Emma’s Food Diary #3: 족발 고집 | Jokbal Gojib 🐷

food, hiking, Travel

After the hike up Geumjeongsan and the visit to Seokbul temple thereafter, my friends and I found ourselves deserving of one hell of a meal. Luckily, being in Korea surrounded by the finest Korean cuisine, we were able to divulge ourselves and devoured a traditional dish called 족발 (jokbal).

Jokbal is literally braised pig trotters; they are boiled in a soy-sauce based braising liquid, normally infused with onion, garlic, ginger and green onions along with some dried chilli peppers, until the meat is just about to fall off the bone. They are then deboned and sliced in to individual pieces, each made up of three distinct layers; the collagen-filled, shiny dark skin (colour created by the soy-sauce liquid and shine provided by rice syrup), the white fat and the actual meat itself, ready to eat with lettuce or perilla leaves, 쌈장 (ssamjang – fermented soybean paste), sliced garlic and green chilli peppers and 새우젓 (saeu-jeot – tiny shrimp that have been salted and fermented, a normal accompaniment for pork in Korea).

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The meat along with its many accompaniments: the leaves, the garlic and chilli peppers, the 쌈장 and the 새우것

Many jokbal restaurants add their own twist, through different spices (star anise, cinnamon, cloves and black peppercorns) or other ingredients, to the classic recipe believed to have been created by a North Korean refugee called Lee Kyeong-sun who ran a small restaurant in Seoul during the 1960’s. For sure, dishes using pig trotters have been a staple of Korean cuisine for years and years, however this particular recipe was borne out of a need to survive as the cut of meat itself was extremely cheap and Lee Kyeong-sun flogged the dish at a reasonable price. Therefore, undeniably, the dish became exceedingly popular with demand for it to this day; indeed many people crave the gelatinous goodness of jokbal and order it to their doors as late as 2:00am.

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The OG jokbal dish with two of its three layers on show; you can see the shiny, gelatinous skin here as well as the white fat below

Furthermore, jokbal is a prime example of a Korean 안주 (anju), a term for food that is best consumed with alcohol. Indeed, as well as 삼겹살 (samgyeopsal – barbecued pork), Koreans love to eat their jokbal with soju, beer or 소맥 (somaek – a mixture of beer and soju together). The list of anju does not end here; Koreans tend to eat their fried chicken with beer and there is a long standing tradition of eating 파전 (pajeon – green onion pancake) with 막걸리 (makgeolli – Korean rice wine) on rainy days.

I first tried jokbal in September of last year; after filming ‘Perspective’, my friends and I converged at 족발고집 (Jokbal Gojib – Papago translates this as ‘sticking pig’s feet’ which I’m sure isn’t 100% accurate but let’s go with it) to both discuss our next film making venture and provide us with the opportunity of trying one of Korea’s more famous dishes. 족발고집 is located close to exit 2 of Myeongjang station, on line 4 and is owned and ran by a friend of a friend. As previously stated a lot of jokbal restaurants like to add their own twist to the classic recipe and the owner/chef at 족발고집 likes to add soju to his braising liquid; apparently it not only helps rid the meat of impurities and odour but also adds more overall flavour. I must admit I was rather hesitant to try the meat initially given the foot element but once I saw the dish in front of my eyes, and tried my first helping of tender meat, I was hooked.

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The location of 족발고집 from Myeongjang station – the restaurant is the red smiley face and really is a short walk away from exit 2!

Therefore, after traipsing all around Geumjeongsan and building up quite an appetite, I suggested a trip to 족발고집, merely a short bus ride away from our ending point at Mandeok station. We arrived and straight up ordered a large portion of both the spicy and non-spicy versions as well as two portions of 주먹밥 (jumeokbab – rice balls). The rice balls arrive in a large bowl, a mixture of sticky rice as well as a variety of vegetables, normally chopped carrot, green onion and 단무지 (danmuji – pickled radish) with a topping of dried, shredded seaweed, sesame seeds and just a drop of sesame oil. A plastic glove is also provided for you to dig straight in and mix it all together before forming and squeezing your very own rice balls.

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주먹밥 (rice balls) before their formation!

