As everyone knows, when its cold outside, one of the best ways to warm up is to eat hot foods! Well in Korea, one of the foods that everyone turns to in just this sort of occasion is gamjatang.
"Gamjatang" (also known as gamjaguk) literally translates to potato soup, but its primary ingredients are pork bones and potatoes. The soup also contains greens, garlic, green onions, sesame leaves and ground perilla seeds, and spices to create a rich, strong and spicy flavored broth.
Left) Gamjatang pork bones!
Right) Pot of gamjatang as it is sent out to the diner's table!
There aren't any historical documents or records about gamjatang, but they say that it began during the Samguk Era (the period of the Three Kingdoms). Back then there was a part of Korea (which is now present day Jeolla-do) that was famous for raising pigs rather than cattle, and used pork bones instead of ox bones to create a delicious savory broth. This style of cooking soon became popular throughout the country.
But the introduction of potatoes to this broth came about during the late Joseon Dynasty. With the opening of Incheon Harbor, people from all over the country flocked to Incheon, which led to a blending of different food cultures from which popular food trends were started. In 1899 many laborers were mobilized in Incheon due to the start of construction of the Gyeongin Line, the first railway line built on the Korean peninsula that connected Incheon to Seoul, and gamjatang became Incheon's most representative dish. Cheap and hearty meals were popular among people who did hard, physical labor, and with gamjatang's pork bones, radish leaves and potatoes, you can imagine it quickly became a very popular dish.
Gamjatang continues to be a popular dish in present times, and not only with laborers but with people of all ages.
Entrance to Eungam-dong Gamjaguk Alley
Gamjatang cooking process
How to Get There
Take subway line 6 to Saejeol Station and go out exit 2. Walk straight for about 280 meters and you'll see Wasangyo (Bridge). Cross over the bridge and make an immediate right into the alley. Turn into the first alley on your left and go straight. You should see the sign to the food alley.
A Daerim Gamjaguk (대림감자국): 02-306-6535
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