For centuries, soondae has held a very special place in Korea’s rich history. Just as the Korean people have changed over the years from wars, invasions, and the decades-long Japanese occupation, so has their food. And the evolution of soondae serves as an illustrative representation of these societal shifts in Korea’s gastronomy.
Soondae was originally a luxury food that was reserved primarily for special occasions, and made with choice meats and vegetables, all stuffed into cow or pig intestines. But as the quality of life in Korea deteriorated during the country’s most enduring years, so did the quality of the ingredients that went into the dish. It was during those challenging years of hardship and famine that the meat and vegetable fillings were replaced with cellophane noodles and offal – whatever internal organs people could find. Soondae became a food to survive on.
In this way, soondae has continued to change, reflecting the nation’s various transformations over the years. And so the next time you bite into that wonderful piece of blood sausage, remember that what you’re eating not only represents the tastes of the Korean populace, but the culmination of Korea’s rich culture and history across centuries.
If this has put you in the mood for some quality soondae, here are some restaurants you can order from on RushOrder:
Eighth Street Soondae
Jang Tuh Bossam
Dan Sung Sa