A whole host of other side dishes are also provided at no extra charge; there is a steaming bowl of 어묵국 (eomukgug – fish cake soup, a stone pot brimming with 계란찜 (gyeranjjim – steamed eggs), a platter of 쌈무 (ssammu – thinly sliced, pickled daikon radish; different from the aforementioned danmuji which is yellow in colour), 무말랭이무침 (mumalleangi-muchim – seasoned dried radish strips), a double sided plate with ssamjang on one side and saeu-jeot on the other, as well as each person having a shallow dish filled with soy sauce, chopped onions and a little blob of wasabi on the side, free for you to mix in to the sauce or leave as is.

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Us lot with our two jokbal variations! You can see the shallow bowls of soy sauce and onions in front of each person

I absolutely love everything on offer at 족발고집. I personally love eating the non-spicy version of jokbal as 쌈 (ssam), taking either a perilla or lettuce leaf, placing a piece of meat on it with a slice of garlic, some ssamjang or saeu-jeot on top (one or the other as both have a distinct flavour and are pretty salty) before wrapping it up and putting the entire thing in my mouth. The combined flavours are an absolute umami winner and the meat melts in your mouth so perfectly complimented by the crunch of garlic and leaf.

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An example of a 쌈; here we have a piece of meat atop a lettuce leaf with garlic, chilli pepper, onion and 무말랭이무침 (the dried seasoned radish strips)

For the spicy version, I like to wrap a piece in a thin slice of ssammu, for the sourness of the pickled radish hinders the spiciness just a little, allowing my taste buds the opportunity to relish the flavour a little more than they would if I just dove straight in. I must add here that the spicy sauce is normally made with some of the braising liquid mixed with both 고춧가루 (gochugaru – dried chilli pepper flakes) and extra hot dried chilli pepper flakes. It does give a spicy punch but is nonetheless delicious when mixed with the meat, chopped cabbage, sliced carrot and topped with sesame seeds.

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The spicy jokbal that packs a punch!

The rice balls too and the variety of side dishes are all superbly tasty! 족발고집 is a real treat of a restaurant, a personal favourite place of mine to go and fulfill any burning jokbal desires. In addition, I find my skin also benefitting from my love of braised pig trotters, for I like to believe the collagen gives me a more youthful and plump complexion. Ultimately I strongly urge any and all visitors to Korea make trying jokbal, as well as other staple dishes such as samgyeopsal, 비빔밥 (bibimbap – mixed rice) and 떡볶이 (ddeokbokki – stir fried rice cakes) a number one priority. Furthermore, if you find yourself in Busan, keep 족발고집 in mind and head that way for a taste of Korean heaven!

Emma’s Food Diary #1: 🍔👑

food, Travel

Number one fact about me: I am a foodie. I know, I know, the term ‘foodie’ seems to be thrown around a lot these days but honestly I love food. It gives me life, it shows me happiness, it fulfils my existence in a way I never dreamt possible.

Okay… slightly over the top. But the premise is true. I love food.

And there is nothing I love more than a good, old burger, stacked up high with a side of lovely, golden, crispy chips. On a recent ten day trip back to the UK, I made it my mission to grab as many of my old time faves as possible. Needless to say but I succeeded, and then some… this burger queen devoured SEVEN BURGERS in TEN DAYS! Now I doubt I’ve broken a world record but I am super impressed with my statistic there.

Time for a breakdown of the old classics and a couple of newbies for good measure:

CLASSICS:

FIVE GUYS:

Absolutely destroyed two of these bad boys during my stay as a cheeky five guys is without a doubt my favourite ever burger. I always order the bacon cheeseburger with lettuce, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, gherkins, barbecue sauce and mayo. It is the most glorious combination! The savoury flavour of the patties and bacon combined with the sweet grilled onion and barbecue sauce. Wooooo! I love it 😍

The five guys style chips are an obvious winner too; their salty goodness indulge me so much that I’ve never needed to look the other way and venture to try the Cajun style. Perhaps one day in the future I may divert but for now I’m perfectly happy to cherish salty potato heaven.

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With my one true love!

ALMOST FAMOUS:

Also smashed two beasty burgers from here during my home adventure…

First up: the Awesome HQ at the NQ branch. Let me give you all the deets… double cheeseburger, buttermilk fried chicken, halloumi cheese, coleslaw, peri peri bbq sauce and bacon bacon mayo. Phewwww! Rather a mish mash of ingredients there.

