If you’ve been in Korea awhile, chances are you’ve been convinced to try a piece of Korea’s blood sausage, known as sundae (순대). Maybe it was a local, or your sundae-loving foreign friend, or simply your own curiosity that led you to dabble in this scrumptious street food. Either way, if you’ve tried sundae and developed a liking, it’s time for you take your sundae game past your local pojangmacha and join a new league of sundae eaters. You can do just that by visiting Sundae Town, a hidden and historical sundae mecca with dozens of sundae restaurants, stowed away in Sillim-dong.
In case you’re new to Korea, sundae, served religiously at street food tents across Korea, is essentially a sausage filled with glass noodles, pigs’ blood, and seasonings, boiled together to perfection. While sundae’s appearance isn’t conducive to a growling stomach, when it’s sliced and dipped in salt it makes a tasty and quick snack that’s loved by locals and foreigners alike.
And while pojangmachas serve up delicious sundae snacks, when you’re willing and ready to sophisticate your sundae palate, Sundae Town is where it’s at for a high-quality, hearty, sundae-centered meal, complete with banchan and an (optional of course!) side of liver. Sundae Town dishes are well rounded and friendly for timid eaters as well.
Sundae Town specializes in a dish known as “sundaebokkeum” (순대볶음), which is sundae stir-fried with rice cake, plentiful vegetables, noodles, sesame oil, and perilla seeds. For patrons who prefer a kick to their cuisine, you can request the dish to be cooked in a spicy gochujang sauce. The stir fry is niftily served with sesame leaves, generating a delicate balance between the oily sundae and the fresh vegetables. To wash the sundae down, you’re served free soft drinks! Unfortunately, soju and beer are not complimentary, but sold at an affordable price nonetheless.
Once scattered through alleyways, Sundae Town is now housed in two unassuming buildings, both welcoming the idea of a remodel. While the buildings are old and the stairwells are far from photo-worthy, don’t let this discourage you, keep trekking! The sundae dishes served here are superb and arguably some of the best in Seoul.
Sundae Town exudes a sense of community, with the snug eateries separated only by low partitions, business owners working briskly side-by-side. Many business owners have occupied Sundae Town for over thirty years, with their restaurant stalls emitting a cozy vibe, like that of a grandmother’s house. Inhabiting four floors in the first building and two floors in the second, Sundae Town offers many restaurant stalls to pick from. Once you choose a floor to enter, be prepared for some haggling. With the abundance of similar restaurants, you will have many vendors eager for your business, especially if you visit during a lull.
Whether you’ve been in Korea awhile or you arrived yesterday, it’s time to dig into some sundae. Why not eat as the locals do? To visit Sundae Town, head on over to Sillim Station and take exit 3, you’ll find the building a short walk from the station.