Wednesday, December 26, 2018

[Food] Sundae (순대, Korean sausage)


[Food] Sundae (순대, Korean sausage)

This story continues from [Food]  Uh-mook (어묵, Korean fish cake)  :)

A dish of Sundae (Pig's intestine) with other parts of a pig (Lung, liver etc.)

When I visited my hometown in Suwon, it was winter again. I wrapped up in a long-padded thick black parker coat with a warm, fluffy muffler. As I moved one step forward to the place where Hannah's shop used to be, I felt my heart beating harder and harder than usual.

'Is the shop still there? If it is, is Hannah still there too?'

'How old is....oh, yeah...she was in the same class...haha...what would she look like now?'

I was just trying to visit my old-friend but I felt butterflies in my belly slowly fluttering their wings. Darn, I'm so nervous.

Soon, I arrived at the site wasn't there. Rather there was a big restaurant instead of a small snack bar and shoe-repair shop.

A traditional sundae restaurant in Korea


I felt my heart-string snap suddenly. There was a huge spicy stir-fry sundae restaurant instead of the shop in my childhood memories. I thought :

'It looks like I can't meet her today. Do I need to ask someone around here? or...forget about childhood stuff, and go home and sleep?'

Deep in my thoughts, I strolled back and forth in front of the restaurant.

'Go home? but I don't think I will ever come back here again? When would I visit this city again? In 10 years?'

'Go into the restaurant? Why? Jerry, come on, this is not the snack bar that you used to know. What would you do? Ask someone at the counter, "Do you know where the snack bar that used to be here has gone?" Oh, that is absolutely silly.'

While my thoughts were split in two and in a quarrel, I didn't recognize someone approaching me.

'Oh, my...what should I do?'

I couldn't see who was coming because I had closed my eyes during my inner conflict.

"Hey, are you okay? do you need help?"

A thin, high-pitched young girl's voice tickled my eardrums. I opened my eyes and turned my head towards her.

"No, I'm alright...I'm just....Oh, my...Holy cow...."

The sundae building (A building that is filled with sundae restaurants) in Sinrim, Seoul, Korea

"Mister? What's wrong?"

Young Hannah from my childhood memory was standing there and looking at me with a clean smile that she used to show me. Actually, this girl didn't have twin-tailed hair but short-black hair.


When her name came out of my mouth with a quiver, her eyes widened.

"Hannah? That's my mom's name! Do you know my mom?"

Mom....? MOM...?! Mamma Mia..! Even before the first shock faded away, the second shock of 'Hannah is mom' had struck me again. Yeah, we were around our late 20s/early 30s...what's the big deal about being a mom and dad? But it was shocking to me as I couldn't get out of my 'beautiful' reminiscing of Hannah.

Soon, I pulled myself together and started to talk with a girl who said Hannah was her mom.

"Uhm...Is Hannah your mom? her family name 'Park'? and...uhm..."



"Uhm.....does she have little freckles on her cheeks and slightly long eyebrows?"

"Yes...! Are you a friend of my mom?"

" old-school friend, I am. Uhm...where..."

She cut my words.

"Sir, would you please come in to the restaurant? I'm getting cold by the way."

She was wearing an over-fitted red sweater with jeans and slippers.

"Oh yeah, Sorry. Let's get in quick, I was going to eat at your restaurant anyway. Sorry, my bad. Can I ask your name please?"

"Ginhee Park. You can call me Ginny, how about you?"

"Jerry Kim. Nice to meet you. One question, are you always this kind to everyone?"

She giggled brightly, oh she really looked like her mom.

"I always try to be because my mom taught me to be kind to anyone I meet."

Wow, Hannah. You are a good mom.

I entered into the restaurant with Ginny, and as soon as I stepped into the restaurant, a thick smell of pork with hot steam ran into my nostrils. Ah...yes, this is the smell that I sniffed at Hannah's old snack bar.

Steamed sundae with other parts of pork on a steam cooker.

"Grandpa, grandma, I have brought a customer. He said he is mom's friend."

"Hi, Mr and Mrs Park...long time no see, how have you been? haha..."

I recognized Hannah's parents at first glance though they have more white hairs than they did 20 years ago.

