28 April 2009

Pork belly

...is probably the most popular non-fish meat in Korea. The favourite by far is barbecued pork belly. I can remember my grandfather eating this sometimes for breakfast or lunch. Big thick strips of unsalted, uncured bacon pan fried with salt and pepper.

I bought a kilo of precut frozen pork belly for 13500 won (currently about CDN$11) at the local HomePlus (a Korean subsidiary of Tesco, the Euro grocery giant). I eat this stuff a fair bit and although bulgogi (literally "fire meat") is more commonly known outside of Korea, this seems more popular here. It's simply tossed on a little griddle over a gas flame or on a metal grill over charcoal, cooked until it's done and then wrapped in lettuce or perilla leaves brushed with ssamjang ("ssam" is the Korean word used for vegetables used for wrapping, "jang" means sauce), a chunky soy bean paste mixed with a little chili and other seasonings (yum!)

If you go out for samgyeopsal ("three line pork" == pork belly) you typically pay about $20 for two people and you get a meal that includes the pork, veggies, sauces and an assortment of banchan (small side dishes.) It's a good deal and for a few bucks extra you can have bowls of rice and a bowl of doenjangjiggae (bean paste stew.)

At right is a shot of a meal of dwejigalbi (pork ribs) and samgyeopsal that my buddy Keith and I had a while back. You can see the assortment of stuff that you get with the meal. This place had little tabletop charcoal bowls for grilling. The thing sticking down from the top is a suction pipe that pulls the smoke and fumes from the barbecue out of the restaurant.


  1. that sounds really good!

  2. Looks real neat. Brilliant idea to have a suction pipe up top...I'm going to look for some pipe now and bash a hole in the dining room ceiling...presto indoor BBQ!



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