Time flies – today is the second anniversary of this Korean Culture Blog! I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the readers of my blog, in particular, my blog followers, for the support. Like what I did on the first anniversary (as mentioned in my post on this blog’s first anniversary), I went to the Korean restaurant, School Food (스쿨푸드), at Taikooshing in Hong Kong to celebrate this second anniversary, but this time I tried different food – a modified version of jokbal (족발), the Korean-style pig’s trotters (as shown in the photo above).
Jokbal is one of the well-known Korean food. The jokbal is braised in broth made from soy sauce, garlic, ginger and rice wine which gives jokbal a unique delicious taste. In the jokbal restaurants in South Korea, customers may order jokbal in small, medium or large size. From my experience, even the small size is enough for 2 to 3 people, so jokbal is a dish for sharing among people. Before serving, the jokbal is chopped in slices and piled up in the plate. The meat is very tender, the skin is chewy, and jokbal contains gelatin which is good for the skin. Usually, the Koreans eat jokbal by wrapping a slice (together with spicy fermented shrimp sauce (or a paste which is a mixture of the red chili pepper paste and the fermented soybean paste), raw garlic and pepper) in lettuce or other vegetables – this can help reduce the greasiness of jokbal. So, in Korean restaurants, the jokbal is served with a basket of lettuce or other vegetables which can be refilled. If you do not take spicy food like me, you may just wrap the jokbal in the vegetables and eat – I find it still very tasty. To the Koreans, jokbal is also a popular food to eat when drinking alcohol.
The jokbal I ate at School Food is a modified version – instead of providing the customer with a basket of vegetables for him/her to wrap the jokbal, the restaurant serves the jokbal with a vegetable salad. The effect (i.e., reducing greasiness) is similar but the taste is a bit different – perhaps this may be due to the salad dressing. On the other hand, the spicy paste was already put on the jokbal, so even though I “scraped “most of the paste off the jokbal and ate the jokbal with the vegetable salad, it was still too spicy for me. I prefer the jokbal I ate at the jokbal restaurants in South Korea.
When you are in South Korea, don’t forget to try the jokbal – you can go to the Jangchung-dong (장충동) 1(il)-ga street (which is also known as Jokbal Street) where you can find many good jokbal restaurants. It is near exit 3 of the Dongguk University subway station so is conveniently located. Happy eating! 🙂
Reminder: The date of publication of the next post will be announced on the “Latest News” page of this website when it’s available. Or you can follow my blog by clicking the “Follow” button on the sidebar to receive email notifications of new posts. For flash news on Korean culture, you can also follow me on Twitter (Kalbi8888).
Alex Jung, “5 Korean ways to eat a pig“, CNN Travel, 2011-11-11
“Jangchung-dong Jokbal Street“, Korea Tourism Organization