What is Jokbal & Top 5 in Koreatown LA

Table of Contents

Introduction

Jokbal is a Korean dish which consists of pig trotters braised and cooked with soy sauce. Usually it is braised for several hours in a combination of soy sauce, ginger, garlic and occasionally herbs. 

Jokbal is a simple combination of two words Jok and Bal. Jok means feet in Sino-Korean vocabulary, which is a Chinese loanword in Korean language. Bal also means feet but in pure Korean. Combining the two creates Jokbal, a wonderful pig trotter dish which meaning is literally equivalent to ‘double feet’.

During the Korean War, a significant number of refugees from the North had settled in Jang Choong-Dong, a district in Seoul, South Korea. To make a living, they started to sell food that originated from their hometown. This was how Jokbal was first introduced to South Korea. Jokbal later became amazingly popular in Jang Choong-Dong, where a large gymnasium was built and soon became a venue for professional wrestling matches in the 1960s and 1970s. Itinerant vendors would spread out their stall of braised pig trotters which game watchers could enjoy as snacks with alcohol. The delectable smell of the spice and its addictive chewy texture was just enough for the dish to become one of the beloved delicacies and midnight snacks to Koreans. 

Nowadays Jokbal is popular among all ages ranging from teens to those in their 50-60s. There are many variations to the dish, including a spicy version called Bul-jokbal (spicy Jokbal which literally means fire Jokbal), Naengchae-jokbal (cold Jokbal with mustard sauce) or Yangnyum-jokbal (hot pepper sauce marinated Jokbal).

Why & How to Enjoy Jokbal

Usually the front leg is considered to have more flavor and grease than the back leg, thus often more expensive. Dish tastes like chewy and savory barbeque and somewhat gamey too, but if you like eating pork it should not be a big problem. Enjoy Jokbal with soju and beer with your homies on a Friday night (Bulgeum).

Deliver or pick it up to-go so you can enjoy it at home with your favorite soda after a long day. Take a sip of Kongnamul-guk (bean sprout soup) and wrap a piece of meat around Buchu (chives) in order to avoid overwhelming greasiness. Don’t forget to add Mak-guksu on the side, a cold, savory Korean buckwheat noodle dish that completes the feast in your mouth. There are numerous ways you can enjoy it, and I guarantee you can never get enough of this appetizing dish!

5 Most Popular Jokbal Restaurants in Koreatown LA

Instagram: @melsmifestyle

Named after the ‘OG’, this place is considered all-time best for many Koreans living in LA who are hankering for the taste of Korea. The place gives an authentic vibe and friendliness of a real low-key restaurant in Korea. When I visited I saw them getting endless calls for delivery/pickup, so I guess they have many customers who want to enjoy it at home too. Their Jokbal menu is pretty simple as they only have ‘Small’ and ‘Large’ options. Just a regular soy-sauce marinated Jokbal that is adequately chewy and salty. Fermented shrimp sauce is provided just in case the meat tastes bland. Lettuce and pepper as side dishes. When Jokbal is paired with Mak-guksu (buckwheat noodles) full of spices and sesame oil,  it creates an awesome combination that can make your day. 

https://www.bulbulejokbal.com/

If you’re a big fan of spiciness or Bul-jokbal(spicy Jokbal), this South Korean franchise could be the right choice for you. Want to try, but don’t have much spice tolerance? No worries. There are three levels of spiciness you can choose from. The deep taste and tempting smell of this charcoal-grilled meat can never go wrong for a delightful meal that wraps up your day.

Instagram: @gambojok

Gambojok is a compound word of Gamjatang (Pork Bone Soup), Bossam(Pork Belly) and Jokbal. Aside from being a versatile restaurant with various menus, this place is famous for having one of the best Jokbals in Koreatown, Los Angeles. According to those who have already tried it, the Jokbal here is not very sweet but rather has a mild taste. Marinated pork feet (족발 조림) and cold seasoned pork feet (냉채족발) are other variation menus that are worth trying.

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Jangteo Bossam has been an iconic place for more than 10 years in Koreatown. Although the store, as its name indicates, is most famous for its  Bossam (pork belly) menu, you can order their popular Jokbal menus which come in three sizes. If you’re unsure about what you want to eat, this authentic mom and pop restaurant serves all parts of pork (Bossam, Jokbal and Soondae) in combination, too. It is definitely worth giving it a shot. 

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Mr. Bossam is obviously famous for their Bossam(Pork Belly) menu, but they have Jokbal options available not only in its original version, but also in Garlic Jokbal, Garlic and Green Onion Jokbal, and Green Onion Jokbal. There are multiple Jokbal menus you can choose from. The special thing here about Jokbal is that they add green onions on certain menus, which really adds to the rich and deep taste and texture. Don’t hesitate to try and compare their comprehensive pork dishes.

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