 S. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90020
And now for Academy consideration, Deep End Dining proudly presents There Will Be Blood Sausage the motion picture.
There Will Be Blood Sausage from eric alba on Vimeo.