3.226 Gamja Tang


18 (Sat) August 2012

Gamja Tang


by KIT

at the Cabin

-Changchon, Seowon, Hoengseong, Gangwon, Republic of Korea-

with DJ, AHY + KIT, CJH + KKH, HCY + HSE, JD + YI, YYH + LHS

Gamja Tang (감자탕) is a Korean dish.  It’s a stew made of pork spine bones, along with potatoes and cabbage aromatics, in a spicy broth, typically seasoned heavily with ground perilla seeds, which provide an earthy, bitter flavor.   Whereas “gamja” generally means “potato,” and the stew does contain potatoes, the “gamja” here is supposedly regional slang referring to the pig’s vertebrae.  Anyway, the stew is usually very cheap, sold at 24-hour joints where it’s served as a jeongol (hotpot) to be slowly consumed over drinks.

Except when grilling, Koreans always pre-soak meat in water to purge the blood.
Next door at my uncle’s cabin, he has a fire stove fitted for a 50-liter pot.
The stew was cooked for 2 hours, everyone taking turns to stoke the fire.

KIT, who now runs a kimchi jjigae restaurant, used to run a gamja tang restaurant.  Whereas everyone in our camping crew calls each other by a self-designated nickname, KIT’s nickname is “Gamjatang-nim” (“nim = Mr/Ms”).  (Mine is “Kogori-nim,” which means “Mr Snore” – a way to warn new acquaintances on overnight trips that they’ll be hearing noise during the night.)

The gamja tang was awesome.  The broth was amazingly rich and deep in flavor, using his own spice blend, derived from years of professional experience.  Plus kimchi from his current business, which itself is perfection.  Very little perilla, thank you.  The meat was sweet, fall-off-the-bone tender.  It was the best gamja tang that I have ever experienced.

(See also FOODS)

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3 thoughts on “3.226 Gamja Tang

  1. Wow! You taught me something new as well today! Both the part about why it’s called gamcha tang when it’s not a potato soup… And the part about the hancha for dim sum and jeom sim is the same…

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