Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sundae on Thursday

I do not wish to start a religious debate, but let me begin by saying that I think Jewish and Muslim people are missing out. Not on the redeeming blood of the Lamb, no, but that's close. I am referring to the flesh and other edible parts of the pig. In fact, in this post, I'll be referring mainly to those "other edible parts", specifically in the Korean context.

I have long been a fan of "sausage"; I don't think I can eat collared greens without a couple big slabs of ham hock in there; there's nothing like Jamaican-style roasted pig's knuckles over rice and beans; chitlins and pork rinds were pretty common in my growing up--'nuff said.

Add to that list a hearty warm-you-up, stick-to-your-ribs stew called sundae guk bap 순대국밥. If you should sometime find yourself at Deungchon station of Line 9, make your way out exit 6 and head south, past the pedestrian overpass ...

(UPDATE: This overpass has been replaced by a zebra crossing.)
... to the Deungchon outdoor market, on your left.

Turn right into the first alley ...

... and look for this storefront on the left:

Gwangju shikdang or Gwangju restaurant, serves its sundae guk in the Gwangju style, which in my opinion translates to 'incredibly delicious'. Actually, Gwangju is a large city in the southwest, home to the KIA Tigers baseball team, reigning Korean champions.

It's not much more on the inside than it is on the outside, but I'm not here for the decor. Heck, half the time the ajumma's grandkids are in one corner playing or doing homework.

First of all, have a look at the panchan: clockwise from the left, kimchi, doenjang (soy bean paste), spicy bean sprouts, pickled turnip, gochujang (hot red pepper paste), fresh onion and jalapeno, and a variety of jeotgal, salty shrimp sauce. You dip the chunks of sundae in this. Mr Lee, Korean food lore resource, tells me that shrimp is very helpful in the digestion of pork.

When the steaming bowl of sundaeguk comes, it is a accompanied by a bowl of rice (which is the bap in the name). The Gwangju style is loaded with black pepper and scallions. It's also loaded with variety meats, in addition to several thick slices of sundae, which is small intestines of a pig stuffed with pig's blood, noodles and bits of vegetable. I have eaten this dish at several other places, and it is always really good, but this one is the best.

Speaking of variety meats, I was recently introduced to dweji meori gogi (돼지 머리고기), which is a kind of luncheon loaf made from pork head meat, also dipped in jeotgal. Only with a supreme display of self-control was I able to stop myself from eating more than two or three pounds. It looks like this:

I found a webpage that describes the process for making meorigogi. It is in Korean, alas, but the pictures make the process clear enough.


SuperDrew said...

That site you linked to that shows the pig head preparation is unbelievable. Man, I love that stuff.

Incidentally, I know you are a stickler for the correct romanization of Korean words, but honestly, 'sundae' doesn't work. I was thinking of hot fudge and banana splits when I started reading.

Tuttle said...

Hmmm. Well, truth to tell, the sausage vs confection discrepancy was something I was aiming for. I even thought of going into the controversy about the whole Blue Law against selling frivolous prodcuts like ice cream on the Sabbath as the source of the ice cream sundae (having lived in Evanston, Ill, one of the claimants to its invention, during college) but decided not to dilute the wonderfulness of pig's brains done right (TM).

Plus it would have added Protestantism to the list of religions missing out.

Max said...

I'm introducing you as Steve, a "fan of (the) sausage," from now on everytime I talk about you to my friends because I'm immature.

Tuttle said...

Dear, dear Max,

I've got yer sausage right here, pal!