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Soondae: What Is It, Taste, and How To Eat?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Published on:

Korean culture is taking over the globe as their film, music, and cuisine gains popularity. One thing Korean cuisine is known for is its meat dishes.

One of these meat dishes is Soondae, but what exactly is it?

Soondae is a blood sausage dish that originates from Korea. It’s popular in both North and South Korea as a street food. It’s high in carbohydrates with a moderate amount of protein, but its strength is that it doesn’t have much fat. 

Although not the healthiest Korean food, in low amounts, it’s a tasty snack you should try. 

The rest of this article will cover what Soondae is, how to eat it, and a brief conclusion.

What Soondae Is

Soondae (순대 – also romanized as Soondae) is a popular street food in both North and South Korea. It’s blood sausage that’s not necessarily healthy, but it’s filling and cheap. 

It’s made by taking a cow or pig’s intestines. From there, the meat is steamed and stuffed.

If you’re a fan of chewy foods, then you should try Soondae. The sausage taste is very mild on its own. 

However, while Soondae is being prepared, there are numerous spices and seasonings added to it. Sometimes even dried and ground shrimp will be added to enhance the flavor.

The meal is normally boiled in its skin and served either hot or cold. 

The reason why it’s eaten cold is that Soondae often comes precooked, which means eating it raw won’t cause any issues. It’s also added raw to soups and stews.

The dish of Soondae dates back to the Goryeo period, which was 918-1392. Wild boar were a common food source back then, leading to a higher demand for their meat. 

Blood sausage was made using wild boar, and over the years, it’s evolved through different meats.

How To Buy Soondae

When in North or South Korea, it’s easy to find Soondae all over the streets. Go to any street vendor and they’re likely to have it. 

Look for dark meat cut into small cylinders, and there may be sauce on it too. It’s quick and simple to make, so you’ll get it at a cheap price all ready to go.

Although it’s mostly used as a street food, you can also go to a restaurant and find it there. If you’re not in either of Korea’s, that doesn’t mean you can’t find it. 

Go to the nearest Korean restaurant. They’re likely to have it, especially if they specialize in meat dishes.

If you want to make it yourself, that’s no problem. 

You can either make it from scratch using the ingredients like the meat, salt, pepper, and green chili sauce, or you can buy it from your local grocery store. Check the frozen meals aisle to find pre-packaged Soondae you can heat up.

There’s two more options for you if none of the above worked. If you want to make it yourself, call a Korean restaurant and see if they sell their products. 

Many Asian restaurants sell packaged goods since there’s been a rise in demand for them.

Lastly, there’s always shopping online. 

Ordering food online may sound like a strange choice, but if you can’t find Soondae anywhere locally, or you don’t want to make them from scratch, then ordering packages of it online is your best bet.

How To Eat Soondae

Soondae is street food, so you shouldn’t make a whole meal out of it. It’s used more for travel meals, side dishes, or snacks. 

If you’re going to try Soondae, you should have it in smaller quantities so it’ll give you a good protein boost without ever being too much.

Eating Soondae As A Travel Meal

Little cylinders of meat, covered with sauce and seasonings like salt and pepper, is perfect for those looking to eat while on the move. 

Street food is designed to give tourists and locals a nutritious meal to prepare them for the remainder of their day.

No matter how you’re making it, when you’ve finished cooking, put it in an airtight container and put it in a cooler. 

From there, while you’re traveling, it’ll stay cool and good to eat. You can eat it at work, in the park, in the car, or wherever else you plan to go while traveling.

Eating Soondae As A Side Dish

Although it’s not a traditional side dish like kimchi fried rice, Soondae can still complement your main meal. 

In Korean, side dishes have a name: banchan (반찬). If you’re eating a stir fry dish or something that’s more on the healthy side, then Soondae is a good side dish.

Soondae can be very filling. That’s something you should keep in mind while making your main entree. 

If you’re considering having Soondae as a side dish, you shouldn’t include many other side dishes. Normally Korean cuisine calls for multiple side dishes, but not in this case.

It’s not unhealthy to eat Soondae in moderation, but it’s a dish made up of carbs. Carbs will fill you up faster than protein and fats. 

That’s why it’s best not to include multiple side dishes when you’re planning to have Soondae there. Try to make only one or two additional side dishes.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have Soondae as a main dish if that’s what you desire. 

The recommendation would be to have healthy side dishes to balance the Soondae. 

Some recommended side dishes are cooked potatoes, apple slices, and sauerkraut.

Eating Soondae As A Snack

If you’re eating leftovers, or you’re heating up pre-packaged Soondae, then it won’t take long for it to cook. 

It should take up to 10 minutes at most. If you’re making it from scratch, this time will take longer since you have to do a lot more. It’ll take up to 35 minutes.

While studying or pulling a late night at work, Soondae is a quick and filling snack to give you energy. As mentioned previously, Soondae is made of carbs.

Carbs are your body’s main source of energy. That’s why Soondae makes a great snack if you’re staying up late.

When you’re done with the Soondae, be sure to place it in a container and put it in the fridge to preserve it. 

Although it’ll lose some of its taste and be less pleasant to chew, you can combat that by steaming it or putting it in stir fry. Either of those options will bring back the strong taste.

Conclusion

A popular street food in North and South Korea is Soondae, sometimes romanized as Soondae. It’s a type of blood sausage that’s made using a cow or pig’s intestines. 

The intestines are steamed and from there served either hot or cold. You can also eat it raw.

Soondae is a cheap, chewy food that’s a good source of protein and carbohydrates without having too much fat. 

It’s prepared with a plentiful amount of spices and seasonings to make the mild sausage taste more flavorful. Back when it was discovered, it was made using wild boar.

If you’re going to eat Soondae, you should do it either as a travel meal, a side dish, or a snack. 

The reason why is because Soondae is better in small quantities, which makes it healthier for your body. You can still have it as a big meal, but in moderation.

About The Author

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Jason Park

Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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