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By Way of Korea

South Korea   |   New York

A Korean food blog and travelogue inspired by

an epicurious New Yorker's journey around South Korea

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Joomuk Gogi & Kkupddaegi - "Fist"-Sized Pork Parts & Pork Skin (Seongnam-dong, Gangneung)

Updated: Jun 29, 2019


All but one small, round table were occupied upon arrival, so our ravenous group of seven squeezed around the vacancy. Wasting no time, we ordered five servings of each of the only two items on the menu - "joomuk" gogi (assortment of pork parts cut into "fist"-sized hunks) and kkup-ddae-gi (pork skin).


Arriving first was the joomuk gogi, which after a slight sear, was cut up into bite-sized pieces and tossed in a sweet, soy sauce and black pepper marinade in a bowl before being thrown back on the grill.

As the meat sizzled, gang-dwenjang (강된장) ㅡ a dwenjang stew reduced to have a higher concentration of fermented soybean paste ㅡ was served in a small, black pot. It is thicker and/or saltier than stew and, thus, enjoyed more as a dipping sauce or mix-in than as a soup. We were instructed to mix it into our white rice (like a sauce), which as a result helped us clear our bowls of rice as fast as we cleared the grill of joomuk gogi.

The gang-dwenjang made it impossible for us to not fill our stomachs with rice, but the pig skin, which we were most excited about, arrived shortly on our grill.

Drenched in a sweet, soy sauce marinade, the skin crackled under a mound of chives, which also began to wither in the heat. When the strips had curled in the heat, and turned dark brown from soaking in the marinade, they were ready to be eaten. Seven pairs of chopsticks went in a frenzy and the skin and chives were gone before the next table freed up.



Jeopalgye Kotgumeong

Address: 12, Gotgamjeon-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do

Hours: 5PM~10:30PM daily


저팔계 콧구멍

주소: 강원도 강릉시 곶감전길 12

영업시간: 1700~22:30

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"If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel - as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them - wherever you go."

Anthony Bourdain's unmatched relish for adventure and humble approach to food, cultures, and humanity left an indelible impression on my younger self. Imparting on me the courage to veer into the unknown, he inspired me to embrace my vulnerabilities and seek adventures and growth beyond the comforts of home.

 

In July of 2017, I boarded a one-way flight to Seoul, South Korea. Within the first week of arrival, I signed a lease for an apartment and by the end of August, I had accepted a job offer that relocated me to Pyeongchang and Gangneung, where the Winter Olympics were soon to be held. From there, I had the rare opportunity to explore much of the greater Gangwon Province's beautiful mountainous and coastal regions and their distinctive foods. Once or twice a month, I'd return to Seoul or travel to an unfamiliar region to poke around alleyways, markets, and mountains in search of more good eats and adventures.

 

By Way of Korea is a storytelling project inspired by the food, places, and faces I encountered throughout Korea. By sharing my fondest memories, notes, and images of Korea, I simply hope to play a small part in piquing greater curiosity about Korean food and culture in my readers.  My content will heavily spotlight, but not be limited to Korean food and culture. 

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