"Jerry! Our frequent customer! Wow, you are such a handsome gentleman now!"

"Have a seat. Sit please. Just say what you want, don't pay today."

"Thanks, thanks. I want one stir-fried sundae please. No, I have to pay, ma'am. It's my first visit to your restaurant."

Their kindness and happy energy overwhelmed me. Little Ginny brought me a cool handkerchief to wash my hands in and a bottle of warm water. I guess 'kindness' runs in this family's veins. Ginny sat in front of me and looked at me with curiosity and an impish smile.

"You came here to meet my mom, right?"

"Yeah...sort of. This is my hometown too, I came here to do some work and was passing by your restaurant."

"And thinking about coming in or not to see my mom who might be here?"

Oh, my God. This little girl saw through me.

"Wha...wha...? How do you....?"

"Because I was watching you going back and forth from the beginning...and you are not the only one who comes to this restaurant to see my mom, hahaha."

Yeah...must be, she must be so beautiful now. A very...very obvious thing even though she is married (highly likely) and the mother of this girl was right in front of me.

Sinrim's famous stir-fried sundae. Spicy and meaty flavor is very attractive.
"She will come in about an hour, I think. She went to Seoul to buy some ingredients at a farmer's market. Can I have a little chat with you before the dish comes out please?"

"Sure, sweetheart. Say what you want."

"How did you get to know my mom?"

"She was in the same class with me when I was 12. You must have heard that your family had been running a business here a long time ago....I was your mom's frequent customer. I think that we were good friends."

I picked up a piece of radish kimchi and started to chew it with a crunchy and crisp sound.

"Hm....good friends....that sounds like you wanted to be more than friends...don't you?"

Cough! Cough!!

Ginny's question got spicy-red radish kimchi caught in my throat.

"Sorry, Mr. Kim! Here's water! Are you alright?"

"I..I'm alright....cough....No, not really Ginny...No....You went way over the top..."

Phew...I guess Hannah's daughter is very much like her mom, even with this maturity of mind. Hannah was more mature than other 12-year-old girls at that time but I think that Ginny had already beaten her mom's.

"Ginny, how old are you now?"


"Good grief. You are better than your mom."

"Pardon? What do you mean?"

"Nothing. I think that you are smarter than your mom at 12-years-old."

"Ahahaha, really?"

Yeah....Like mother, like daughter.

"Mr. Kim, then will you ask my mom to....."

Oh, No. Not now.

"Would you put these dishes to the side please? Sundae has arrived!"

"Thanks, Mr.Park.'s too much, I don't think I can eat this all."

"Eat them up, I know you can eat a lot. Once you ate 20 skewers of uh-mook when you were young, don't you remember?"

"But I don't eat that much now...."

By the grace of God, Mr. Park intervened on the table with an iron plate with a mountain of stir-fried spicy sundae on it and rice noodles.

"Ginny, leave him alone to eat. Would you?"

"Okay, grandpa. Enjoy your meal."

"Thanks, Ginny."

Phew....Thanks, God.

Sundae - Steamed pig's intestine that is filled with a variety of ingredients (sweet-potato noodle, cabbage, clotted blood, spring onion, sticky rice etc.), it differs by tradition according to region. Sundae originally came from China and Mongol and first appeared in Korean history in the 16th century.

A typical sundae restaurant in Korea


Huh? Mom? Hannah?

Ginny just ran through my table and was hugging a woman wearing a long white thick-padded parka. The woman's pale complexion with little freckles, tied-up hair with a hairband and a green cap was the only difference in my memory of her.

"Hey, sweety! Been doing well today?"

"Yes! I have finished all my homework and was helping grandpa and grandma!"

"Yeah? That's great!"

"Mom, guess what? You've got a visitor!"

"No...not today. I'm dying to take a shower and sleep."

"But he said he was your classmate when he was 12-years-old."

"What? where?"

"Over there."

Ginny pointed her index finger to my table, and Hannah's eyes met mine.


I smiled awkwardly like a robot.


She did the same but waved her hand to me.

Abai sundae (Left) & Squid sundae (Right). They are North-Korea's traditional sundae which you can taste at Sokcho, Gangwon province.

Bon appétit!

<To be continued>

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