Tremulous Transliterations: Why You Don’t Get Dessert in Koreatown

Daegu - Sundae Sausage

I was taking a leisurely stroll through Daegu, an inland city in the southern part of the Korean peninsula, when I came across this good reason for not knowing English.  For those who were raised on sundaes, the kind with ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and eventually, aggravation for those seated next to you on a plane, you might be a bit miffed.  Where on that sign is a sundae, and how exactly does (either) Korea, not known for its dairy industry, plan on offering a handmade concoction?  Better yet, why is the word sundae listed above a kimchi and uni burrito and to the left of a few poker chips?

Some research lets us conclude that 순대 is a type of blood sausage, with a couple of key differences (enhancements?).  The casing is made of pig intestines, while the filling often contains pig blood, barley and cellophane noodles, that latter ingredient having a texture akin to jelly.  To relate a bit more, imagine that storied Italian-American dish of spaghetti and meatballs, but this time, stuff the pasta into the meatball.  I think.  Better yet, next time you’re eating an English muffin, spread some gelatinous sundae all over it.  The second difference is that 순대 are usually served sliced.  Armed with this knowledge, now you can guess which of the two meals in the photo applies…

Now you know, the next night you’re out with your friends, specify what you want to eat.  If there’s a Coldstone Creamery at the intersection of Eighth and Western, but one of you is lactose-intolerant, I’m going to guess that neither sundae is on the menu for evening.

Before I forget, I didn’t write this post on my Collateral Lettuce, my food blog, because I haven’t tried it yet.  I’ve tried morcilla, the Spanish version, but oh ho it didn’t have noodles as part of the deal.


Have you tried blood sausage before?  How about translating menus?

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5 Responses to Tremulous Transliterations: Why You Don’t Get Dessert in Koreatown

  1. jq says:

    Hm, how exactly is this a good reason for not knowing English? I don’t think any Korean would have the wrong idea…

    Maybe they should transliterate it as soondae, which would be closer to the correct sounds for the average English speaker. According to wikipedia, the ice cream sundae is 선디 which would be spelled seondi / sundi

    • If you knew what sundae was in English, and then found out what it was in Korean, you might be sorely disappointed. That’s why I (in my frequently tongue-in-cheek tone) said not knowing English might’ve been a +.

  2. olpha says:

    Soondae is usually served with a little dish of salt for the dipping. Tall shot glasses of soju usually accompany. Unsliced, it is a sweaty tube, curled on the pojangmacha spread like an intestine. It is sometimes set aside the full head of a pig, mouth agape. The ajuma will sometimes take scissors to this pig’s face, garnishing slices of cold ear, snout, tongue, cheek, or lip, to compliment your log of blood sausage. In flavor it is dry and sticky – the kind of thing that lumps up uncomfortably if you are enjoying it too quickly.

  3. hiwyhi says:

    In Finland, more precisely my hometown Tampere, we are known for our “black sausage”, which basically is blood sausage. I haven’t eaten it since elementary school, where it was a common lunch meal, eaten with lingonberry jam. You can find “mustamakkara” in the markets as well as in the old market hall, where people slather their black sausages with blood plasma-like jam and wash it off with milk – drank straight from the carton. Even if I wasn’t a vegetarian, I still wouldn’t eat it nowadays!


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