I remember the first time I was introduced to the concept of Bossam (Korean Steamed/Boiled Pork Belly) years ago, reading Jonathan Gold (back at L.A. Weekly) wax poetic about the Bossam at Kobawoo (which also made his current 101 List). It was pretty tasty stuff, thin slices of Pork Belly that you would wrap and season with additional Banchan, Garlic, Chili, Sauces to your liking.
Then we were introduced to Jokbal at Jang Choong Dong, Korean Stewed Pork Foot (and Leg), from a friend, and it was even better (in terms of taste, enjoyment).
We had some friends who enjoyed Bossam more than Jokbal, and vice versa, and I kept thinking about how neat it’d be if there was a restaurant that could just serve both. And then I saw an Eater LA news blurb about Myung Ga Jokbal, a new Korean restaurant that serves both Bossam and Jokbal, and I knew we had to visit.
It turns out Myung Ga has a simple menu, just 2 main courses and a few side dishes: You can order pure Jokbal (Stewed Pork Foot) or the reason to come here, their Bossam (Steamed Pork Belly) + Jokbal (Stewed Pork Foot) combination. We ordered the latter.
Their complimentary Banchan arrives:
Their Napa Cabbage Kimchi is funky, fermented, wonderfully pickled stuff. Their Cucumber Kimchi was the spiciest of the bunch, but my favorite was their crunchy Radish Kimchi, slightly sweet, spicy, fermented and recommended by our server to add to each wrapping of the meat.
We started things off with some Baekseju:
Lightly sweet, herbal, smooth with notes of Ginseng, it was floral enough to hide the alcohol.
Pork Bone Broth:
As part of the main course, they serve a Pork Bone Broth (with bits of Pork Offal (Pig Ears, Stomach, etc.), I think @theoffalo would love this). It’s only lightly seasoned, and they serve it with Salt and a briny Shrimp Sauce so you can season it yourself (sort of like Sul Lung Tang (Korean Ox Bone Soup)).
And then it arrives…
Bossam (Steamed Pork Belly) + Jokbal (Stewed Pork Foot) + Sundae (Korean Blood Sausage) + Beef Cheeks:
When you come face-to-face with this mountain of meat, you don’t know whether to laugh, or cry, or just dive in and eat (if you were starving yourself all day like we were). To say that the portions here are generous is an understatement.
I started with their Stewed Pork Knuckles:
The Pork Skin is soft (from the long-cooking), gelatinous with bits of soft cartilage, it’s tasty but some of our friends were weirded out by it. I would be, too, if not for an introduction to foods like the “Phoenix Claw” (Stewed Chicken Feet) at Dim Sum restaurants and various Stewed Pork Foot dishes from some adventurous friends years ago. Suffice to say the Stewed Pork Knuckles were wonderful.
They give you a variety of Dipping Sauces and condiments to season each wrapping / bite:
My favorite was the Fermented Shrimp Dipping Sauce, with some of the Pork + Romaine Lettuce Wrap. It’s got the crunch from the crisp Romaine Lettuce, the salt and light brininess from the Fermented Shrimp Sauce, and then the glorious soft, tender Pork!
Steamed Beef Cheeks:
As a bonus to this combination plate, Myung Ga serves Steamed Beef Cheeks. I love a good French Beef Daube preparation, and while this isn’t as luxurious as that, they have a good beefy flavor, and are steamed to a very soft, fork-tender consistency.
Jokbal (Stewed Pork Foot):
There were nice cuts of leaner Stewed Pork Leg, Stewed Pork Skin, and more cuts closer to the Pork Foot. It was lightly seasoned, letting you customize to taste with the various Condiments, Dipping Sauces and Kimchi. Delicious!
Stewed Pig Ears:
We just had some amazing Orejas Carnitas (Pig Ear Carnitas) at Villa Moreliana, so I couldn’t wait to try Myung Ga’s version (I’ve never had a Korean Pig Ears preparation before). Slightly crunchy, soft, tender, fatty, just awesome!
Bossam (Steamed Pork Belly):
And then we get to the Bossam. Taking the first bite of this Steamed Pork Belly (with a bit of the Fermented Shrimp Sauce + Romaine Lettuce), it is hot, luscious, tender, glorious Pork Belly. And it is delicious! (Paging @PorkyBelly!)
Everyone that went with us tonight agreed that this was much better than Kobawoo, mainly for the fact that the Bossam here was served warm (Kobawoo serves theirs at room temperature or cool (for the thin slicing perhaps)). We just enjoyed it more here, having the Bossam served nice and hot. This was SO GOOD!
Sundae (Blood Sausage):
I enjoy a good French Boudin Noir once in a while, although I never got into Great Britain’s Black Pudding. But overall I’m generally not a fan of blood. The Blood Sausage here is very mild, soft, tasting more of the Noodles inside the Sausage than any Blood. And it’s nowhere near as zesty as the last Spanish Morcilla I had. One of my friends loved the Sundae here and devoured most of the pieces.
There were six of us, and we ended up taking 2 full boxes of leftovers. The total bill (including alcohol, tax and tip) was only $23 per person(!).
We had 2 orders for the table, and if we ordered slightly less, we could easily eat comfortably at Myung Ga for about ~$18 per person next time. Total. It’s an absurd bargain for the quality and quantity of food.
Myung Ga was an absolute delight to visit. While I like Kobawoo, Myung Ga’s Steamed Pork Belly is served hot (not room temperature / cool like at Kobawoo), and the ability to have Jokbal (Stewed Pork Foot & Leg), Stewed Pig Ears, Beef Cheeks and Blood Sausage makes this a more enjoyable choice, with fantastic prices to boot.
Myung Ga Jokbal
3063 West 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Tel: (213) 352-1233