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I have a confession that i’ve never really been a huge fan of blood sausage. While I think it’s admirable to use every possible part of an animal I’ve just never found it that delectable (I know it’s sacrilegious, but I sort of feel the same way about uni – though it does have a much more distinctive taste). Yu Hyang, a non descript restaurant off Olympic Blvd changed my mind about blood sausage. I keep reading reports that this place is closed, but I think they just open when they want to.

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Yu Hyang is one of those places you can’t really go if you don’t speak Korean; nothing is written in English anywhere. Luckily I always roll deep with a hungry Asian complement. You order from an Ajhumma (middle aged Korean housewife) that was really quick with service and very smiley.

Yu Hyang is a sundae house (also spelled Soon Dae or Soondae), a dish composed of boiling or steaming pigs or cows intestines with a heritage dating back to the 19th Century, but likely much older than that. What I really enjoyed about this sundae (other than the pronunciation reminding me of the ice cream dessert- ShUN-day) was the fact that it contained rice and soybean paste, which I felt gave it a great texture and taste.

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I was really surprised at how fast we ate the entire plate that came to the table. Here was the most traditional way to enjoy sundae – steamed, with generous sides of liver, lungs, stomach, and other organ meats that I can’t recall / identify. The intestinal casing was smooth and richly flavored, with a slight chewy texture.

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The banchan quality here wasn’t the highest, the kimchi was extremely ripe and starting to kick off some serious carbon dioxide, which I normally prefer in kimchi stews.

Sundae is thought of as a luxury when ground meats and vegetables of all sorts were happily shoved inside the intestines of pigs and cows. The tradition continued after becoming known as more of a famine food, and was reborn as a popular street food.

We got a nice cauldron of soondae soup with cabbage leaves which i’m sure had kimchi and chive – it contained organ meats (and what I think was a small shoe) as well but I wasn’t able to identify them.

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Also on the table was Saeujeot, a salted and fermented condiment made of small shrimp commonly found as an ingredient in kimchi and dipping pastes. I learned that the quality, color, and even cleanliness of these tiny shrimp varies highly depending on the season.

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We finished up with some various Jeon, pancake style appetizers or anju (a food to eat while drinking). The Pajeon here made with green onions wasn’t particularly exciting but a good accoutrement to the exciting meat display.

 

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I’m eager to find a place that specializes in Eogyo sundae, or sundae stuffed with the air bladder of a brown croaker (a fish known for a croaking mechanism that involves abdominal muscles beating against the swim bladder). Croaker intestines and parts are also very common in Korean food.

Give Korean blood sausage a try, you also will become a believer.

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