Hello, dear INSIDERS. It is time for yet one other of Gourmet Captain Aude’s food logs!
This week, I will write a bit about a dish called Gamjatang.
For those who speak Korean, you probably already know that Gamja means potato. So, applying basic logical reasoning, one could easily be tempted to literally translate Gamjatang as potato soup and expect to be served such a dish. Now, would that be a mashed potato soup or just potatoes in broth? You may wonder… but this question is actually not even remotely relevant as Gamjatang is just not what it sounds like it is!
Gamjatang is, in fact, pork spine soup. Delicious pork spine soup in whose broth you will find perfectly cooked and melting potatoes. Some say that Gamjatang got its name from those few potatoes added in the dish... Others say it is because pork spine has the shape of a potato… What really matters is that, in the end, you’ll be able to taste succulent potatoes and pork meat.
In addition to potatoes and pork meat, Gamjatang often contains glass noodles, green onions, ground sesame seeds and hot pepper powder, which is why the soup base is usually of a deep red colour. Needless to say that it is therefore a bit spicy.
Now a bit of history:
Gamjatang originated in the southern Korean province of Jeolla, where hogs (pigs) were widely raised for food, and that as early as the Three Kingdoms Era (AD 220-280). Cows were also raised but because they were considered more valuable -as they were also used to provide milk and plow-, pigs were preferred when feasting or preparing meat-based meals.
Much later, when construction of the Gyung-ui Railway began around 1899, lots of laborers from the Jeolla Province migrated towards Seoul and Incheon, bringing along Gamjatang and contributing to its popularity. This dish being very nutritious and quite cheap to make, it quickly became one of Incheon’s most iconic food. That’s how Gamjatang came to be so widespread in South Korea! TADA~~~~!
Luckily for you, there is a very good pork bone soup restaurant less than 2-minute walking distance from INSIDE (the restaurant is called 양평해장국 in Korean)! Do not hesitate to ask us for directions!
Now, all that is left for you to do is to drool in front of the following delicious Gamjatang pictures!