Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I’ve never tasted anything like it. Nor smelled anything like it, really.
Except…a barnyard. You know: the hay-meets-animals-meets-stuffy bathroom kind.
I walked by the permanent tent kitchen on the corner all the time, but never realized the earthy manure smell originated from the food. I had always thought it was a broken sewer or something! One night, after hearing some recommendations for gopchang sundae (곱창 순대) , I decided to give the stand a try, but as I sat waiting for my food to be prepared, I realized with a sinking feeling that the smell was THE FOOD!!
I didn’t want to ditch the kind man at the stand, however, and it was a warm summer’s night, so I braved it out as he created my dish from scratch: sundae (the “blood” noodle-stuffed sausage), onion, lots of greens and red spice, and some grey-brown rubbery substance (beef uterus, apparently). He wrapped it up for me and I carried it home skeptically, stopping at a dingy underground mart for a lemon Fanta. Once home, I opened the aluminum foil package to a steaming waft of straight-up barnyard. I grimaced, and gingerly poked my chopsticks at a tantalizing slide of sundae. I liked sundae, in small amounts. But it had never smelled like this before!
“Here goes nothing,” I thought. I pinched my nose shut and dove into a mouthful of sundae and greens.
“Not bad!” I murmured aloud, chewing quickly. As long as I could keep my nose shut while tasting it, it would be quite good. “The variations on gochujang really are the saviors of the world,” I thought.
And that’s exactly what I did. I enjoyed it all, except the uterus. The rubbery texture combined with the pervasive scent simply wouldn’t go down, even with yellow Fanta. But the serving lasted two meals, even without eating the uterus. The Fanta, though, only lasted one. ^_^
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