I enjoyed the different challenge the Awesome HQ presented, but as the name implies, two burgers have been combined to make one, meeting together at a plated headquarters, sandwiched between two sides of a bun. I think I would have preferred them separate and perhaps as they should be; a cheeky double cheeseburger with bacon bacon mayo and a fried chicken sandwich with the halloumi, slaw and peri peri bbq sauce.

Next up: the Guy Ritchie at the Great Northern branch. ZERO COMPLAINTS HERE!

The deets again… double cheeseburgecheddar, wonder buttered peppered steak, shoestring onions, pickles, smoky bacon ketchup and chipotle mayo. Gahhhhhh what a combo! Fair few similarities to my regular five guys order so was undoubtedly going to loooove it but that damn peppered steak… ooooft. Took the burger to a whole new level! Took me to a whole new dimension! Loved it!! Will definitely be my Almost Famous go to from now on.

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Almost Famous’s Guy Ritchie!

THYME OUT:

I was introduced to this lovely little place by my mother. She’s a regular and absolutely loves their food and so I joined her on the odd occasion the year before I left for Korea and loved the food too. So a visit there only seemed necessary…

Their menu has changed somewhat since I left. There used to be a burg I’d always go for called the Big Manc, a play on the Maccies Big Mac, but yet so much better! The dearly departed had been replaced with Return of the Manc; another punny name inspired by the absolute 90’s banger by Mark Morrison.

The burger is fairly standard; two cheesy patties, nice thick strips of bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and ketchup in a sweet and shiny brioche bun. Not uniquely show stopping but certainly a damn good burger that checks all the boxes you want checking when needing meaty carby goodness.

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Thyme Out’s Return of the Manc!

NEWBIES:

THE IVY:

A new experience here, no prior knowledge nor expectations but sadly my burger (with a totes original name – ‘The Ivy hamburger’) came with a side of disappointment for it arrived ‘deconstructed’. I’ll never understand this phenomenon… just give me my food completed, constructed, ready to be eaten. The meat and cheese were in the bun but the lettuce, tomato and gherkins were off to the side stabbed together with a large toothpick and in my tired, confused state I didn’t realise it was up to the eater to add the salad they desired so I just ate those before tucking in to the patties.

Sore mistake as the burger was slightly too dry without the salad no matter how much mayo and ketchup I slathered over the bun.

Still the evening wasn’t a complete disappointment… I had some cracking zucchini fries as an entrée along with some super smooth pâté on toast as a starter.

Not to mention being reunited with my family in the flesh for the first time in almost eleven months. That was also rather nice 😜

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The Ivy hamburger!

PECK & YARD:

Last but not least… a finger lickin’ experience in Chorlton. Normally not the one to just go for a chicken burger; I always prefer either a bargain bucket or popcorn chicken on the rare occasion I hit a KFC but this burger spoke to me for a very specific reason.

The burger had all of the expected parts essential to a cracker of a chicken burger however it excelled all others due to it’s Korean elements; a cheeky ‘kimslaw’ (a kimchi coleslaw hybrid) and a ‘hot K-pop mayo’ (literally just mayo mixed with what I assume to be red pepper flakes or 고추가루 to Koreans).

There is no denying Korean fried chicken is currently a worldly favourite; the abundance of crunchiness yet lack of greasiness means you’re on to something special and it has never failed to disappoint me yet. So when I stumbled upon Peck & Yard’s Pow-Pow Stack, with its Korean influences, I had to give it a whirl.

It didn’t disappoint; the chicken was tender on the in, crispy on the out and the slaw and mayo gave the sandwich a lil punch and kick to elevate it on the spice scale.

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Peck & Yard’s Pow-Pow Stack!

AND THERE WE HAVE IT…

Wooooo!! Relieving the memory of those seven beasty boys in eleven days is enough to give me thrills with a side of meat sweats! A lot of people have questioned if that has been enough to finally put me off a cheeky burg and the answer, thankfully, is no. I don’t think anything could ever put me off… I’ve been back in Busan not fourteen days and I’ve already tried and tasted two different, local burger spots! #burgerqueenforlife 🍔👑

Leave a comment if you know of any other meaty treats I MUST try whenever I am next back in Manchester or the UK! Indeed, leave a comment if you know of any beauties in Busan or Korea!! Or just leave a comment if you think I’m bonkers and hopelessly in love with burgers 😅