Sunday, March 7, 2010

True Blood: Western Soondae

Every once in a while I get a vampyric blood lust, a taste for blood sausage that can only be sated by a fresh kill. Usually, I satisfy these gothic hunger pangs with the Latin American version of blood sausage, morcilla. La Fonda Anteoqueño does a particularly excellent version. Occasionally, I'll also get one of the Middle Eastern variants. Lately though, I've been hitting up Korean joints for the Korean blood sausage known as soondae.

Western Soondae lies in a strip mall at the corner of Sixth and Western. It's hard not to like a place that bills itself as a "Korean Sweet Rice Blood Wurst-Sausage Restaurant." I mean, talk about getting it all out on the table.

I went in for the small soon dae plate. For ten bucks, you get a large pile of blood sausage, I'm talking six or seven sausages, plus what the menu describes as "assort pork intestin," which actually appeared to be small servings of liver, tongue and a third unidentified offal which may have been heart or even stomach, but in any case had some muscle quality, which means it probably was not intestine.

Soondae tends to be milder than morcilla in terms of spices, and the Western Soondae was very mild, though it had a nice, straightforward blood sausage taste. It was stuffed with cellophane-type noodles instead of rice, and the texture was fairly soft though not mushy.

The tongue and unidentified offal were both very nice, and again, very straightforward, but the liver was far too dry. I like my livers moist.

The specialty at soondae is soondae kuk, which is a blood sausage soup, but I was more in the mood for the big pile of sausages. I also was intrigued by the oyster bosam on the menu; perhaps on a return trip.

Western Soondae makes a good, solid blood sausage and certainly gives you bang for the buck, but I can't say I was blown away by it. In the coming weeks, we'll see how it stacks up to some soondae competitors.

Western Soondae
543 S. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 389-5288

And another location at:
809 S. Ardmore Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 381-1520

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