Our weekend bike trip to Youngsan-gang (영산강) was a great way to end this season. I haven’t been riding much since the eastcoast ride I had done over last Thanksgiving week. My bike had been sitting in the corner of my yard and was literally being covered in spider web. So being able to take her out again and into the nature was amazing despite the damp weather on Saturday.
On Monday morning, after a good night’s sleep at a motel near Pohang bus terminal, we took a short taxi ride to a local eatery which recently gained its national fame through the popular TV show 백종원의 3대천왕. The Korean star chef Baek Jong-won had visited the restaurant to try their famous pork bone soup. I watched the episode few days before we went on the trip so might as well check out what makes this pork bone soup so distinguishable from the others.
Now, pork bone soups, or 뼈다귀해장국, are known as common hangover soup in Korea. They make a great, hearty meal as well. Normally, the soup is served in hot stone bowl with mounds of pork back bones and vegetables such as radish leaves boiled together with spicy seasoning. However, as Baek has explained on the show, this soup in Pohang is quite clear compare to traditional pork bone soups and has no other major ingredients other than the pork bones itself. No radish leaves. No perilla seeds. Just clear orange soup with three to four chunks of pork bones inside.
The funny and creepy part of that particular episode as I was watching the show was when Chef Baek took a plastic straw and attempted to suck on the bone marrow. The marrow sure is a delicacy but it just looked strange for him to suck on a piece of pork back bone as if it was a box of chocolate milk. But with that image in mind we brought straws ourselves just in case we would want to try some cooked bone marrow. I got to use mine on one of the round bones and the flavour was indeed unique. The softness of the marrow just melt in your mouth and it felt strange to think that I’m drinking up the bone marrows and enjoying it at the same time.
Another unique culinary experience in port city of Mokpo, the biggest city in South Jeolla-do — the province well known for its distinctive Korean cuisine. This is my third time visiting the city and always love the atmosphere, the smell of salt in the air and above all, the great Korean food.
해남해장국 is located at 3 Samhak-ro 16beon-gil, Mogwon-dong, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do.