I’m glad we have so much variety here in L.A., but at the same time, when you run across a type of delicious food you’ve never had before, you might get sad and wish you had known about this years earlier. Such is the case with our first encounter with a Korean dish known as Jokbal, which turns out to be Korean Stewed Pork Foot. A friend of a friend had mentioned the glory of this dish, and we had to set up a weekend trip to Jang Choong Dong to try this.
There is no sign in English, we had no idea if we were even in the right spot, but our friends popped out from behind the door and guided us in.
This is a no frills, sparsely decorated Korean restaurant with its specialty clearly listed as the first item on the menu. Their complimentary Banchan were fine.
Jokbal (Boiled Pig Feet with Special Sauce) (Small):
What arrived at our table was a huge mountain of Stewed Pork Foot (although, with the large chunks of pure Pork meat, it feels like it’s not only the Pig’s Foot, but also Pork Leg meat as well).
It looked amazing, and the portion for a “Small” was outrageous! We had 4 people and had leftovers.
So I took a couple slices of this lovely looking Stewed Pork and wrapped it in the Romaine Lettuce, added some of the Korean Bean Paste Sauce (they provided 2 types of dipping sauces), and took a bite:
Tender, meaty chunks of Stewed Pork, with hints of Soy Sauce and Garlic, and just the right amount of lean meat and fat. Delicious!
I took another bite, and wondered why I never knew about this restaurant or this dish in so many years in the City of Angels?
All the popular “Best Korean Food” / Top 10 Lists have like 9 Korean BBQ restaurants, and then maybe a Soft Tofu place, or Soban thrown in to the mix, LOL. We like Korean BBQ as much as the next person, but I was sad that I never heard of this place until this evening.
While Bossam is slightly different, Kobawoo gets far more press than this restaurant, and I think I like Jokbal more than Bossam, which is always cold / room temperature thin-sliced Pork Belly, wrapping it with your favorite Kimchi, etc., whereas the Jokbal here was served warm / hot, and it was meatier than Bossam.
Korean Traditional Sausage Plate (Blood Sausage):
I’m usually not a big Blood Sausage fan, but one of our friends loves this stuff, so we ordered Korean Blood Sausage to try it out.
It was really mild and rather grainy, with Rice mixed in with the cooked Blood. The Chive Soup that came with it was a nice, light broth, not too salty, and quite oniony.
For our 2nd visit, I wanted to try their Lunch Special version of Jokbal (at a massive discount during Lunch (only $10.99 vs. $25.99 for Dinner)).
Set Menu for Boiled Pig Feet with Special Sauce (Lunch):
The Lunch portion turned out to be about half the portion of Dinner, but still more than enough for the 2 of us.
But one thing we noticed was that the Stewed Pork Foot was lukewarm, and funkier than our Dinner visit. Perhaps with their lunch staff, they are less prepared / rush out orders, or serve what’s left from the batch from the previous night’s dinner?
It was still pretty tasty, but being lukewarm this time, it was almost like Bossam, the meat a bit firmer (not warmed through and softened enough), the skin and fat were solidified like Head Cheese.
We really enjoy their complimentary Multi-Grain Rice:
Pork Rib Soup with Potatoes in a Hot Pot:
We also tried their Pork Rib Soup, which our friend mentioned was really a “Pork Neck Stew,” like what Ham Ji Park specializes in. Jang Choong’s Pork Rib Soup did turn out to be Pork Neck Stew (it wasn’t Pork Ribs), and it had a pretty good flavor for the broth. However, the actual Pork Neck meat tasted slightly old, and just lacked the really interesting flavors and long-stewing goodness of Ham Ji Park’s version.
So after a couple of visits, we’ll probably stick with Jang Choong Dong’s dinner version of their Jokbal, which was just a better preparation, tastier, and warmer. This is one dish I’m glad to have finally experienced and wish I had known about it sooner. If anyone has other great Jokbal recommendations, please let me know!
Jang Choong Dong
425 S. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Tel: (213) 386-3535